BRIGHTON, Mass. – Nobody has told Brandon Carlo and Rob O’Gara that they’ve made the NHL roster for the Bruins out of training camp, but it’s sure beginning to look that way with the dominoes falling in their direction.
Fellow youngsters Jake DeBrusk, Sean Kuraly and Malcolm Subban are undoubtedly headed to Providence as they’ve disappeared from preseason practices with the NHL group, but the 19-year-old Carlo and the 23-year-old O’Gara are still standing with the Black and Gold.
Clearly, those two D-man prospects have been buoyed by their sterling training camp performances, and injuries to Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid have opened the door for them at this early point in October.
Both McQuaid and Miller may be out of commission at the start of the season and Christian Ehrhoff walked away from a possible contract from the Bruins because he wasn’t guaranteed a spot in Boston’s top-six to start the year.
Carlo, who was begun skating in a potential top pair with Zdeno Chara, is just hoping this odyssey ends with him in the opening night lineup on Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“It’s nice to still be kicking around, and just going day-to-day here to see how it goes. Nothing is definitely set in stone, so I’m just trying to go out there, practice and show that I want to be here,” said Carlo. “You see a lot of different things being here throughout camp, and it really puts it in perspective that you have to earn your spot, and there are guys here fighting to keep their spot.
“It’s pretty cool because it really brings that compete level up, and I really enjoy that. Overall, I’m just trying to take in the experience, and do the best that I can out there.”
O’Gara hasn’t been placed in a preseason role quite as prominent as the top pair spot that Carlo has enjoyed since his very first preseason game, but the 6-foot-4 defenseman has been solid, smart and confident in all situations as a possible stay-at-home D-man.
“I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but it’s exciting to be here. I just need to keep working, and that’s it,” said O’Gara. “From the beginning just think about what I can control, and that’s it. I just work my hardest and not worry about who’s going where. There’s a lot that goes into these [roster decisions] so we’ll see what happens.”
The situation becomes more difficult for Don Sweeney and the Bruins when McQuaid and Miller are ready to return. Boston is sitting with seven D-men on one-way NHL contracts before even counting Carlo and O’Gara. But that might be a decent problem to have if two rookie D-men continue to impress into the regular season and show that they’re ready to provide the Bruins with much-needed upgrades on their back end.