On its face, Brandon Carlo’s importance to the Boston Bruins might not be that glaringly obvious when there are stars like Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask and Charlie McAvoy that garner most of the attention.
But the 24-year-old Carlo’s importance was underscored during the second round playoff series against the New York Islanders when both Carlo and Kevan Miller were missing due to injuries, and a humdrum Islanders PP ripped up the B’s penalty kill in a pivotal Game 5 loss at TD Garden. With Zdeno Chara gone, Kevan Miller retired and Jeremy Lauzon still forming his identity at the NHL level, the 6-foot-5, 212-pound Carlo is truly the only big, bad Bruins defenseman left standing on a roster full of puck-movers and offensive-minded players.
Sure, Charlie McAvoy is XXL-sized, will throw his weight around and isn’t afraid to block shots, either. But McAvoy isn’t a shutdown defenseman or ace penalty killer like the rugged Carlo, and the Boston Bruins have to realize their depth isn’t at an all-time high in that particular category of defensemen within the organization.
That’s part of the reason it was a priority for the B’s while getting some cost certainty on Carlo.
“The Bruins are very pleased to have extended Brandon on a long-term deal,” said Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “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.”
Still, Carlo signed this week for a reasonable $4.1 million per season on a contract extension that will take him up to his 30th birthday and will leave the Bruins with a homegrown shutdown D-man growing into a leadership role on and off the ice.