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, 2018).
Alexandre Carrier comes in at #14.
Carrier just finished his second pro season with the Milwaukee Admirals playing a total of 145 regular season games. After playing well enough to earn a two-game call-up to Nashville in 2016-17, Carrier regressed significantly this past season and was buried in the Admirals’ defensive zone most of the time.
He has been a highly-touted prospect who has some question marks but has an overall well-rounded game as Corey Pronman pointed out:
“Carrier is a very smart puck-moving defenseman who competes hard and wins battles despite his size...”
By The Numbers
I know I’ve driven this into the ground with the Admirals’ defense from last season, but they were putrid. Carrier had a very impressive rookie season in 2016-17 scoring 6 goals and 39 points in 72 games. He dropped 11 points last season, played a less disciplined game, and was caught on the ice for too many bad goals.
Much like most of the Admirals’ defense last season, Carrier had a depressing shooting percentage of 4.35% on 1.26 shots per game; he finished 38th in the AHL in scoring among defensemen.
Above is a visualization of Carrier’s goals-against per sixty minutes during his time in the AHL. As you can see he wasn’t the worst in this regard on the Admirals last season, but he gave up roughly half a goal more per sixty minutes this past season. This means he surrendered one more goal at even strength over each eight game span last year than he did the previous year with roughly 15 minutes of ice time per night. A sophomore slump like this isn’t surprising, but Carrier will need a huge season to prove his defensive worth in all situations and a bounce-back offensive season to reclaim his seat atop the organizational depth chart.
Above is a clip of Carrier’s first pro goal. His positioning on the point quarterbacking the power play is solid and he maintains good coverage along the blue line during and after the line change.
There isn’t much wrong with what Carrier does defensively in the clip above. It is a lucky goal, but his rush to get back is a quick look at his awkward skating ability which is his biggest inhibition.
Above is a display of Carrier recovering good defensive position. He communicates well with his partner but doesn’t commit to forward number two and is able to break up the second attempt by forward number one.
Carrier is entering year two of his entry-level contract that he signed in 2015. The first two seasons slid, so he is under contract until 2020. His cap hit comes in at $688.3K with an AHL salary of $65K. He will be a restricted free agent upon expiry.
Carrier is tough to project. Outside of Fabbro, him and Frederic Allard have the best shot out being regular, top-6 defensemen, but he took a significant step back this past season. He has the tools to be a good, top-4 guy, but his skating may hold him back and limit him to a 6th or 7th defenseman role.