The Boston Bruins have locked up a key piece to their top 4 defensive group, signing defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year, $24.6 million extension on Wednesday. The contract carries an annual NHL salary cap hit of $4.1 million.
“The Bruins are very pleased to have extended Brandon on a long-term deal,” Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said in a press release Wednesday afternoon. “Brandon is a player who has grown into a foundational defenseman with our team while also emerging as an important leader on and off the ice.”
Per our friends at PuckPedia, the Boston Bruins now have $24.2 million in cap space.
After signing Carlo for 6 years $4.1M, the #NHLBruins have $24.2M of Cap Space w/ 19 on Projected Roster (11F/7D/1G).
RFA: Ritchie, Kase
UFA: Krejci, Hall, Kuraly, Kampfer, Reilly, Tinordi, Rask, Halakhttps://t.co/2o0hsHzUIy
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 14, 2021
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.
Like his now-former teammate Kevan Miller, who retired at the age of 33 on Wednesday, Carlo is coming off an injury-riddled season. Carlo suffered an oblique injury early in the season 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, Carlo assured the media that while he wouldn’t have been able to play a Game 7 against the New York Islanders 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 then 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.”
Carlo’s injury woes have unfortunately been a constant throughout his career thus far. 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.
When healthy though, 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 last offseason.
Carlo was drafted by the Bruins in the second round (37th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Carlo has 15 goals and 40 assists in 324 regular season games and two goals and three assists in 45 playoff games. He had three goals and an assist this past season while averaging 18:43 time on ice per game. He didn’t register a point in eight games in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His best season statistically was the 2019-20 season when he registered four goals and 15 assists in 67 games. He ranks second on the Bruins in shorthanded time on ice (908:57), fourth in games played (324), fifth in time on ice per game (20:13), and is tied for fifth in plus-minus (plus-58).