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Brandon Carlo already performing better than last season

Erin Walsh
October 18, 2018 - 9:48 am

After going through what many called a “sophomore slump” during his second season as a Bruin, Brandon Carlo seems to have improved his game coming back from a gruesome leg injury.

In 76 games last season, Carlo recorded six assists. The numbers certainly aren’t impressive, and the young defenseman also struggled defensively. He coughed up the puck a lot, seemed to be out of position, and lacked in many defensive areas.

This season though, he looks poised to make a comeback.

The 21-year-old has already recorded two assists through six games, which already puts him on pace to have a better season points wise than last season.

Keep in mind, Carlo will likely be a key shutdown defender when Zdeno Chara retires. He isn’t a point getter, he isn’t someone like Torey Krug who has high-end offensive capability, he’s someone who can kill penalties effectively and stop an offensive rush.

Bruce Cassidy expanded on Carlo's role recently.

“I think he’s trying to play a harder game. I think he definitely understands his role,” Cassidy told reporters. “He needs to be a shutdown guy. He’ll probably see the other team’s second line a lot. But I think his puck play has gotten better. We’ve challenged him on that end, to be more involved offensively so he’s trying to do that. It’s not as natural as his defensive game, but it’s growing.”

Despite missing a wide-open net against the Oilers, Carlo has proven to be ready to taken on a full-game schedule. He’s been an effective penalty killer, and has made some smart plays in the defensive zone.

The Colorado native has tremendous upside. He’s a big guy who is physical, can clear the front of the net, skate well, and take effective shots from the point. Carlo has a mindset of shutting things down defensively before making any attempts at getting on the score sheet. He’s arguably one of the Bruins best defenders at this point in the season and in his career.

The 21-year-old said that he’s not focused on comments about his play, he’s just focused on being a better player.

“I’d initially in my first year, I’d be like ‘Wow, what’s going on here?’ Because I was paying attention to the tweets and stuff like that,” Carlo told reporters. “But I’ve shied away from that now. I just don’t find it very positive in my life. It’s nothing I need to be worrying about. I just want to go out there and do my job and whatever happens from there, happens from there.”

Carlo and the Bruins will be back in action Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers.