For a few seasons now, it has been obvious that the Boston Bruins are in need of a top 2 defenceman. The rumors for Jacob Trouba were circulating for the large part of the offseason, however, the Winnipeg Jets resigned the 22 year-old d-man to a 2-year deal in early November.
Now of course a trade can still happen, but with this signing, teams have settled down on offers for Trouba.
Now remember back to June of 2015. The Boston Bruins traded away Dougie Hamilton, (then 22), for a 1st round pick, and two 2nd round picks. Hamilton was supposed to be that top defenceman for Calgary, however, he has not been what the fans have expected. In his first full season with the Flames, Hamilton had 12-31-43 totals in the full 82 games. That is a decent stat line for a young d-man. Look deeper, and you see that Dougie was a -14.
You may be wondering why I mentioned Dougie Hamilton. Well, I wanted to prove that not all prospects, (especially defenceman), become what they were sold to be. So, why trade an arm and a leg for a defenceman who may or may not become a special player, when you have one that is already in the system.
In comes Brandon Carlo. The Colorado Springs native, drafted 37th overall, (round 2), in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, made his National Hockey League debut this season. And so far, he is making an impact.
Right away, head coach Claude Julien began playing Carlo on the top pairing with aging veteran and captain of the Bruins, Zdeno Chara. Critics questioned the move, but Carlo drove himself to prove all of the naysayers wrong. So far this year, Carlo has totals of 2-2-4 with a +11 rating in the 16 games played. Even though he isn’t scoring many points, he is taking the load off of Chara. Something that has needed to happen for a few seasons now. Brandon is second on the team for highest time on ice average per game, (22:19 TOI), behind only Zdeno Chara, (23:30 TOI). 23 minutes is still a long time for a 39 year-old, but it is an improvement from last year, (24:05 TOI).
Sure, it’s only 16 games into the season. There is a lot of hockey to be played. How’d he do in the previous years? Last year, Carlo played the season in the Western Hockey League with the Tri-City Americans. In 52 games, Brandon had 4-23-27 totals with a +8 rating. He even played a few games with the Providence Bruins last year. Although, he played only 7 games and recorded just a single point. It may not be a whole lot, but you should realize that he came into a team where he hasn’t played before. Players that he has never met. And on top of that, he probably didn’t get the most ice time due to his lack of AHL experience.
I’m not saying that Brandon Carlo is guaranteed to be a top 2 defenceman, but he seems to be handling the role quite well. Plus, who better to learn from than Zdeno Chara? Not many people can say that they learned from Big Zee.
Trading for Trouba would have been a mistake. Especially when a guy like Carlo is already here. I can tell you this, I am really excited for the future of this kid for the remainder of the season, and for the rest of his career.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to stay tuned to The Real Bruins Blog for more on preseason and regular season and make sure to subscribe to The Real Bruins Blog on YouTube for the best content involving the Boston Bruins, NHL, MMA, and UFC. Stay awesome guys, and I’ll talk to you later.
*Enjoy some YouTube videos featuring Carlo.