Earlier this afternoon, the Bruins announced that they have signed restricted free agent (RFA) defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year, $24.6 million contract ($4.1 million AAV). The contract contains a modified no-trade clause in the last four years. In years three and four (2023-24 and 2024-25), he’ll have a ten team no-trade list. Then, in year five (2025-26) he’ll have an eight team no-trade list. Finally, in year six (2026-27) he’ll have a three team no-trade list. Carlo, 24, has appeared in 324 career regular-season games and produced 15 goals and 40 assists for a total of 55 points. He has also played in 45 career playoff games, in which he’s tallied two goals and three assists for a total of five points.
Carlo’s Contract is a Steal
My first thought when I saw this news was that it is a complete steal. Brandon Carlo may not provide much in the way of offense, but he is already an excellent shutdown defenseman and is only getting better. Plus, he’s starting to bring more offense and says it’s something he’s really been working on adding to his game. However, even if he doesn’t provide much more offense, it’ll be ok. Every team needs a pure shutdown defenseman, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to call him one of the best ones in the league. The Bruins are lucky to have gotten him long-term at a great price. He is a key piece of the next core and a potential future captain in my eyes.
This is also a very fair deal for Carlo. He probably could’ve gotten more if he really wanted it. But, it’s clear he loves it in Boston and was willing to take less to stay here. It seemed as though long-term stability was the most important thing to him, and that’s exactly what he got. Not only is it a long-term deal, but the inclusion of a modified no-trade clause helps him control his destiny should the Bruins for some reason want to trade him in the future. On top of all this, he really won’t be that old when this contract expires (it takes him through his age 30 season). So, if he stays healthy and keeps improving, he’ll have the chance for another good payday at the end of this.
Injuries Shouldn’t Be a Cause for Concern
Some people have been bringing up his injuries as a reason why the Bruins shouldn’t have done this. But, they have all largely been freak plays and shouldn’t present a long-term problem. The only ones that are a bit concerning are the concussions. But, a lot of players have gotten concussions (and bad ones at that) early on but end up going on to have long, productive careers (Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby are two who come to mind) with no obvious negative effects. So, I don’t think we should be alarmed yet. He’s also stated multiple times that he’s never been worried that these concussions will affect his long-term health, so it’s clear he’s recovered well from them so far.
Sweeney Was Smart to Do This Now
Not only is this a great deal for both sides, but the timing of this is perfect. Since Brandon Carlo was an RFA, the Bruins were going to have to protect him for the Seattle expansion draft no matter what, or risk losing him. He was the Bruins’ only RFA of major concern (the only others are Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie, both of which can be replaced if necessary and shouldn’t have difficult negotiations), so getting him signed before the draft is perfect. Now, Sweeney can turn his focus to the Bruins unrestricted free agents (who don’t have to be protected unless they’re signed) immediately after the expansion draft and hopefully get the ones at risk of going elsewhere (namely Taylor Hall, but possibly Mike Reilly too if the price is right) done before the opening of free agency.
All in all, I absolutely love this deal for the Bruins and for Brandon Carlo. It’s perfect for both sides. Carlo gets long-term stability, and the Bruins get him at a great price. It also frees up Sweeney to focus on the UFAs immediately after the draft. So, it’s an all-around win. Congrats on the new contract, Brandon, and I think I speak for all fans when I say we can’t wait to see you back on the ice next season!
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
Featured image courtesy of Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images.
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