Could Boston’s Brandon Carlo Be On The Move?

( Photo Credit: Paul Vernon / Associated Press )

By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter @andrewtaverna

There’s been a lot of speculation that Brandon Carlo could be on the move this offseason. Judging by all of the responses on social media, this idea has and will have plenty of criticism. 

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The idea, though, is one that requires a bit of attention. Let’s take a minute to break down why the Bruins may or may not want to make a deal.

A Solid Defensive Game

Carlo was drafted 37th overall in the 2015 draft. Since his time with the Bruins organization, he has undoubtedly made an impact on the team. He is a 6’5″, 212lbs, 23-year-old, right-shot shutdown defenseman. As mentioned in Fluto Shinzawa’s article on the Athletic, “Carlo is a big, smooth-moving, low-maintenance right-shot defenseman. Players with such skill sets are always in short supply.” The Bruins themselves need that type of player, and while they have a few prospects in their system that might fill that role, none of them have a proven track record.

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Carlo provides a solid defensive game. With a regular-season career plus/minus of plus-57, he has proven himself to be a top-tier NHL caliber shutdown defenseman. This type of play will become critically important as the Bruins look towards a future without Zdeno Chara. Admittedly, with Chara closing in on retirement and Krug one foot out the door, it seems like the Bruins could genuinely use a defenseman like Carlo to anchor the blue-line with McAvoy for years to come.

Little Offensive Upside

Carlo may be a valuable asset to the Bruins, but if they don’t think they can find a reasonable deal by the end of the upcoming season, it might be time to move on, and it sounds like Don Sweeny is open to all possibilities this summer. 

“There’s been plenty of talk of teams trying to move pieces around and players to improve their own clubs,” Sweeney said. “We’re going to do the exact same thing. Having conversations, I’m pretty aware of how teams are valuing players on our roster. So I have to look at it and say, ‘OK, does that mean we have the internal growth available to fill that spot?’ Anytime you look at moving players in and out, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul in that situation.”

While Carlo provides a reliable defensive option, one major challenge with him is he offers little offensive upside.

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Carlo arguably underperformed during this year’s playoff run and only put up one point in 13 games. Career-wise he only has 51 regular-season points and five post-season points in four seasons. With Krug in all likelihood leaving, the Bruins will need more offensive production if they plan on solving their 5v5 woes, and that’s going to include additional production from their backend. 

If you look past needing the offense and assume you’ll fill that gap a different way, the other major factor to consider is Carlo’s contract situation. He’s currently coming into the final season of his two-year 5.7, million-dollar gap deal. That means it’s time for the Bruins to give him both term and money. For the Bruins to reasonably do that, they’ll either need to use some of the space they gain this offseason or consider moving additional pieces. The last position the organization wants to find themselves in is having two top-tier defensemen walk away for nothing in return on the open market. 

Where Does This Leave The Bruins?

While the scenario exists, I don’t think the Bruins are going to want to trade Carlo. With Chara getting close to retirement. The Bruins need players to play those shutdown minutes. Carlo seems like the perfect fit for that role within the organization. It’s now up to Don Sweeny to find a way to get the deal done.

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