Someday defenseman Brandon Carlo could be using his 6-foot-5 frame to help frustrate opposing forwards in service of the Boston Bruins. That might still be a ways off for the 18-year-old, but he’s taken another step forward towards that goal.
The Bruins announced that they have inked Carlo to an entry-level contract. He was taken with the 37th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
“Right away you know how much area and territory he can defend,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney told NESN back in July. “He’s got athleticism in his skating ability, shoots the puck really hard. I was impressed with Brandon during the World Juniors because (Team USA) gave him a role and he really did a good job. He went out and shut down, made his first pass and identified. … That first pass execution piece will be very important for him, but he’s a guy that covers a lot of ice. We’re really excited about Brandon.”
Carlo, who had 25 points in 63 WHL games last season, would term himself as a defensive defenseman. He has labeled his poise with the puck as an area of his game he wants to work on though.
Before signing this contract, he attended the Bruins’ development and rookie camps. He then participated in two preseason games and managed to score a goal against the New York Rangers.
The 37th overall pick originally belonged to the Philadelphia Flyers, but Boston ultimately acquired it from the New York Islanders as part of the Johnny Boychuk trade.
The preseason continued to be unkind to the Bruins on Wednesday, as the club announced veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg would undergo back surgery, and be sidelined for the next eight weeks.
From the club:
Seidenberg is scheduled to undergo a lumbar microdiscectomy on Thursday, September 24 to repair a lumbar spine disc herniation.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Louis Jenis at Massachusetts General Hospital. Seidenberg is expected to make a full recovery and will be sidelined approximately eight weeks.
Seidenberg, 34, had missed the start of the training camp with the injury and, as mentioned above, is the second Bruin to go down this preseason; B’s sophomore Seth Griffith, who had 10 points in 30 games as a rookie, suffered an MCL sprain that’ll sideline him for 3-4 weeks.
The Seidenberg injury is more significant, however.
After the Dougie Hamilton trade and Matt Bartkowski exiting in free agency, the veteran German was supposed to be a key part of a whittled down blueline comprised of himself, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Matt Irwin.
It’s very possible that GM Don Sweeney goes out and tries to add a veteran stopgap in the interim. The Bruins can ill afford a slow start to the year, especially coming off last year’s playoff miss.
Bad luck for Bruins hopeful Seth Griffith.
The B’s announced today that Griffith would miss three to four weeks with an MCL sprain in his left knee. The club said the injury occurred in the third period of Sunday’s Bruins-Devils preseason game.
Griffith split last season between Boston and AHL Providence. In 30 NHL games with the B’s, he had six goals and four assists.
The 22-year-old RW went into this year’s training camp as a long shot to make the big club, but with hopes of translating a summer of hard work into more success, eventually, at the NHL level.
“I worked a lot on my offseason training, getting faster, getting stronger in the corners and stuff like that,” Griffith told NESN. “There’s a lot of competition going on right now.”
Related: Dennis Seidenberg to miss start of camp with upper-body injury
Training camps can be crossroads, especially for veteran players mulling retirement and prospects who are getting antsy about “making the leap.”
Alex Khokhlachev is in that latter group with the Boston Bruins. You get the impression that he’s going to make noise if it doesn’t work out soon – maybe even next season – based on these quotes from CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty.
“I’ve been waiting two years so [the Bruins] should make a decision: give me a chance [in the NHL] or…I don’t know. We’ll see what they do. I’m not a young guy anymore. I’m 22 already,” Khokhlachev said. “If they don’t give me a chance to play while I’m here…I won’t play in Providence all of my life. I’m still waiting for [my chance].”
(That groan you heard came from readers old enough to cringe at the line “I’m 22 already.”)
It’s been a strange ride for the prospect sometimes conveniently called “Koko.” Back around the 2013 trade deadline, it seemed like Khokhlachev was going to be involved in the Bruins’ eventually aborted Jarome Iginla swap.
The 22-year-old appeared in three games with the Bruins last season (and one in 2013-14), but he didn’t really believe that he received a fair look in that regard.
Khokhlachev also seemed a bit envious of other young players who’ve received the call, noting that they “stepped up.”
Haggerty wonders if he might already be angling for a change:
From the sounds of it, Khokhachev is pining for a fresh start in a different organization and a chance where there are NHL spots readily available. But he won’t have any leverage at all as a player until he finishes out his entry-level contract with Boston, short of picking up and heading back to the KHL and Mother Russia.
Joe Morrow is optimistic that the Bruins’ new defensive system — one that’s predicated on skating and puck-moving — will fit his game and help the team.
“Absolutely, with my skating ability and the things I can do on the ice, I think it will be more effective come game time,” Morrow said, per NESN.
“It’s just more of an offensive-minded approach. Push the pace of play and show more of a skill level this year rather than the gritty performance and gritty defensive aspect of things. It’s still going to be there 100 percent, that part is not going to change at all, but you will see a lot more of the skilled forwards and skilled defensemen contribute to the offense a lot more.”
Yet another reason, beyond the departure of Dougie Hamilton, that the Bruins’ blue line will be very much under the microscope this season.
Morrow, 22, was a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011. Since then, he’s been traded twice while appearing in just 15 NHL games.
Despite still being on a two-way contract, Morrow is no longer exempt from waivers, according to war-on-ice.com.
Related: Zach Trotman is looking to make the leap