The Boston Bruins have agreed to terms on a new contract with defender Brandon Carlo. The contract is worth $24.6 million and will keep Carlo with the team for another six seasons. It will carry an annual cap hit of $4.1 million. The deal was first announced by Joe McDonald and was later confirmed by the Bruins.
The deal contains a 10-team no-trade list in years three and four, an eight-team no-trade list in year five and a three-team no-trade list in year six.
“The Bruins are very pleased to have extended Brandon on a long-term deal,” said general manager Don Sweeney. “Brandon is a player who has grown into a foundational defenseman with our team while also emerging as an important leader on and off the ice.”
This deal is another one under Sweeney’s belt that can be considered good value for the Bruins. When retaining his own player, this has been a trend throughout Sweeney’s tenure as the team’s general manager.
Carlo is a Crucial Member of the Bruins Defense
The 24-year-old Carlo just finished his fifth season with the Bruins and has been a focal point of their blueline for seemingly the entirety of his career. While it’s a tall hill to climb for any prospect to make the NHL, it’s even harder for players drafted outside of the first round. Carlo, however, would make the jump to the NHL during the 2016-17 season after being drafted 37th overall in 2015 by the Bruins. He’d play a full 82-game season and showed signs of a bonafide top-four shutdown defender from the get-go.
Since then, Carlo has consistently earned his place in the team’s four, slotting in as their second-best right-shot player behind only Charlie McAvoy. Outside of Zdeno Chara, Carlo has been the team’s most consistent shutdown player over the last five years. Though his offense will never jump off the page, his ability to be a menace in his own zone and is a key member of the Bruins penalty kill.
This is especially true now that Kevan Miller has retired from the NHL; the Bruins right-shot defense was already looking thin and the need for big-bodied defenders capable of making a positive impact on the team was at an all-time high. The Bruins are going to need some reinforcements on defense this offseason, which meant getting Carlo locked up long-term was undoubtedly one of the Bruins’ top priorities this offseason.
All things considered, that’s saying something given the current climate of the team. As it stands, Bruins in need of new contracts includes a bevy of high-profile names. Included in the list of free agents are David Krejci, Taylor Hall, Tuukka Rask, Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase, Sean Kuraly, Mike Reilly, Jaroslav Halak and Jarred Tinordi.
The Bruins will have to figure out the contract situations of their internal free agents while also balancing the looming Expansion Draft while also preparing for the Entry Draft and Free Agency. It’s a very busy time in the NHL right now, but Carlo’s importance to the team in the short and long terms made him a priority.
One concern that exists with Carlo, despite all the good, however, is his injury history. Since 2017, Carlo has sustained four concussions. Injuries are an ever-present risk in professional sports, and the risk of re-injury makes them even more daunting. For the sake of Carlo’s long-term health and the Bruins, the hope is that these injuries don’t continue to derail Carlo’s career.
The reward seems worth the risk for the Bruins, however, as a six-year deal is a long-term commitment. Still, at the cap hit he signed for, this contract feels like a good deal for both sides. If the deal was longer, Carlo likely would have asked for more money. For the Bruins, this cap hit is certainly easier handle, especially with the aforementioned risk involved.
Now the Bruins can turn their attention to some of the other pressing needs that they’ll have to address this offseason. It’ll be a lot to figure out, but getting this deal figured out makes the list a little less daunting.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.