Causeway Crowd continues its look at the Boston Bruins by taking a look at the performance of rookie defenceman Brandon Carlo.
More from Causeway Crowd
- Harrison, Toporowski shine in Prospects Challenge
- Obscure former Boston Bruins: Steven Kampfer
- Bruins release Prospects Challenge roster, schedule Tuesday
- Bruins release full “Historic 100” list ahead of season
- McAvoy, Lucic named to “Historic 100” list over the weekend
The Boston Bruins knew they had some issues with their blueline going into the 2016-17 season. Zdeno Chara was approaching 40. Dennis Seidenberg‘s contract was bought out. The B’s were going to need someone to step up big and play top-four minutes for the Black and Gold. The Bruins were hoping it was going to be Adam McQuaid. In fact, it turned out to be the rookie Brandon Carlo.
Brandon Carlo has been a pleasant surprise to many of the fans (and I dare say a few people in the Bruins front office). The 20-year old defenceman has had a lot of responsibility dropped in his lap. For the most part, he has met or exceeded expectations. While he’s still a little tentative when not paired with captain Zdeno Chara, he’s become a force to be respected in the NHL.
“He’s given me no reason to not want to put him out there. He’s got a great stick, great composure and he blocks shots. He does the right things. To me right now he’s not playing like a first year player, he’s playing like a player that’s been in the league for quite a while,” said the Bruins head coach Claude Julien about the rookie blueliner. “He’s very comfortable and confident, and he makes the plays out there that he needs to make.
“Like I said, he’s impressed the heck out of us with the way he’s so calm. A young player like that you would expect to be more nervous, but he’s shown us he’s the total opposite.”
The Bruins bench boss has kept Carlo with Chara throughout this season. The Bruins have asked him to take on top-two minute time in Boston. At first, it seemed the choice was made out of having no better options at the time. Now, it seems like a natural pairing of youthful exuberance carefully matched with veteran skill.
“I think I can definitely stand up and hold my own out there, but I’ve also got Zee [Chara] standing next to me and that makes me feel very protected,” said Carlo of his place on the team (and being the rookie paired with the captain). “It’s been fantastic. Each game I think we build a little more chemistry and move the puck better, and we talk every single shift and on the ice so much.
“We’re getting really comfortable with each other’s playing styles, and I think we’re getting really comfortable out there. I’ve enjoyed the experience, and learning a great deal from his experience as well. I’m just starting to figure out that I can do this well, and now I’m just trying to stay consistent playing the way that I have been.
“Part of being a pro is being able to do it night in and night out. Going through the WHL I feel like I have a bit of a hand up on that because we played a 72-game schedule, so I’m used to playing three times a week. It’s a nice thing to have under my belt, but it’s just about trying to stay consistent here. I’m just going to work my hardest every night, and I’ve got plenty of time each day to get my body prepared to play.”
Carlo has put up eight points this season. That puts him in a tie for most points for a defenceman with…Zdeno Chara. It’s Carlo’s rookie season, and there is occasional step back for the young blueliner. But every step back comes with a few steps forward. Carlo should be able to crack the 20 point total by the end of the year. We’re expecting him to have an eight to 12 goal season.
Brandon Carlo has impressed the fans with his rookie performance so far. Hopefully, Carlo can have a long and successful career with the Black and Gold.