For two straight seasons the Boston Bruins have made the playoffs. Unfortunately, top-four defenseman Brandon Carlo was injured during both of those appearances. Carlo appeared in 82 games during the 2016-2017 season before a concussion ended his season. This past season he appeared in 76 games before fracturing his ankle. After a solid rookie campaign, Carlo struggled at times throughout the 2017- 2018 season. Before his injury it seemed that he was turning it around as the Bruins made their playoff push.
Brandon Carlo’s Rookie Season
In Brandon Carlo’s rookie season he was usually paired with Zdeno Chara. The former second round pick performed well, as in 82 games he scored six goals along with ten assists. Before making his NHL debut, Carlo had appeared in only seven games for the Providence Bruins. He surpassed everyone’s expectations and gave the Bruins the stability they had lacked. He has a strong skating ability and also does very well moving the puck. The 2017-2018 season did not go as well for the former second round pick.
Photo Credit: Emily Sadler
Carlo Struggles in His Sophomore Campaign
Offensively, Carlo took a step back in the 2017-2018 season. He did not score a goal and had only six assists. He took only 76 shots, which was twelve less than he took in his rookie season. Carlo was not as impactful offensively as he was during his rookie season but he was still valuable to the Bruins. His plus minus improved this past season despite not being paired with his mentor, Zdeno Chara. The former second round pick will never put up offensive numbers like his fellow defensemen Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy. Carlo does not have their offensive upside or power play opportunities. The Bruins do not need him or expect to make that type of offensive impact.
Photo Credit: Fluto Shinzawa/ Boston Globe
Can He Rebound?
Like many young players Carlo still has some growing pains to go through. This is also due to the fact that he has virtually no AHL experience. Carlo possesses a very good skating ability and an offensive game that can improve. He needs to improve his decision-making and handling of the puck. His injury prevented him from a strong finish as he had looked better as the season was winding down. Next season will be an important one for the former second round pick and he will be more motivated than ever. Staying healthy for the playoffs will be key and Bruins fans may finally get to see what he can do in the postseason.