Are the Boston Bruins safe from an offer sheet to defenseman Brandon Carlo?
Did two concussions in three months this season and four in the first 50 months of Carlo’s NHL career save the Boston Bruins from the dreaded offer sheet to their 24-year-old defenseman who is set to become a restricted free agent?
“I’d say so,” a prominent NHL scout told Boston Hockey Now Sunday night. “This kid was prime for one just like a lot more RFA’s are. If I’m those teams with cap space, I’m not going all out on the big fish, I’m attacking for someone like Carlo. He’s not some superstar like [Cale] Makar so you could kind of come in stealth and still sign a very valuable defenseman. The concussions are definitely a worry though.”
Carlo is coming out of a two-year contract that carried an annual salary cap hit of $2.8 million for the 6-foot-5, 212-pound rearguard.
When healthy, Carlo has been able to establish himself as a solid stay-at-home defenseman with rather slick puck-moving skills as well. He and former Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug were a dependable second-pairing for three seasons before the Bruins decided not to let Krug walk via unrestricted free agency. Krug ended up signing a seven-year, $45 million contract with the St. Louis Blues last October.
After appearing in all 82 games and finishing with six goals and ten assists in his rookie season, Carlo’s concussion woes began in the final game of that 2016-17 season when Alexander Ovechkin caught him with a high hit. His second concussion came a week before the NHL paused the 2019-20 season due to the pandemic. Former Florida Panthers and current Ottawa Senators forward Evgenii Dadonov chicken-winged Carlo in the head. Carlo missed the rest of the regular season but was able to come back and play all 13 games in the bubble.
This past season, however, was by far his most difficult when it came to injuries as an oblique injury out of the gate and then a concussion from the infamous Tom Wilson hit in February limited the Boston Bruins defenseman to just 27 games. Carlo then missed the final three games of the East Division Final against the New York Islanders after suffering yet another concussion in Game 3, compliments of a clean but devastating hit from Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck. Following the playoffs, Carllo assured the media that while he wouldn’t have been able to play a Game 7 if the Boston Bruins forced one, he is clear of the concussion symptoms he had been battling way too often this past season.
“No, not at this point, not at all,” Carlo replied when asked if he’s worried about his future. “I think this year was obviously a struggle through these injuries. It’s no fun, but I’m not going to sit here and get discouraged or think that my career is heading down a wrong path because of a couple concussions. I hope this is the last one of my career and hopefully I can play as long as possible, but for how I’ve recovered from these, I don’t feel like there’s any issue there.”
After Carlo signed his most recent contract with the Bruins two years ago, he told the media that even though the Bruins waited almost three months to sign him, he never received an offer sheet. Thanks to his concussion history and health issues, it appears that he won’t this offseason either. Now the question, unfortunately for Carlo, is: how much will those concussions impact his value in contract negotiations with the Bruins?