Why trading Carlo would be a mistake for Bruins in most scenarios


The Vancouver Canucks have been a popular team for NHL trade rumors and speculation all season, and that's likely to continue up until the March 3 NHL trade deadline.

The Canucks have two players in particular -- star center Bo Horvat and veteran defenseman Luke Schenn -- who have been linked to contending teams in various rumors.

One contender that's been linked to both players is the Boston Bruins.

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Sportsnet's Jeff Marek reported Jan. 21 that Horvat's price tag is "three players, including a top prospect." If the Canucks are seeking players who can help them win now, is there anyone they might target on Boston's NHL roster?

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman discussed Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo during the latest 32 Thoughts podcast released Monday.

“I know Brandon Carlo’s name has been out there as somebody Vancouver is interested in,” Friedman said. “I don’t have any evidence to believe at this time that the Bruins are interested in doing that. I’m not convinced yet that the Bruins will do that, I’m not sure about that at this time.”

Friedman said something similar on Vancouver radio Monday.

"He's a name that really intrigues the Canucks," Friedman told the "Donnie and Dhali" show. "I think if he was the kind of player who would be included in a deal, I think that would be of enormous interest to them. I just don't know that I have any intel right now that suggests the Bruins would be willing to do that. Right shot (defensemen) and players like Carlo are really hard to find. Look, I can't prove at this time that the Bruins are willing to do that. I think if they were willing to do something like that, I think this would be a lot closer and we'd be hearing a lot more, kind of, noise in the air that this was getting close. I don't have a belief at this time that they're willing to do it. It might change, but as we recorded our (32 Thoughts) podcast last night, I didn't get the sense his name was in it."


(The full Carlo answer from Friedman is at the 5:26 mark in the video below):

Carlo has not played well over the last week as the Bruins have lost three consecutive games for the first time all season. However, he has enjoyed a very good 2022-23 season for the B's and is a key contributor in several areas.

Carlo is a strong defensive defenseman who can defend opponents' top-six forwards at a high level, play 17-20 minutes per game and excel on the penalty kill. In fact, he ranks second on the B's in shorthanded ice time per game (3:10) for the league's top-ranked penalty kill.

The 26-year-old also is signed through the 2026-27 season with a $4.1 million salary cap hit, which is a pretty reasonable number for a legit top-four defenseman. Charlie McAvoy and Carlo are the only right-shot defensemen signed beyond this season in Boston, unless you include Jakub Zboril in that mix. McAvoy and Carlo give the B's a solid foundation on that side of the blue line for the foreseeable future.

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Trading Carlo would be a mistake, unless the Bruins are upgrading the blue line in a major way, and not many top-four defenseman have been mentioned in trade rumors to this point. Horvat is a center and Schenn is a third-pairing defenseman. In fact, Schenn might be a seventh d-man for the Bruins in some playoff matchups. Schenn is not better than Carlo -- not even close. Carlo also is seven years younger than Schenn.

Upgrading the blue line should be among the Bruins' top priorities at the trade deadline. A lack of defensive depth has hurt them in recent playoff runs, and with high-powered offensive teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes among the potential postseason opponents for the Bruins, a deep and talented blue line will be a must for playoff success. 

Trading away Carlo does not upgrade the blue line. It would make the situation worse.