Montreal drafted Carlson 32nd overall in 1982, during his college career at St. Lawrence University. He played all of 1983-84 with the Habs, but their blueline was chock full of stars and he only played sparingly for two seasons except when he was requested to fight. The result was a torrent of injuries from broken hands and a nose, damaged tendons and shoulders, slipped discs in his neck.
"Every time the phone rang at five in the morning, we knew he was injured again," his mother said. A trade sent Carlson to St. Louis, but he had a serious spinal fusion operation that forced him to miss all of 1986-87 and further caused nerve damage in his right arm. He returned for two games in the playoffs almost two years later, and two more with Washington in 1988-89 before packing it in.