There was a time in the early part of last regular season, during those “the Bruins may never lose a game” days, where Brandon Carlo set up his own island in the middle of the Low Event Ocean:
Not much happened offensively when he was on the ice, but the B’s didn’t allow much when he was on the ice either.
When thinking about a defensive defenseman, the best games are the ones where you don’t even realize they’re playing — things are low event, low risk, not flashy, but effective.
That, for the most part, summed up Carlo’s season: offensively unremarkable, but defensively sound.
To be fair, Carlo did record the second-most points of his career (16, the same total as his rookie year), but the offensive portion of his game appears to have stagnated a bit.
However, he’s relied on to be a defensive defenseman, and he did that pretty well.
Carlo led the B’s in shorthanded TOI by a long shot, with 242:22 played on the penalty kill; the nearest Bruin to Carlo, Charlie Coyle, played more than 30 minutes less.
Carlo also ranked second among Bruins defensemen in hits, third in blocked shots, and second in takeaways.
He was given tough sledding in terms of deployment, starting 63% of his 5v5 shifts in the defensive zone.
I suppose the point of all of this is that Carlo was deployed as a defensive defenseman, expected to make defense his focus, and succeeded.
While few Bruins acquitted themselves well in the playoffs (and I know the problems with this stat), Carlo was one of only two Bruins defensemen to post a plus rating for the series.
More impressively, he turned into a (relative) offensive dynamo, recording four assists in the seven-game series loss.
Particularly in the Erik Karlsson/Cale Makar/Adam Fox Era, some would hope for more offensive output or more offensive growth from Carlo, but at this point, it’s probably safe to assume he is what he is: a defensive defenseman, and you certainly need those too.