Karl Alzner: 2013-14 Season Review

Photo: Patrick McDermott

One half of the fabled Carlzner defensive pairing, Karl Alzner was sent to shut down the Caps’ toughest opponents all year. Plus: puppies and the best bench celebrations you’ve seen since that other guy.

By the Numbers

82 Games played
20.1 Average time on ice per game
2 Goals
16 Assists
47.0% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
44.6% Goal percentage during 5v5
7.1% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
92.3% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

Peter’s Take

Karl Alzner has scored seven goals in his career, but he waited until December of 2013 to score one in Verizon Center. I held out hope that Alzner’s increased shot volume this year would shatter his goal-scoring record of two, set in 2011. Instead, Karl merely tied it. I’d make a crack about learning to live with disappointment, but this is the Caps; disappointment has called all-time shotgun. Despite the scoring lull, Karl’s offense is on the rise, and that makes me wonder about all sorts of stuff.

Aside from being the “Quiet Beatle” of the Caps, which he totally is, might we be getting Karl Alzner be all wrong? He’s touted as a shutdown defenseman, but he got outscored 51 to 41 during 5v5 this season and saw just 47 percent of shot attempts belong to his team. He’s considered a stay-at-home guy who doesn’t shoot much, but he actually generated individual shot attempts at a higher rate than Orlov and Oleksy. I wonder if we’ve got the wrong idea about what kind of player he is. Either way, it’s hard to say Alzner has had a successful season since the Boudreau era. How much of that has to do with coaching, and how much should we lay at Karl’s feet? Seeing as he’ll be playing under his fourth coach and fifth system next season (exasperated sigh), maybe we’ll find out then.

Karl on RMNB

In Pictures

This one hits my soft spot, so it gets first position.

Karl’s first hometown goal. Kind of a fluke, no?

#AlzyCelly!

From early March, evidence of how tough Karl’s competition was compared to the rest of the D. He and Johnny took a ton of flak covering for the team’s week D depth.

Your Turn

What did you make of Karl Alzner’s season? Can he recover the success of his first couple seasons? How cute are those dogs?

Read more: Peerless Prognosticator, Japers Rink

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  • DashingDave314

    He’s still a top 4 caliber defenseman. He’s just not the top 2 that we believed he was. Wonder if he’d do better if paired with Mike Green?

  • CapsCast

    I think Alzner, much like referees, does his job when you don’t really notice him. I’d like him to be more physical, but that doesn’t seem to be his game. Also, if he’s going to be a shutdown guy, I’d like his numbers to look better. Although, like Peter pointed out, I’m not sure how much of it is systemic and how much is Alzner.
    I think he’ll improve with a (hopefully) different defensive coach at the helm.

  • Simonezero

    So many guest stars in the AlzyCelly- Oleksy, Shmidt, Urbom.

    Part of his numbers being what they are are the opponents he’s faced. He plays a lot, he plays against great players a lot. He’s one of the few of our own I regularly have faith in. Also, I’m totally ok with him shooting more. Now let’s scoar moar.

    Finally, leave Karl out of your Stormwind raids, people have better things to do during the summer.

  • Pete

    Was it life sized Alzner in those wall-sticker Metro ads advertising life in Northern Virginia this fall?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Last 3 years possession: http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=539&withagainst=true&season=2011-14&sit=5v5

    Green + Alzner: 48.0%

    Green – Alzner: 52.2%

    Alzner – Green: 47.1%

  • CJ

    Alzner rolls Alliance, he’s has good guy and superhero sort of mentality. Defending the defenseless like our blue lines, protecting the innocent goaltenders everywhere, yea I see him as Ally. I betting hunter given that he likes to play with dogs.

  • CJ

    Do you think that is more indicative of his regression or Green’s offensive prowess? Carly does a darn good job pushing the puck but that is a dramatic difference across those years.

  • DashingDave314

    Interesting. Could zone entries/D-Zone time have something to do with that?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Yes. Lots of stuff could color that– including injuries. Green missed a big chunk of the Caps’ possession doldrums in the last two years and didn’t take nearly the tough competition Alzner saw this year.

  • DashingDave314

    Do you think Mike Green SHOULD be traded, and do you think he WILL be traded?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    No and no.

    The Caps D is way too thin to part with him– even if he’s not what he used to be. And with his perceived value being so low, I have a hard time thinking a GM would find an appropriate return for him.

    That said– who know what the next dude will do.

  • Graham Dumas

    I like Alzner because he appears to me to have solid positioning (most of the time) and a physical-ish presence on the ice. I also don’t think it’s a secret that Calle J’s crappy D system this season led to a lot of bad possession numbers, which, when coupled with the tough competition faced by Carlzner, might excuse the stats. Not sure about the prior two years, though…

    I say, especially given his really reasonable contract (2.8 m thru 2017), he stays unless there’s a really, really enticing deal on the table.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I wish I knew. I kinda addressed it in a comment above. I think there’s more to Alzner than we’ve seen– and he might be less specialized than we thought.

  • VeggieTart

    Which makes the George Harrison reference apt. He’s a steady solid guy who won’t rock the boat but will get the job done.

  • Owen Johnson

    No Playoff Beard ratings this year :(

  • Simonezero

    This is a little too easy to imagine.

  • JenniferH

    These write-ups last years are the first thing I ever read on RMNB. :sniff, sniff: I am so looking forward to them. Alzner needs to shoot more and get a better coach and he’ll be better.

  • 70Caps

    He’s on my jersey.
    Also, I know he’s defensive, and duncan keith isnt, but he was facing better competition than the norris trophy finalist.
    http://www.extraskater.com/player/518/karl-alzner
    http://www.extraskater.com/player/86/duncan-keith

  • Myan

    I like Alzner but I do think that he’s regressed in the last 2-3 years. It seems like he’s overthinking on the ice and trying to make the “right” play instead of just doing what his instincts are telling him. He looked kind of lost out there and to me, that’s a sign of a guy who doesn’t fully understand the system nor his role within it. I think Oates & Calle Jo tried to implement a defensive system that just didn’t suit the guys we have. I want the see the next coaching staff organize a D scheme that takes advantage of what our guys are naturally good at and can comfortably execute. I think Alzner will have a bounce back season in 2014/2015. Take that to #thebank .

  • Alex Hughes

    He had the meanest mustache in the league this season that’s for sure

  • TySpooner

    I’d like to point out he would have broken his goal record, and tied the game, if it hadn’t been for Erat taking a really dumb penalty at a home game this season. Also I think he’ll bounce back and have a great season next year, or at least I hope so since he’s my favorite player.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    Alzner is the star of what I’m pretty sure is my favorite non-Brouwer photoshop.

  • Zach Williams

    Schultz back this year?

  • Eric Schulz

    I agree. Bottom line, I think he’s more valuable to us than whatever we would get in return for trading him. With Orlov, I’d think keeping the top pair Alzner – Carlson, then Green on 2nd, Orlov on 3rd leaves us well enough off. When Green’s hurt, Orlov can capably replace him on 2nd, and we call up Schmidt (I’d trade Carrick… not really sure what to do with him. If you think we are better off with Orlov on 2nd, Carrick on 3rd, and you trade Green just to create room… I disagree. I think Green is better than Carrick right now, and we need that since we should be contending, and Carrick offers more trade value). When Green’s out there, our ceiling is higher… when he’s out, we aren’t screwed because of Orlov and Schmidt, but we are better off with Green. The problem is the other two d-men… we need to fix that.