Is a Big Year in The Cards for Brandon Carlo?
Jack Edwards, the television play-by-play announcer for the Boston Bruins, likes to talk about the “200 game threshold” for young defenseman in the NHL. The threshold was brought about by a former NHL d-man, who basically said that most NHL defenders don’t completely establish their footing in the NHL until they’ve played 200 games in the league. I have no idea if this theory has a solid basis, but if it does, expect one Bruins defender to have a solid second half of the season in Boston this year.
Through his first two seasons Brandon Carlo has played 158 games in the NHL, which means just 42 games into the 2018–19 season he’ll reach the 200 game mark. So if the threshold pertains to Carlo then he could be one of the Bruins most reliable defenders for the back half of the season and, hopefully, throughout the playoffs.
The 6’5″ defenseman has already proven his worth in the NHL and has shown that he has the skillset to be a top-4 d-man. Like most young defensemen in the NHL, Carlo has seen his fair share of “ups and downs” early on in his career. The “downs” have gotten ugly at times, but his “ups” have shown that he can be a solid, reliable defender in the league. He’s not going to go out and score big goals or help setup his teammates on the power play, but he’s going to be a guy that can help get the puck out of his own end. He can also play big minutes on the penalty kill, which the Bruins will need out of him this season.
So let’s say that the 200 game threshold pertains to Carlo. Let’s say that by January the American born defender will fully find his feet in the NHL and take a big step in his development. How important is that going to be for the Bruins? Well, it’s going to be huge.
With Zdeno Chara pushing the envelope in the age game and the uncertainty of how new Bruin, John Moore, will look on the B’s blueline, the Bruins need Carlo to have a monster year. And if he does have a monster year, he’ll be setting himself up nicely for the future because, well, he’s in a contract year.
The Bruins have a surplus of defenseman right now, but Carlo projects to be one of the ones that’ll be on the opening night roster and in the lineup when the season begins. As a third year player, he’s going to be expected to fill a big role for the club, so finding his feet is going to be important for him.
Whether you want to believe in the “200 game threshold” theory or not, you have to feel that a big year for Brandon Carlo is in the cards. If you’re looking for a key on defense this season, it won’t lie in the hands of Zdeno Chara or Charlie McAvoy, it’ll lie in the hands of the 21-year-old defenseman who has to show that he’s ready to take the next step in his development.
Kevin Maggiore (@kevin_maggiore)