20 Under 25 Candidates: Brandon Carlo quietly among Bruins' best young players

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While some young Bruins players with bigger stat lines or flashy offensive games might get more attention, don’t sleep on 22-year-old Brandon Carlo.

The stay-at-home defenseman isn’t ever going to be a big play generator like Torey Krug or a power play guy like Charlie McAvoy, but Carlo is a 6-foot-5, strong D-man that gives the Bruins needed physicality in the defensive zone. In fact, the Bruins want even more of it out of the mild-mannered defenseman to go along with his big wingspan, willingness to block shots and ability to battle in all the important areas in the D-zone. Carlo showed some offensive promise as a rookie D-man three seasons ago when he posted six goals and 16 points in 82 games while mostly playing in a shutdown pair with Zdeno Chara, but that hasn’t yet developed for the 2015 second round pick.

Instead, Carlo has just eight assists in 97 games over the last two seasons, and ended up injured and out of the playoffs before they even started in each of his first two seasons in Boston. So it’s a focus for Carlo in his third season to perhaps pull more offense out of his game with a hard, accurate shot, and the ability to skate pretty well for a big man.

It’s also a point of emphasis for the big-bodied Carlo to stay healthy all season after two separate injuries -- a concussion and a broken leg -- have put the young defenseman on the shelf late in the regular season with the playoffs about to start.

Carlo will also probably never be a regular power play guy in his career, and should be paired with a skilled offensive D-man as the perfect marriage of different strengths.  

Still, there is great value in big, strong top-4 D-men that can skate, and Carlo has been exactly that since entering into the league as a teenager who completely skipped over the AHL level for the Black and Gold. There is still some raw, unfinished offensive talent that could/should get him back to at least his offensive level from his rookie season. Carlo could easily be a top-4 stopper in Boston for the next 10 years or be traded someday because he still holds pretty good value to other teams around the league.

But guys with Carlo’s size, strength and skating tend to have long NHL careers, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be any different.  

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