Accolades for Alzner

As we witnessed this season, most of the pieces of the next great Washington Capitals teams are already in place and merely need to ripen alongside each other for the next several seasons. The one notable exception is defenseman Karl Alzner, who spent this past season with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.

Alzner was Washington’s top choice (fifth overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and the second defensemen chosen in last year’s draft. He will celebrate his 20th birthday just days before the opening of the 2008-09 NHL season and has a much better than decent chance of cracking Washington’s opening night roster.

Today, Alzner was named both player of the year and defenseman of the year in the WHL. Additiionally, he is one of three finalists for the 2008 Canadian Hockey League MVP award which will be announced in late May.

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19 Comments on “Accolades for Alzner”

  1. Philly Voice of Reason Says:

    Well it looks like we’re about to dispose of the vaunted Canadians. Does that mean they are better than the Flyers too?

  2. Ben Says:

    Congrats Karl, buddy! He’s gonna look good in the red white and blue next year (or the next).

  3. Disgruntled Hockey Fan Says:

    I can’t wait to see this kid play. There has been plenty of hype about him, I just hope he lives up to it. Hopefully GMGM can find some sucker to trade Jurcina to.

  4. Tom in FL Says:

    This certainly means he has nothing left to prove in Juniors. And since he’s eligible for one more year of Junior hockey, it means he can’t be sent to Hershey next year. The logical conclusion is Karl Alzner in, someone else out.

    My defensemen right now: Poti, Green, Morrisonn, Alzner, Eminger, Erskine, Schultz. I think then at the trading deadline next Feb the Caps maybe pick up a playoff-tested vet from a “seller” just like we got Federov this year.

    As for coach of the year, I’d love to see Boudreau win but believe it will be Guy Charbonneau. You’d have to say though that coming up midseason from Hershey and being a finalist for the Adams award isn’t anything anyone imagined.

  5. Mike L Says:

    I would definitely have Alzner start the year as Poti’s partner, give him a top-notch veteran presence to partner with and let him go through some OJT. I would agree with Tom as to the seven defensemen who will be back with the Caps, barring Pothier not returning (and every time we hear about him, the less likely it seems to be that he’ll ever play again). As for pairings:

    1) Green/Morrisonn – They get about 15 minutes of 5-on-5 a night, Green on the Power Play, Morrisonn on the PK

    2) Poti/Alzner – They get 20 or so 5-on-5 minutes, Poti gets some Power Play time, both get PK time

    3) Eminger/Schultz – About 10-15 minutes of 5-on-5, Schultz also getting PK time.

    Erskine can play in case of injury unless Green or Eminger gets hurt, in which case I’d bring up Sami Lepisto to pick up the offense from the back.

    Things to work on:

    1) Getting Schultz to play larger than he does. He’s good at positioning, but with his size he should be blasting opponents, not just bumping them. Also, maybe he can work on using his size to work on his slap shot… there’s no reason someone of his size shouldn’t be able to shoot 90 mph.

    2) Getting Alzner up to NHL speed. He’s ready for the NHL physically, but he needs to get some real action. Ideally the Caps will send a development team to a tourney and Alzner will be part of it. Plus having him play in most (if not all) of the preseason games would help. That, and maybe get him watching video of key opposing forwards (Crosby, Malkin, Briere, Eric Staal, St. Louis, Jokinen, Elias, etc.)

  6. […] more about it at TSN and Mike Vogel’s blog. Stumble it! Posted at 7:02 am. Filed under Karl Alzner, Mike Vogel, Prospects, […]

  7. Jason Says:

    i agree with mike l on shultz, ive been saying it all along. for his size he should wreck people and have a rocket of a shot.

  8. Jason Says:


  9. pgreene Says:

    the future’s so bright… i gotta wear shades.

    (now that song’s in my head for the rest of the day. thanks, me).

    i’d like to see alzner get a shot next year, preferably paired with poti (who seems to have had a pretty good influence on schultz this season). granted, the pothier and eminger situations will have a lot to do with what our blueline looks like next year, but i think we can say there’s a decent chance we’ll have a reasonably solid blue line for years to come…

  10. gusty161 Says:

    From today’s Calgary Sun:
    “If the Caps had managed to get past the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, Alzner said he likely would have joined the team immediately.”

    Based on that, I think it’s a pretty good bet the Caps intend to give Alzner every chance to make the team next season.

  11. acap1066 Says:

    Congratulations to Alzner!!! This is a good sign to come. If he is good at clearing opponents from in front of the goalie, we sure could have used him in the first round of the playoffs.

    On a side note, looks like I will becoming a fan of any western division team for the Stanley Cup this year until the Caps can win it next year.

  12. MNCaps Says:

    Tom in FL, I am daft, so would you mind explaining why Alzner cannot pay in Hershey if he has a year of Junior eligibility left? I assume it is a rule to make sure the pros don’t raid the Canadian junior programs except in the most unique cases. Thanks.

  13. Ben Says:

    @ pgreene: Well according to McPhee Eminger will be qualified and it seems unlikely another team will outbid the $1.2 mill he’ll get from the Caps. I assume he’s in. So to make room for Alzner, Pothier must retire and Erskine and Jurcina become the 7-8. But there is Lepisto who could very well make the team. Who will take Jurcina or Erskine off of our hands? Maybe we could get a 3rd rounder for one of them, maybe.

    @MikeL and Jason: We all want to see aggressive defensemen, but that’s not Shultz’s style. When he fills out his frame (he’s only 22 still!) he will naturally get a harder shot and play more physically. But I don’t think you’ll ever see a nasty Chara-type from the kid…I just don’t get that from his demeanor.

  14. Mike L Says:

    MNCaps, the agreement the NHL has with Canadian Juniors is that players from 18-20 years old can play in the NHL. However, these players have to play in the NHL or be sent back to junior. If they are sent back to juniors, then they cannot be recalled until their junior league season is complete.

    Alzner should make the team, and he will stay up with the Caps. If he doesn’t, he’ll play another year with the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL.

  15. Mike L Says:

    Ben, I don’t want Schultz to be nasty and over-aggressive, but I do want him to be knocking people over with shoulder checks and right now all he does is bump people. With his size, opponents should hesitate to go into the corners with Schultz and right now, they don’t. It’s not a question of style, it’s a question of attitude, and it is something that can be corrected. I have a feeling Schultz will be a good solid NHL defenseman for many years, but there is no reason he can’t be a stronger hitter as well.

  16. Tom in FL Says:

    1) I’m surprsied they qualified Eminger at $1.2M. You’re certainly not going to do that and then leave him up in the standds all year.
    2) MNCaps: Your question was expertly answered by Mike L.
    3) I like Erskine to make the team because he makes only $550K and gives good value on the dollar as a #7 d-man. As I explained in my salary cay analysis, you can’t have a bunch of high paid guys and then have all your lower guys at like the $1.2M for Eminger. You need several players like Steckel and Erskine at $550K to make it work.
    4) Yes, it’s easy to see Jurcina moved for a mid-level pick or maybe as a toss in for one of the #2s to move up a few slots. I feel he provides even less actual value at $900K than Erskine at $550K, so his return on value is maybe half Erskine’s. I numbers all day and even in my sleep so please excuse me when I go on and on about this. Except you can bet McPhee does exactly this kind of analysis since now he’ll be at/near the cap. Caps at the cap! Gotta love it!

  17. Tom in FL Says:

    Sorry about my misspelilngs 🙂

  18. Ben Says:

    @ Mike L: To be sure, I want Shultz to hit more too. For now, I’m happy that he is focused on sound positional defense. In the end I think that’s more important, and you can’t argue with the results so far (his plus rating speaks to his reliability IMHO). I am optimistic that as he gets stronger and more confident he will become more physical. I just don’t see him being that “nasty” bear that we are missing on our blue line. More like a cuddly wuddly one.

  19. Mike L Says:

    @Ben: Schultz doesn’t need to be grizzly bear on the backline next year, that can be Alzner, but it’d be nice if her was more of a bear and less of a moose. Mind you, moose bites can be nasty! A moose once bit my sister…


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