The Colorado Avalanche can model their defense on the Washington Capitals blueline and see an improvement.
Pretty much every NHL team’s defensive corps is better than the Colorado Avalanche‘s. It would be hard to be worse. The Avs are dead last in the NHL with a -75 goal differential (at the time of writing).
Now some teams, such as the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks, have superstar defensemen. Those d-men don’t grow on trees, though, so trying to build a blueline in that model doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Recently I wrote a post basing the Colorado Avalanche rebuild on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ blueline. CBJ had faced a similar deficit that they’ve since turned into the crown jewel of their resurgence.
Today let’s look at how the Colorado Avalanche can rebuild their defense according to another strong blueline, the Washington Capitals. The best part: no super-rare, stud defenseman needed.
Washington Capitals Defense
Thanks to superstar left wing Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals are more known for their offensive prowess than defense. They’re polar opposite to the Colorado Avalanche in that they’re first-overall in the NHL with a +71 goal differential (at the time of writing).
Sure, a lot of that comes from having the premiere goal scorer in the NHL on your team, but Ovi can score all the goals he wants. If you’re not keeping the puck out of your net, you ain’t winning.
So, let’s look at who helps Caps goalies keep the puck out of the net:
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Karl Alzner: 6-foot-2, 214 pounds, 28 years old, LHS. A shutdown defenseman with good mobility, Alzner can eat big minutes. (3 goals, 8 assists, +23) The Capitals drafted Karl fifth-overall in 2007.
John Carlson: 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, 27 years old, RHS. Solid in all zones, Carlson can provide explosive offense as well as aggressive defense. He has a great shot. (6 goals, 22 assists, +14) The Caps drafted John in the first round (#27) in 2008.
Dmitry Orlov: 6-foot, 212 pounds, 25 years old, LHS. Another solid all-around defenseman, Orlov is aggressive in his own end and loves open-ice hits. He can throw out good offensive numbers, too. (4 goals, 22 assists, +26) Washington drafted Dmitry in the second round …
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