The 2016-17 season of Fifteen started with a familiar face in Anthony Bitetto. This season though there are plenty of new faces and stories to be had. Among them, and shining brightly to begin his professional playing career, has been defenseman Alex Carrier. He was just named Admirals Roundtable’s Admiral of the Month for November. It seemed fitting then to get him featured in the latest installment and get to know the 20-year old Québec native that much better.
Carrier just so happens to come from a solid hockey family. His father, Bernard, played junior hockey with the Québec Remparts and Drummondville Voltigeurs in the mid-80’s. His older brother, Samuel, also played his trade in the QMJHL. Samuel, who is four-years older than Alex, played for: Québec Remparts, Lewiston MAINEiacs, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Samuel was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft. The following season Samuel’s junior career took him to Baie-Comeau where he crossed paths with an eventual teammate of Alex’s by the name of Félix Girard. All three hockey players of the Carrier family were defenseman.
Traveling the same path, Carrier also found himself staying in his native Québec to play junior hockey. He was selected fourth overall by Gatineau Olympiques in the 2012 QMJHL Entry Draft and wound up enjoying a solid four-year junior playing career with the Gatineau organization where, in three of his four year junior career, he was named as an alternate captain.
Carrier was selected in the fourth round by the Nashville Predators in the 2015 NHL Draft – following in his older brother’s footsteps a mere five years later. In Carrier’s career with Gatineau he logged 242 games of junior playing experience, totaled 137 points (29 goals, 108 assists), 171 penalty minutes, and a plus/minus rating of +69.
When Carrier made his arrival to the pro scene he did so in the late goings of the Milwaukee Admirals 2015-16 season. He was able to get a look around, experience a taste of the pro lifestyle, skated around in practice a touch, but never took to the ice for a game. The game action would need to wait for his first-pro season in 2016-17. So far? He’s turned heads for not looking much like a first-year pro at all.
It might have taken a few games to get the comfort level going. It also may have taken the Predators recalling Matt Irwin and the Admirals acquiring veteran defenseman Adam Pardy. But Carrier’s become an instant hit across all three areas on the ice from the Admirals blueline and has made the transition from juniors to the AHL look rather seamless.
We are now into the December portion of the calendar. Carrier has played in every game this season for the Admirals and has registered 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) in 17 games with 8 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of +10. Carrier did the majority of that offensive damage this past month while the Admirals went 8-0-1-1 in November. Yet, as nice as his offense has been it has just been the calmness on and off the puck that leaps out the most to his game. He can join the rush. He can leap up from the blueline and act as a fourth forward in the attacking zone. And, best of all, can stay true to his job title and really play a confident defensive game.
It’s always a great surprise and joy seeing first year pros such as a Carrier adapt so well so fast. And, if anything, the pro experience away from the rink is made better by the people he finds himself now surrounded by in the Admirals locker room – the French Fries. The recent influx of Québec players coming through Milwaukee has created a fun stir. The personalities such as the aforementioned Girard, Jimmy Oligny, Jonathan Diaby, and Frédérick Gaudreau are infectious to be around but they are also good people that commit themselves to being professional hockey players. Carrier, as well as Anthony Richard, effectively get to step into their first year pro season with a nice piece of home surrounding them.
There is plenty more to come from Carrier. He’s only just beginning his professional playing career. As he continues to get more and more comfortable in-game his natural maturity off the ice should start being made even more apparent on it. He’s a good one. And, now, I offer up his Fifteen interview as further evidence of that.
Thank you so much to Alex Carrier for taking the time yesterday to provide that interview. As said above, this is a new season with plenty more players and stories to be shared. Who would you like to hear from in the upcoming installments of Fifteen? Please share you recommendations in the comment section below.
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