The Boston Bruins entered the 2021 NHL offseason with several important free agents to re-sign, and they took care of one Wednesday with a contract that is great for both sides.
The B's signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year extension worth $24.6 million, including a $4.1 million salary cap hit.
Why is this deal a win for everyone involved?
Well, for the Bruins, they lock up a legit top-four defenseman's prime years for just $4.1 million per season. This number is below market value for a player who fills that role. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has shown an impressive ability to re-sign core players to team-friendly contracts. Two of the best examples before Carlo's deal are the extensions Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak signed.
Carlo is a very good shutdown defenseman who defends well against opponents' top-six forwards and logs around 20 minutes of ice time per game. He also excels on the penalty kill, blocks shots, plays a physical game and brings much-needed size and strength to Boston's blue line.
The deal is a win for Carlo for several reasons, too. The biggest one is the term. Six years gives him plenty of security and protects against injury, which is one of the main risks of this contract from the Bruins' perspective.
Carlo suffered two concussions this season, including one that forced him to leave Game 3 of the second-round playoff series versus the New York Islanders. Carlo didn't play another minute in the series and the Bruins were eliminated in six games. His absence on the blue line was a massive one.
The 24-year-old defenseman said Wednesday that he's feeling "great" and isn't concerned about his career in regards to injuries.
"No, personally, I’ve never felt like that. I definitely recognize that these injuries can affect people in different ways, and it’s something to be taken very seriously," Carlo told reporters on a Zoom call. "But for myself, with the way that I recovered from my concussions and through the injury process, I never felt, in any way, shape, or form, that my career was going to be ending any time soon. I think, just going through all of these situations, I’ve learned more and grown a lot from it.
"From the focal point of if it was going to affect me going forward, I don’t feel that way. I’m still a young guy, I still feel very sharp in my mind. I feel great in my body. That was not a concern of mine, no."
If Carlo can stay healthy, the Bruins will be getting a bargain with this contract. Getting this deal done now also allows the team to turns its focus to other free agents, including Taylor Hall, David Krejci and Mike Reilly.
The Bruins have plenty of work remaining this offseason if they're going to be a legit Stanley Cup contender in 2022. This deal for Carlo is an excellent start, though.