Bruins’ Boychuk Trade Paying Off With Carlo

Former Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made 63 trades during his nine-year tenure with the franchise. He made some minor deals and even pulled off some big deals that led to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011.

One deal he made prior to the 2014-15 season was sending defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders in exchange for two draft picks. Little did the Bruins know at the time that one of the draft picks would turn into another blueliner that could be a defenseman for a long time in Boston.

Why Trade Boychuk?

Entering the 2014-15 season, hopes were high in Boston. The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy the season before, collecting 117 points. After dispatching the Detroit Red Wings in five games in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, they were eliminated in seven games by the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

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Chiarelli ran into salary-cap issues when he signed several core players to long-term contracts. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, and captain Zdeno Chara were inked to extensions as key foundations of the team.

Milan Lucic Bruins
Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

Jarome Iginla left via free agency during the summer because of the salary cap constraints the Bruins had in 2014. Boychuk turned out to be the next casualty when he was dealt to the Islanders right before the regular-season began. At the time of the trade, he was a top-four defenseman for the Bruins and in the prime of his career.

Johnny Boychuk Boston Bruins
Johnny Boychuk could be the odd man out in Boston. (Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE)

In six seasons in Boston, he scored 19 goals and had 56 assists while averaging just over 20 minutes of ice time a night. He played in 25 games in the 2011 playoffs and had three goals and six assists with a plus-12 rating, while again averaging just over 20 minutes night. But as often happens in the sport, he was traded because of the salary cap.

Bruins Use One Pick for Carlo

One of the draft picks the Bruins received in the trade was a 2015 second-rounder. With that 37th overall pick, new general manager Don Sweeney selected a defenseman named Brandon Carlo from the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

Brandon Carlo - Bruins
Brandon Carlo, Boston Bruins, September 17, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

During training camp in September of 2015, Carlo signed his three-year entry-level contract with Boston. After spending part of the 2015-16 season in Providence, Carlo made the Bruins opening night roster in 2016 and has been a staple on their defensive unit since.

In his first three years with the Bruins, he played in 230 out of 246 regular-season games with 8 goals and 24 assists. This season, before the COVID-19 pause the NHL has been in since March 12, he played in 67 of Boston’s 70 games with 4 goals and 15 assists.

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Carlo has taken his game to another level during each year in the league. He was partnered with Chara last year and the 23-year old is turning into a shutdown defenseman. At 6-foot-5 and 212 pounds, he uses his long reach to frustrate opponents and knock them off the puck.

A top-four defenseman destined to be paired with Charlie McAvoy as the future of the Bruins blue line, Carlo has the ability to follow Chara as the next big and physical defenseman for Boston.

The Bruins’ Other Pick

With the other draft pick the Bruins received in the Boychuk trade, they selected another defenseman, Ryan Lindgren, 44th overall in the second round of the 2016 draft. The Bruins traded him to the New York Rangers in February of 2018 as part of a deal that brought Rick Nash to Boston.

Ryan Lindgren New York Rangers
Ryan Lindgren, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At the time of the Boychuk trade, it was more of a move to shed payroll after committing to bigger names for the long-term. Chiarelli had some good trades during his tenure in Boston, and some not so good trades. This trade, in the long run, will go down as one of the better and longer-lasting moves that the Bruins will be able to look back on.