Throughout the history of the Boston Bruins, being built on the back end has been part of the success. Legends and Icons have donned black and gold for almost 100 years. Ray Bourque, Bobby Orr, and Zdeno Chara are just a few. As those players are long gone, a new era of Bruins defensemen is formed and plenty of building blocks are on the blue line. One player on the back end that should be appreciated is Boston Bruins defenseman, Brandon Carlo.
Boston Bruins Defensemen Brandon Carlo Essential To The Blueline
It feels like a lifetime ago when there was a swirl in the wind in regard to Brandon Carlo being dealt. Sure the return for Brandon Carlo involved Gabriel Landeskog at the time, but keeping him was also the right move. Carlo is a young, big, and physical defenseman that perfectly compliments the blue line. The 6’5 212 pound blueliner has become one of the best shutdown defensemen on the Boston Bruins. In addition, he joins a core group highlighted by Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm. Complimentary pieces follow, but a player like Brandon Carlo needs to be appreciated more than he is.
What Carlo Brings To The Table
Brandon Carlo is your typical one-dimensional shutdown defenseman. Logging big minutes and playing a top-four role. You will not expect him to generate much offense, but he has made that a point to improve on. Carlo excels on the penalty kill which compliments his defensive abilities. He is not afraid to block shots or throw the body. Although, that’s toned down some due to his injury history. Over the last five seasons, Carlo has excelled at generating turnovers. Here is what that looks like:
2022-23: Takeaways: 21 Giveaways 11
2021-22: Takeaways 32 Giveaways 25
2020-21: Takeaways 6 Giveaways 8
2019-20: Takeaways 31 Giveaways 32
2018-19: Takeaways 43 Giveaways 42
Aside from 2020-21, Carlo has ranked at the top in takeaways. He was prone to turning the puck over earlier in his career but has toned it down getting better each year. Including this season, he has finished with a Corsi For Percentage above 50% just twice. He is definitely doing more defending than he is generating offense and the puck isn’t on his stick as much.
Playoff Brandon Carlo
If there is one player that has had rotten luck, it is Boston Bruins defenseman, Brandon Carlo. For the longest time, he has always missed the playoffs or got injured. However, when in the lineup he has proven to be a capable shutdown defenseman that the team can count on.
During their run to the cup final in 2018-19, he logged the most minutes alongside Torey Krug. His best defensive metrics came alongside Zdeno Chara (1.66 expected goals against per 60 minutes). In addition, the Chara-Carlo pair averaged 1.28 goals against per 60 minutes, making it the most reliable pair on the team. But one playoff season alone made Carlo the unsung hero in a noticeable fashion.
2020-21 Playoff Run
It was the end of an era after that run as Tuukka Rask would play his final games as a Boston Bruins goaltender. But one player that shined through was Brandon Carlo. After knocking out the Washington Capitals in round one, the daunting task of facing the New York Islanders presented different challenges. Carlo was tasked with matching up against Mathew Barzal. He did his job and held Barzal at bay until he got a concussion on that hit from Cal Clutterbuck. Barzal didn’t take off until Game 3, ironically when Carlo left the game. After Carlo went out, Barzal scored three goals and had two multi-point games.
Carlo was simply amazing in his role. Paired alongside Mike Rielly, the duo averaged 0.48 goals against per 60 minutes and did a great job at suppressing the opposition’s chances (1.86 expected goals against).
Brandon Carlo This Season
Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo is a player to be appreciated. Among all Boston defensemen, he ranks in these categories:
- Corsi For: Fourth (50.04%)
- XGF%: Third (53.28%)
- HDCF: Sixth (51.71%)
The Boston Bruins’ defensive group is deep and talented. He does rank sixth in high-danger Corsi for but still is positive in that area. It is a testament to how deep this group is. Carlo has generated more shot attempts than he’s allowed, and when on the ice the expected goals rate has been higher.
Carlo has spent the most minutes with Hampus Lindholm. As a pair, they rank third in expected goals against per 60 minutes (2.23). That puts them at 21st in the entire league with 200 minutes together. They suppress the opposition and do not give them much. A good defense is also a good offense and the pair averages 2.83 goals expected per 60 minutes (45th in the league). Turns out the duo has played better than expected. They have averaged 1.85 goals against per 60 minutes (20th) and sit 25th in goals for per 60 minutes (3.12). Their games complement one another and it shows how good they are among their peers.
With the rumors swirling around this team at the trade deadline one thing remains true. Brandon Carlo is an important piece to the puzzle of what they are trying to accomplish. Is he the best one on the blue line? Not a chance. However, he is someone to appreciate and enjoy having in the fold. It remains to be seen what Don Sweeney does up top, but do not part ways with Carlo.