One could make the argument that over the last few games, Brandon Carlo has been the Bruins steadiest and most consistent blueliner and it wouldn’t be off base.
We’re watching Carlo be more assertive offensively by jumping into the play more often, recognizing when to be the late man coming into the play, making some difficult keep-ins at the offensive blueline look easy and a surprising ability to recognize which type of shot he should be using in the offensive zone while also getting shots through on target. It has even paid off with his first goal of the season.
And as much as the offense has been noticeable, it’s the defensive zone game that has me more excited. His reaction in turning to retrieve pucks put past the Bruins blueliners has been impressive. Not only has he shown better recognition on when he needs too, but he is getting to those pucks dumped into the Bruins end ahead of the opposition.
And even more impressive yet is his new found ability (or confidence) in transitioning to offence. Gone is the Brandon Carlo who would chip it off glass to get it out of the zone. He’ll retrieve pucks, turn the net and either skate and take his open ice or make a tape-to-tape pass to a teammate – something that had found it’s way out of Carlo’s game for some time now.
Some feel that Carlo’s concussion history, including one earlier this season, played a leading role in Carlo’s “demise” so much so that many fans were in the “trade him while you can” category. And maybe that played a role or maybe he is more confident and isn’t playing timid or worrying about that next hit.
Everyone knew that the hiring of Jim Montgomery was going to have an influence on the Bruins blueliners. And we can’t or shouldn’t underestimate the role John Gruden is having as well.
As great as the Bruins have been this season it’s the playoffs, we all care about. We should, as a whole feel plenty more comfortable with Carlo playing like a legitimate number 3 defenceman.