It’s time for our annual countdown of the best 25 Nashville Predators players under 25 years old.
This is not only a tradition here at OTF, but is also something that you might see at many other SBNation NHL blogs. The premise is simple: rank the 25 best players who have not yet reached their 25th birthday (as of August 1st, 2017).
At #7, Alexandre Carrier.
As we get closer and closer to the top of our list, it’s only fitting that the prospects get more exciting. Carrier is probably the most anticipated young player among the Nashville faithful at this point - and for good reason. The right shooting defenseman taken in the fourth round of the draft is looking more and more like a first-round talent.
After being selected 4th overall in the QMJHL draft in 2012, Carrier began his four-year career with the Olympiques with a seven point showing in 50 games - not overly impressive. In his second season, his first as assistant captain, Carrier improved to 28 points in 67 games and 5 points in nine playoff games. In his third season, Carrier exploded for 12 goals and 55 points in 68 games for the Olympiques. That campaign earned him a selection at the 2015 NHL entry draft.
Much like Samuel Girard, Carrier’s draft position was most likely affected by the flashier names ahead of him including Noah Hanifin, Thomas Chabot, Zach Werenski, Jakub Zboril, and Oliver Kylington. And while those prospects are impressive (maybe some even more so), Carrier should be on track to play regular NHL minutes around the same time as most. In his final season with the Olympiques, Carrier finished with 12 goals and 47 points in 57 games and then finished the year around the Admirals organization but didn’t see any game action.
This past season, Carrier completed his first pro season playing in an impressive 72 games for the Admirals. After starting the season on a scorching pace - four goals and 16 assists in 20 games - Carrier cooled to finished the season with six goals, 39 points and an AHL All-Star selection. Carrier also earned a two game call-up to Nashville in the second half of the season. Aside from the fact that two games is a non-working sample size, Carrier spent almost all of his ice time playing with Anthony Bitetto and only averaged around ten minutes of ice time per game.
His point totals in his junior career are undoubtedly impressive. The emphasis on assists reminds me a lot of Girard, but many of his AHL helpers have been secondary assists to this point. There is no question he is a do-it-all defenseman with a strong competitive streak, however, he will need more AHL exposure to improve at finding the open space he used to terrorize opponents with in juniors - just take a look at his shot map from 2015-16:
I tend to prefer these types of video packages to videos with just goals. Plus, you get a bonus interview from Carrier himself.
Carrier is on the smaller side, but when given the chance he excels at separating the puck carrier from the puck. He skates well, but isn’t overly speedy. He operates at a quick pace in the offensive zone, is constantly moving his feet, can get below the circles and back to the point with ease, and is an excellent passer. He plays with an active stick in the defensive zone and a wide stance. He’s been known as a vocal leader on and off the ice.
Carrier should earn more NHL ice time as the season drags on and injuries likely happen. This could be his last full season in the AHL, and his progress could make things interesting for the defense in the 2018-2019 offseasons.
Carrier’s three-year entry-level contract has slid to begin this season. He will make 65 K in the AHL and will carry a $688,333 cap hit to the Preds at the NHL level. Upon expiry in 2020, he will be a restricted free agent.
All stats courtesy of eliteprospects.com. All salary information is courtesy of capfriendly.com.