The Boston Bruins and Brandon Carlo agreed to a two-year contract roughly two weeks ago. The deal was the last bit of business for the Bruins this off-season, and cemented a complete return for the club’s top defensemen. Carlo has looked solid during the preseason, and should once again be a featured piece of the blueline.
Carlo isn’t a sexy player. He won’t put up tons of points and isn’t going to run a powerplay. What he will do is provide strong defensive play and be an anchor on the penalty kill. Another season paired with Torey Krug is likely in the Carlo’s future.
One of the Bruins’ top defenders in back in the fold and has confidence he’s never had before. A strong playoff and health has Carlo poised to next the next step as an NHL defenseman.
Carlo appeared in 72 games for the Boston Bruins a season ago. He finished the year with just ten points (2 g, 8 a), but was Boston’s best shutdown defenseman behind only Zdeno Chara. His strong positional play was key in the performances of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. It also helped allow Krug to wheel and deal, playing his offensive style.
Carlo’s possession numbers were once again strong in 2018-19. He posted a 52.9% Corsi For at five-on-five, which was his third straight season over 50%. The only downside? Carlo’s possession number was actually negative relative to his teammates. Carlo finished with a -.3% Corsi rel. It isn’t a big difference, but it is worth noting.
Carlo was strong in the playoffs, playing in 24 games and being arguably the team’s best defenseman. He registered four points (2 g, 2 a) and was strong in his own zone.
Brandon Carlo is the steadiest defensemen the Bruins have. As Chara hits the twilight of his career, Carlo will continue to emerge as the defensive leader of the group. He’ll be paired up with Krug again this season, and will no doubt anchor the Bruins penalty kill.
The expectation for Carlo is that he will provide a strong shutdown presence for the club and be Krug’s defensive conscious. He isn’t overly physical, but does have the ability to break up the cycle and stand opponents up at the blueline. That will be important against a division that has multiple power forwards in it.
Don’t expect much offense from Carlo again this season. What Bruins fans should expect is consistent, steady play. Carlo will once again be a top-four defender for the Bruins, and will doubtless be one of their top shutdown defensemen.
Official Prediction: 78 GP, 1 Goal, 9 Assists, 10 Points, +18, 21:04 TOI