OTTAWA, Canada – Colonia’s Jeff Carlson was selected in the first round of the NHL Draft last Friday by the Washington Capitals. The 6-2, 212-pound defenseman was chosen with the 27th overall pick.
Carlson, who was born in Natick, Mass., moved to Colonia when he was 5. He played one season at St. Joseph’s of Metuchen and played youth hockey with the New Jersey Rockets.
Carlson, 18, was a rookie in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Indiana Ice in 2007-08. He finished second among league defensemen in scoring with 43 points (12 goals, 31 assists) in 59 games. He played in the 2008 USHL All-Star Game and was an assistant captain on the U.S. team at the 2007 Under-18 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
Indiana Ice coach Charlie Skjodt predicts big things for Carlson. “Without a doubt, he’s going to be a star in the NHL,” Skjodt said.
The NHL’s Central Scouting Service ranked Carlson 17th among North American skaters in the draft.
“John Carlson is a big burly defensemen, he is a real good skater and a strong skater,” said Jack Barzee of NHL Central Scouting. “He runs the power-play from the top of the umbrella and he has a very heavy shot. He’s a very self-assured kid and rightfully so – he’s a boy, yet in a man’s body and very physically strong … I knew when I first saw him that he was a first-round pick. He was a guy I had seen before as an under-ager. He had all the tools – size, skill, physical presence and charisma.”
Carlson is the third New Jersey resident in as many years to be chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft. Bobby Sanguinetti, born in Trenton, was selected 21st overall by the New York Rangers in 2006. Last year, Middletown’s James vanRiemsdyk was chosen second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.