2015 NHL Draft Profile #29: Brandon Carlo

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TopShelfProspectsAt 6’5″ Brandon Carlo has the size that NHL teams covet on the blue line and this should see him taken in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. In fact, I realize that my ranking of Carlo is a little lower than most other published rankings, and this is due to the fact that I personally prefer to look for players with high-end offensive potential.  Carlo’s skill set is good, but the value of the shutdown defensive defenceman seems to be falling in the NHL, as teams look for more and more players with puck moving ability. That said, Carlo has added some offensive punch with 25 points in 63 games this year, and without that, I would have given him a second round grade.  Still I don’t see enough offence to have him in the teens, as many of my colleagues do.

The Colorado native has been heavily involved with USA hockey, as he played for the U.S. Team at 2013 Ivan Hlinka tournament, and was one of three draft eligible American defencemen at this year’s the World Junior Championships.  He decided to forego the college route, instead choosing to play in the WHL for the Tri-City Americans after they drafted him 214th overall in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft stating that he felt he would develop better in the league, and that it was a quicker path to the NHL as opposed to American College Hockey.

Brandon Carlo

Defense — shoots Right
Born Nov 26 1996 — Colorado Springs, CO
Height 6.05 — Weight 196 [196 cm/89 kg]

It must be said that Brandon Carlo has made some real strides in his offensive game and scored nearly double the points that he did in 2013-14. He has greatly improved his stickhandling, poise with the puck, and his passing skills.  Carlo is now waiting an extra second with the puck on his stick and making the smart pass on the breakout or in the offensive zone, instead of looking to get it out of the zone by chipping off the glass, or dumping it into the corner when he has the puck in the neutral zone.  He does have an excellent slap shot.

Brandon Carlo has very good mobility for a big man, showing a good first step, solid acceleration, and a powerful skating stride.  He has good speed for his size, but at the same time, will never be confused for a speedster out on the ice.  He has good agility and lateral movement, making him tough to beat to the outside on the rush.  Carlo could use some added lower body strength which would improve his balance, and make him even better in the corners and in front of the net, two areas he is already quite good.

He is willing to play a physical game and finish his checks, but must add some serious muscle to play that game more effectively. At 6’5″ and 185 lbs, he could easily add forty pounds to that frame, but this makes him a bit of a project as it will take time to pack on that much muscle. He understands positioning and does not get caught chasing players very often.  He clears the front of the net and wins puck battles.  Carlo is not afraid to block shots, and his long stick cuts down passing lanes.  He is effective and getting low and sprawling on the penalty kill.  He has been known to drop the gloves on occassion.

Offence is the big question mark here, and if it develops he could be a star in the NHL.  However, I feel big developments in the offensive game are unlikely and that likely means that Carlo tops out as a second pairing defensive defenceman who can kill penalties.  Stylistically, not talent wise, his game compares well with Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators.

Below are some videos of Brandon Carlo in action.

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