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Carlson Digs Into Capitals Power Play: ‘It Was Underwhelming’



Capitals defenseman John Carlson

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson isn’t looking back too much at last season as he shifts his focus to the present. However, he didn’t hold back when asked about resolving some issues from last year in 2022-23, the main one being the power play.

Washington’s PP ranked 23rd — the ninth-worst in the league — over the course of the regular season with a success rate of 18.8 percent. For a team with arguably the greatest goal scorer of all time working from his office, T.J. Oshie in the bumper spot and star playmakers like Evgeny Kuznetsov on the half-wall, it was far from impressive. And Carlson doesn’t deny it.

“Overall, it was underwhelming,” he said. “We got it going in certain areas. And I think at certain times, it felt better than the results we had. But I’ve been around long enough to know that feeling better than the results isn’t really an adequate response. It wasn’t as good as it could or should be.”

In 2022-23, that will be one area where the Capitals will have to improve. They are coming off four consecutive first-round exits and will also be without top assets Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson, which leaves an extra void and less firepower up front. Not only that but there is a lot of urgency to start strong, especially facing fierce competition in the Metropolitan Division. So, taking all of that into account, the power play will be vital over the course of the campaign.

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Carlson believes that Washington will be able to turn it around but that it will take more work and a buy-in effort from several pieces. The new additions of Connor Brown and Dylan Strome should help in that category as well.

Looking at all of that, Carlson promised an improvement from years past.

“We’ve been right there every single year for the most part. I think we’ve had a few blips on the radar, but overall, no reason not to think it’ll be a really good power play,” Carlson said.