( Photo Credit: Stan Szeto / USA TODAY Sports Images )

By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter / X @BlackAndGold277

Brandon Carlo is a towering defenseman for the Boston Bruins and has always been a player many have criticized for his commitment on the ice throughout his National Hockey League tenure. To start the 2023-24 regular season, he’s truly stepped up his game, demonstrating his prowess on the ice and proving to the league and the world that he’s one of the better shutdown defenders this year. This article delves into Carlo’s impressive start to the season and how his performance is impacting not only his personal career but also the Bruins as a whole.

Born in Colorado Springs, Carlo was selected in the 2nd round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Over the years, Carlo has grown into a reliable and formidable defenseman known for his shutdown style and ability to silence the league’s top forwards. Brandon is also highly respected by his teammates along with Bruins management and always provides a tremendous amount of leadership. He may not be in the voting for the Norris Trophy year-by-year, but his commitment to the Boston organization and his teammates in the room has earned the honor of being the B’s representative of the NHL Players Union, where one player is selected from each organization.

This season, Carlo has really come into his own. His strong defensive skills, combined with his improved offensive contributions, have been instrumental in many of the Bruins victories so far. Statistically speaking, Carlo could have a career year this season, breaking a high of 19 points he contributed offensively during the 2019-20 season, appearing in 67 games.

The role of a shutdown defender is crucial in any hockey team. They are tasked with neutralizing the opposing team’s top players, often in high-pressure situations. Carlo’s size, strength, and strategic understanding of the game make him an ideal shutdown defender. There have been numerous instances this season where Carlo’s shutdown skills have come to the fore. His ability to break up plays, block shots, and play a tighter coverage game has been key to the Bruins’ defensive successes not only this season but delving back into his tenure in Boston.

When compared to other top defenders in the NHL, Carlo’s performance is noteworthy. He may not rank high among the top echelon in the league in terms of blocked shots, but his penalty-killing metrics, while showcasing his effectiveness in critical defensive situations, have been noticeable. His consistency this year and reliability also set him apart from many of his peers in the league.

Carlo’s elevated play has had a significant impact on the Bruins in the 13 games played this season. His teammates and coaches have lauded his contributions, noting that his defensive prowess has been key in securing wins. His leadership on and off the ice has also been pivotal, as he’s become a guiding figure for younger players on the team, such as Bruins defensive prospect Mason Lohrei.

If Carlo continues his current form, the rest of the season looks promising for both him and the Bruins in what many are calling a transition year. His shutdown abilities will continue to be vital in the Bruins’ quest for success. As for Carlo’s future, it’s clear that he’s cemented his place as one of the league’s top shutdown defenders, and his stock will only continue to rise if he maintains his current trajectory. The 6′-6″ 220-pound blueliner is under contract until the 2026-27 season, and his annual average value is worth $4.1 million per season, which is incredible value for what he brings on and off the ice.

Brandon Carlo’s start to the 2023-24 regular season has been nothing short of impressive, with three assists and a plus/minus of +3 in 13 games this season. He’s not only proving his worth as a top defenseman for the Boston Bruins but is also making a strong case for being one of the better shutdown defenders in the NHL this year. His journey is a testament to hard work and dedication, and hockey fans everywhere will no doubt be watching his career with interest as the season progresses.