A confident Brandon Carlo is making strides in an overlooked area of his game

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

There aren’t too many surprises in Brandon Carlo’s game. 

A 6-foot-5 blueliner, Carlo is at his best when deployed as one of the anchors of Boston’s penalty-kill unit, while also snuffing out opposing scoring chances during 5v5 play.

Last season, in particular, was a major step forward for the 23-year-old defenseman when it came to rounding out the bread and butter of his game.

Among the 87 NHL defensemen that logged at least 1,200 5v5 minutes in 2018-19, Carlo ranked first overall in goals against per 60 minutes of play with a rate of 1.48. Other defensive stalwarts such as Colton Parayko, John Klingberg and Ryan Ellis ranked third, fourth and 23rd in the same category. 

Even at his age, Carlo is already a key cog in Boston’s D corps. But when it comes to his contributions down the other end of the ice, any points that the Colorado Springs native can chip in is generally just viewed as a luxury when sizing up his overall game.

“The whole goal-scoring thing isn’t my forte,” Carlo said last May during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “Maybe I’ll slide in an empty netter.”

And yet, while Boston has often relied on the likes of Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy to generate offense from the blue line, Carlo has started to see his name pop up on the box score more and more over the last couple of months.