Never going to be expected to be a point-getter, Carkner would be counted on to fill a specific role on the Senators blue line. He was expected to play solid defense on the third pairing and provide toughness when called upon, either with intimidation or by dropping the gloves. He might not get in the lineup every night, and it was expected he would stay ready for when he was called upon.
The biggest impact Carkner made was in game two of the Senators playoff series with the Rangers. After the Sens seemed to be taken advantage of physically in game 1, Carkner made his team feel about three inches taller when he challenged Rangers giant Brian Boyle to a fight. Boyle had been a thorn in the Senators side, and even though Boyle was an unwilling combatant, Carkner didn’t take no for an answer and delivered a beatdowm that drastically altered the series.
A knee injury suffered before the season started put a dent in the plans and he missed the first two months of the season, making his debut on Dec 10th. He only got into 29 games, his lowest total in three seasons as a Senator. When in the lineup he did his job, and provided a presence that no other blueliner could give.
Carkner’s contributions are tough to be quantified, but in 29 games he scored once and added two assists, with 33 penalty minutes. He wasn’t a liability in his own end and was even in +/- ratings.
Based on the limited action he was able to see, combined with the impact he had when he got in, Carkner’s pretty much came as advertised. My grade for the pending Free Agent is: