Strengths - Carlson is a offensive defenseman who likes to join the rush and has the ability to score goals and create plays. Hes noted for his "rocket" of a shot, his playmaking abilities, his great skating, and a player that doesn't panic. Hes great in his own end, logs lots of minutes and is big and physical.
Weaknesses - Carlson doesnt always join the rush at the right times and can leave odd man rushes going the other way. Offensively Carlson can be a risk taker, but there really arent many weaknesses to this guys game at all.
Strengths - Very good skater, mobile- "skates like a bullet", has a projectable frame, outstanding patience with the puck and hockey sense, which has helped his transition from forward to D at the beginning of the year.
Weaknesses - Still slight, but mainly lack of experience playing on blueline. That being said, going to Wisconsin means he'll be in good hands.
Both of these descriptions were taken from the Prospects Strengths & Weaknesses Thread.
My opinion is that both of these guys have tremendous upside to their games. I would lean towards taking John Carlson before I take Gardiner though. I believe that after the big 4 defenseman (Doughty, Bogosian, Schenn, Pietrangelo) Carlson would be the next defenseman I would take. He's an all around great defenseman that really doesnt make that many mistakes.
No disrespect to Gardiner at all who is also a great two-way defenseman who has some great offensive upside. His transition from forward to defense has gone great and he could be a guy that could possibly step up and play forward similar to what Mark Streit has done this year. He needs to bulk up though and add some weight to his frame to become a more effective defenseman in his own end.
Two great prospects, I would take Carlson in my top 13 and I wouldnt be suprised if Gardiner cracked the top 20. Look for Ottawa to maybe take a chance on Gardiner with their 18th overall pick.