Top 25 Under 25
#3 - Brandon Carlo - D
Where did he come from?: 2015 Draft, 2nd round, 37th overall
Has he played in the NHL before?: Yes! 82 games!
Brandon Carlo spent a grand total of 7 games in the AHL last year after completing 52 with the Tri-City Americans out in the WHL in 2015.
Since that point, He hasn’t seen The Ocean State’s Bruins since.
Brandon Carlo was able to break into the NHL not only as a main roster player, but for top 2 on the Boston Bruins with Zdeno Chara, with reasonably complimentary playstyles. A defensive defenseman who can skate reasonably well, a pretty solid shot, and a slick passer with solid instincts of where to be and when. A godsend to a team really struggling for honestly skilled defenders who could both shot suppress and take shots on their own.
And to top it all of, he’s a big lad playing next to the biggest lad in the NHL. Made for a real fun pairing!
What improved his time in Boston was not only his composure in his own end and his smooth play in transition, but the simple fact that he stayed healthy. He played every game, through thick and thin, taking top pairing minutes right out of the WHL right up until the last game of the season...where he took an ugly hit and was out for the playoffs. Rough end to a phenominal start to what will assuredly be a long and prosperous NHL career.
What does the future hold for Carlo?
With such a solid season you’d figure the only thing he really needs to work on is ruminating on his past experiences and a good offseason of recovery and training, but there are some questions about him right now: Now that we’ve seen him play stupendous minutes and come out the otherside fine...can he repeat it? Can he avoid a sophomore slump?
Most importantly...can he do all of that away from Chara?
Because with players like Charlie McAvoy entering the system, he has a real opportunity to solidify himself as a quality player for the future of the Bruins’ blueline by being flexible. And he’s eventually going to have to do it with a player who is either much faster and more offensively skilled than Chara...or much more unaware around the net and slower than either of them. After next season, that is who is in the system with him. Working on flexibility is key to helping/mitigating that. These will be harsh tests for such a young player, but I’m confident that he’ll rise to the occasion.
Of course, it probably won’t matter how it ends up, because regardless of how he handles it he will likely be called upon to be the #2 defender once the 2017-18 season has passed.