Burnaby Bruiser: Karl Alzner Bell Centre Bound

There was a defenceman out there on the free agency market standing 6’3, weighing in at 219 pounds, plays a steady and sensible but outdated style of defence while somewhat lacking mobility and offensive skill.  Who jumped all over him and threw a five year term at him before the market even officially opened? If you guessed Marc Bergevin, you would –naturally– be correct.

 

Karl Alzner is another case of a guy who plays a “strong” game but is falling behind the curve stylistically speaking for the NHL defenceman of the 21st century.  Marc Bergevin looks to be stringing together quite an impressive, Stanley Cup ready defensive unit… for 1998.  Burnaby, British Columbia native Alzner has barely eclipsed a 20 point season only twice in his NHL career and yes those seasons were recent… but what part of his game commands 4.625 million dollars per season over the next five seasons? The cap hit is not so much a problem but any general manager the league over has said that term kills more team’s cap situations than any dollar amount ever could; but being 28 years old, Alzner may yet do alright, though.

 

As many positive spins as could be put on Alzner such as his general shot suppression, those come with select sample sizes and bears puzzling scenario.  Karl Alzner does not bear the kind of upsides that will complement Shea Weber’s game; no, he does not have to play top pair but in a sense, he kind of does.  The reason Alzner would need to be top pair is because of what Weber would do for him: Karl gets overrun at point blank range in front of the net with an overwhelming number of shots coming in the most dangerous spot of the “home plate” for high danger scoring chances.  Is Petry going to suddenly become an elite netfront presence? Not likely.  Either which way it ends up, there is going to be a horrendous foundational gap somewhere with this team’s back end in signing Karl Alzner.

 

Simply put, the challenge for Alzner is that he must find ways to get the puck out of the defensive zone sooner rather than later on any given shift without using all too much of the off-the-glass-and-out type of tactics.  He will face scrutiny and there will plenty of rabbling over this acquisition but Karl Alzner will not bend or try to be something that he is not.  Rest assured, if any fans find themselves with a distaste for Alzner, he will only be hated for what he is.  He will live by the sword, he will (hopefully not) die by the sword.

 

“I could only imagine what that city might do if we could bring a championship home.” – a glowing Karl Alzner, all smiles on a Stanley Cup in Montreal.

 

He did, at least, say the magic words…

 

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One Response to Burnaby Bruiser: Karl Alzner Bell Centre Bound

  1. here are 2 articles on Azner and why is was a bad signing

    Stay-at-home defenceman Karl Alzner goes to Montreal.
    Alzner, 28, is a veteran stay-at-home defenceman and how much appeal that should hold probably depends on how one views the role of a defenceman in the modern NHL.
    He’s undoubtedly played tough minutes for the Capitals, matched up against other teams’ top lines, and his most common forward opponents last season were John Tavares, Nick Foligno, Brandon Saad, Josh Bailey and Claude Giroux. However, Alzner was buried in that role last season, finishing with the worst raw and relative shot differentials of his career.
    Alzner is exceptionally durable, having not missed a game in seven seasons – which is all the more impressive considering that he’s been throwing his body in front of pucks regularly for a long time – but that’s also the kind of streak that is just waiting to be broken as he gets older and the body tends not to recover quite as quickly.
    In Montreal, after signing a five-year, $23-million contract, Alzner is likely to play significant minutes, but his puck-handling limitations are a concern and his defence-only contribution makes it difficult to imagine there won’t be regret from the Canadiens’ perspective.
    Verdict: Paying this price for Alzner’s contribution is asking for trouble, and if the signing precludes Montreal re-signing veteran defenceman Andrei Markov, the Habs may find that they are going to have some real problems moving the puck out of their zone.

    Alzner hasn’t had a particularly strong season relative to his teammates in pushing the needle in terms of possession or goals for and against since 2011-12. Even if you are hesitant to judge a player who plays on a team as strong as Washington has been too harshly, you have to take into account the kind of player he is.

    Alzner is a rugged, defensive defenseman who lays it all on the line for his team. But he doesn’t drive offence and doesn’t really suppress opponents’ offence to a critical degree. He plays relatively tough minutes, but not brutal ones in a mostly-second pairing role. Alzner also almost never misses time due to injury; he just plays through it all in pain, something hockey people absolutely love, but is often not the best course of action for a long career.

    Players similar to him in style, role, and injury history in recent years were Dan Girardi and Josh Gorges. Alzner isn’t old at 28, but both Gorges and Girardi fell off cliffs when it comes to even strength performance around 29-years-old.

    That’s a scary proposition for a player you just committed five years to at second pairing money. What’s worse is if the Canadiens fail to bring back Markov, Alzner will be forced to likely play first pairing minutes, further hurting his ability to be a positive contributor.

    The most confusing part of the move is that he doesn’t exactly address a need for the team; they’re loaded with relatively immobile, defensive defencemen, and are desperate for puck movers. It almost looks like the Canadiens are trying to build a wall of shot blockers around Carey Price, which seems like a major waste of resources.

    these wtireups do not paint a good picture of this signing and we still need PMD a situation Bergevin seems to totally ignore

    bay bye July 2, 2017 at 10:06 am Reply

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