(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

The Boston Bruins announced on Thursday last week that Brandon Carlo was placed on injured reserve. It was a big blow for both the lineup and the 27-year-old defenseman. However, there was good news today as he returned to Bruins practice as a full participant. Carlo is undoubtedly having his most impactful season wearing the spoked B and has arguably been their most consistent player all season. 

He has now missed the seven required days before he can return to game action. He’s already missed the last four games against the Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights, St. Blues, and New Jersey Devils. Carlo is eligible to return tomorrow night against the Colorado Avalanche, whom he was injured against last Monday night. 

The 2015 Bruins second-round pick is in his eighth season with the organization and has never played as well as he has this year. His defensive play has been off the charts, and he has averaged 20:17 time on ice per game, third on the team. Furthermore, he’s been a big factor in all three zones, and his positioning has been nearly perfect thus far. The 6’6 blueliner has a long reach, which allows him to frequently keep his opponents to the perimeter and take away passing lanes. That’s part of what makes him an elite penalty killer. 

Averaging 3:28 of shorthanded time on ice per game, Carlo leads the team. His large frame takes up a lot of space on the ice, allowing him to get inside position during puck battles. It also allows him to jump in front of pucks, which he’s not afraid to do, leading the team in blocks with 71. He has played a similar role this season to what we saw from Zedano Chara for many years. Carlo’s leadership has also been a huge factor in the dressing room. 

Offensively, the big defenseman has been more involved than he’s ever been in his career. Although he doesn’t frequently show up on the score sheet with a line of 2-8-10, he has done little things that have helped the Bruins produce offense. Carlo has been joining the rush more, which has led to extended periods of offensive zone time. He’s been great with lateral puck movement and knows the right time to pinch down the boards. He has been very impactful in turning defense into offense. 

Carlo led the team stretch at practice this morning, which is a sign he could jump back in the lineup tomorrow night against Colorado. Regardless, his return to practice is huge for the team, and it appears they have yet again dodged a bullet of having a key player sidelined long term, especially with Carlo’s history of concussions.