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Analytics Profile: Brandon Carlo

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One major strength

NHL: Boston Bruins at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Shot Creation : C-

3 year WAR/82 : 0.03

3 year RAMP Z-Score : -0.25

Carlo has been a confusing package for the Bruins so far. Unfortunately, he’s been injured entering the playoffs his first two seasons, even though he has been an iron man for the Bruins. He certainly possesses skills to have an impact offensively. He’s a relatively smooth skater for a big guy, and can move the puck when he reads the play correctly. However, that hasn’t really translated to his ability to create shots.

Although Perry’s WAR model finds him above replacement in this regard, both the WAR model and regularized adjusted plus-minus from Evolving Wild find him below average. Carlo’s teammates create about one and a half shots more per hour without him at 5v5. This is a small, but meaningful impact. I think it’s safe to say Carlo is slightly below average at creating shots at the moment, and could end up better or worse with more time and certainty.

Shot Suppression : C+

3 year WAR/82 : 0.04

3 year RAMP Z-Score : 0.20

I’ve written about how Carlo is probably not a good defensive defenseman in the past, especially when you focus on his ability to prevent shots. He is slightly better and preventing it seems, but is probably and average shot suppressor at best.

Carlo’s teammates allow 1.68 more shot attempts per hour when they are with him that without him. Similar to his shot creation, it’s a small but meaningful impact. However, Carlo’s usage between zone starts, quality of teammates, and quality of competition hasn’t necessarily been the friendliest, and the sophisticated models pick up on this. Similar to shot creation, Carlo is probably an average shot suppressor which could end up better or worse with more time and certainty.

Offensive Shot Quality : A-

3 year WAR/82 : 0.30

Offensive shot quality is definitely Carlo’s strength. How much Carlo controls the quality of on-ice shots his team produces is up for debate, but over his first two seasons, the Bruins have taken higher-quality shots when Carlo is on the ice.

Carlo’s passing data

The Bruins are expected to see a boost in their unblocked shooting percentage by 0.75%, which is the best among any Bruin with at least 1,000 5v5 minutes over the course of the last three seasons. And the results have lined up almost perfectly with the expectation as the realized boost is 0.73%. Considering the Bruins have struggled in terms of shot quality over the last couple of seasons, this may be artificially boosted, as all relative stats are. However, you can’t deny he has had a strong impact on improving the Bruins’ chances of netting a shot.

Defensive Shot Quality : C

3 year WAR/82 : -0.09

Carlo seems to be getting the Kevan Miller treatment from a couple of years ago. I often browse my Twitter timeline and find a gif of Carlo out of position on a goal. His ability to prevent high-quality shots is probably better than his WAR and the eye test suggest.

Carlo has had a null impact on the Bruins expected unblocked save percentage. However, Bruins goaltenders have failed him as his relative unblocked save percentage is -1.14%. However, on-ice save percentages are very random, and it’s always best to use a model. And although Carlo might be making mistakes on certain goals, he’s making the right plays on many others. Outside of what expected goals models can measure, there is not much else a player can control when it comes to whether or not a shot will go in.

Author’s Comments

Carlo seems to be a player who is average at best. Defensively, he has shown flaws, although they are not as bad as some make them out to be. Offensively, he’s below average at creating shots, but has lots of upside in terms of shot quality.

However, as a defender who’s most likely to be a third pair or lower producer, you’d probably rather see more upside defensively. Carlo once carried a large market value, but his value seems to be decreasing as more and more pro scouts see him as a third pairing defenseman. Carlo will need to make a large improvement defensively for the Bruins this season.