Bruins Prospect Frederic Gets Back On Track Offensively

( Above Photo Credit:  UW Athletics )

By: Mark Allred            Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Today under the national spotlight and the only NCAA Men’s Hockey Division 1 game on the schedule, the Wisconsin Badgers beat the best team in the country as they shutout the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by the score of 5-0 from the United Center, home to the National Hockey Leagues Chicago Blackhawks.

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Boston Bruins 2016 first round pick and Badgers forward Trent Frederic had an outstanding game especially on the penalty-kill scoring his second shorthanded goal of the season and fourth of his career. The 6′-3″ 215-pound St. Louis, Missouri native now has 11-8-19 numbers in 25 games this season in Big Ten action, and with eight games remaining in the 2017-18 regular season, the 19-year-old Wisconsin forward could come close to his career high of 33 points he contributed in his freshman year.

Below is today’s shorthanded as he skates in unmolested for the Badgers second goal of the game and extends his goal streak to three consecutive games.

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Frederic and his Wisconsin team get back to work next weekend with two back-to-back contests at home against Penn State. The Badgers are second to last in the Big Ten and are ranked 18th in the USCHO Division 1 Men’s Poll as of 1-15-18 which could have the team go up a couple of ranks with today’s massive win over the University of Notre Dame.

Bruins Prospect Donato Remains Red-Hot In 2017-18

( Above Photo Credit:  ECAC Hockey )

By: Mark Allred               Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Donato continues to add to his career-high point totals this season for the Harvard University team and with a three-point game last night against the St. Lawrence Saints on the road, it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down offensively. The 6′-0″ 181-pound forward is in a six-way tie ranked nationally in points with 20-10-30 numbers in 19 games played in 2017-18 and is ranked second in the country with a 1.57 points-per-game average.

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Donato, a Massachusetts native is currently in his junior year playing for the Crimson and his efforts on a Harvard team that’s ranked fourth in the ECAC Conference have not been overseen. The second round selection in the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft of the Bruins has got the attention of the United States Hockey Team that’s about to leave for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea for the games next month. With the exceptional season so far and the honor of representing his country, his fairy tale year doesn’t stop there as he’s heavily considered for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award given to the best player in Collegiate hockey.

Below in this Tweet is a way to vote as often as you’d like to see Ryan take home the ultimate NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Award.

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Last season Donato and the Crimson won the popular Beanpot Hockey Tournament defeating the Boston University Terriers and finished the year with a 28-6-2 campaign but with Ryan’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, he might have to pass on potentially raising the  Beanpot again this year. In the annual tournament that consists of teams from the Boston area, the Harvard team will matchup with Boston University on Monday, February 5th but the opening day of the Olympic games start on February 9th. Even if Ryan was to participate in the first game of the Beanpot, he most likely won’t be in the country if Harvard wins it’s first game and earns the right to represent his school when the Championship game is played a week later on February 12th. The 66th annual tournament features players from Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University with all games being played at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  For tickets and more information about the event, please click HERE to be directed to the official TD Garden website.

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So far in his NCAA career, the highly skilled and forward has appeared in 87 games for the Crimson and contributed 54-37-91 numbers in the last three seasons. With his senior year remaining after the 2017-18 season and all the great things that he’s done, it’s hard to say what he and his family are going to decide as he’ll have to make a decision over the offseason whether he’s going  turning pro or return for his final year and put his education first.

Below are highlights of last night’s 4-3 overtime victory against the St, Lawrence Saints, and Donato’s two-goal effort.

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Bruins Prospect Swayman Playing Well In Freshman Season

(  Above Photo Credit:  Matt Dewkett / Photographer )

By: Mark Allred                    Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night the University of Maine Black Bears came away with a 3-3 tie against Hockey East rival the University of New Hampshire Wildcats from Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine as the team celebrated 40 years of collegiate hockey in the state of Maine.  Boston Bruins prospect goaltender Jeremy Swayman got the start in goal last and has been one of the teams bright spots even though the Black Bears are sitting in the middle of the Hockey East Conference standings. The Bears have a 6-6-3 Conference record, 12-9-4 overall record, in 26 games in the 2017-18 NCAA season.

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The 19-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native is in his first-year of collegiate hockey and is taking positive strides in his development as a 2017 National Hockey League Entry Draft fourth round selection. One key benefit for the 6′-2″ 187-pound netminder is the oversight of former NHL goaltender and Maine alumni, Mike Dunham who was hired last summer to help with all Bruins goaltenders in the system. Dunham’s role with the organization has taken him to Atlanta (Vladar), Maine (Swayman), Oshawa, Ontario (Keyser), and Providence (McIntyre).

This season, Swayman has compiled a season record of 9-5-3 with a 2.53 goals-against-average, and .926 save percentage in 18 games played. In his last 10 games for the Black Bears, he has a record of 6-2-2 and an impressive 335 saves in that timeframe. The amount of shots the young goaltender has taken this season was one of the major factors of him being selected as a third goaltender for the 2018 World Junior Championship that was held in Buffalo, New York. Although Swayman only got a few minutes of action in the last game of the popular annual tournament, he and his United States team walked away with the Bronze medal and his experience in those games will have a positive influence moving forward in his development.

 

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Although Swayman only got a few minutes of action in the last game of the popular annual tournament, he and his United States team walked away with the Bronze medal and his experience in those games will have a positive influence moving forward in his development. One thing that’s impressed me the most is the confidence that Head Coach Dennis Gendron has in the young prodigy and the will to take a goaltender like Robert McGovern who’s currently in his junior year out of the crease to give more time to the B’s prospect as he’s clearly earned it.

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The Maine Black Bears get back to work next weekend with two road games against the University of Massachusetts starting on Friday night (1/26/18) and again on Saturday night (1/27/18) both to be played at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. With nine games remaining in the Bears regular season, it should be interesting to see how they play down the stretch in hopes of a Hockey East playoff spot with teams like Northeastern, Boston College, Boston University, Providence College, and UMass-Lowell ahead of them in the conference.

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Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 45

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Photo Credit: Charles Krupa (AP Photo)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

PREGAME NOTES

The Bruins are facing Montreal for the third time in 8 days after Claude Julien had some aggressive words following their loss on Wednesday. The Bruins are playing their best hockey of the season in the past month, and are looking to add to their 15 game point streak, while the Habs try to make it two straight wins after their win last night in Washington.

What I Am Looking Forward To

It’s always interesting to see how a team plays against their former coach, but I’m more interested in how Montreal tries to shut down the 63/37/88 line. They have been incredibly dominant lately, and dominant is the only word to describe them.

PERIOD ONE

The Bruins were great on the defensive pressure, forcing Montreal to recoil in their end and try to re-exit their own zone multiple times. The Bruins started to step up on the Montreal defensemen at their blueline, causing them to cough up the puck. One thing I noticed was that Carey Price was pretty aggressive when he played the puck in the first. Bergeron stopped a 2-1 on the power play on a great hustle play. Both goalies looked good in the opening period.

Scoring

BOS – N/A

MTL – N/A

PERIOD TWO

Boston seemed to be more on their heels at the start of this period. This resulted in a Max Pacioretty goal mid-way through the period after a costly McAvoy turnover. But the Bruins answered back by popping a quick one a couple minutes later off of a Pastrnak shot from the corner that banked off of Price’s skate and in. Then Boston started to get some momentum and ended up getting another one from Krug on a great shot that phased Price. The Bruins looked solid on both the power play and the penalty kill

Scoring

BOS – Pastrnak (Krug, Bergeron), Krug (Pastrnak, Marchand)

MTL – Pacioretty (Byron)

PERIOD THREE

Montreal had struggles trying to fend off the aggressive forecheck of the Bruins but the Canadiens were still able to get some quality shots on Rask. After the Petry penalty, it had seemed as though Bergeron had scored to make it 3-1, but as it turned out, the play was called offside after Boston’s old bench boss Claude Julien challenged the play. After some back and forth where it looked like the Canadiens were taking the momentum, Boston came back and scored off of a Krug shot rebound from Pastrnak, his second of the night. Julien was forced to pull his goalie with less than two minutes left in the game to attempt to tie it, but this just ended up giving Riley Nash his 6th goal of the season, giving the Bruins a 4-1 victory over their bitter rivals.

Scoring

BOS – Pastrnak (Krug), Nash (Backes, Marchand)

MTL – N/A

POSTGAME

The Bruins are currently playing up to their potential. They have a great roster and an even better gameplan. They have figured out what works and will try to continue to take opportunities when given to them.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: David Pastrnak – It was a great game for Pastrnak offensively. He had two goals and an assist. Neither one of his goals were pretty as they usually are, but they all count the same on the score sheet. He contributed to defense as well, something that he’s been doing more since joining Marchand and Bergeron’s line.

2nd: Patrice Bergeron – Bergeron has been great all season, but even better during this streak. He has really been doing well, being so effective on both offense and defense.

3rd: Torey Krug – Krug had a great night offensively, making good, solid passes and taking high-percentage shots, as well as playing a big portion of the power play. He did have one big turnover that I can remember, but he had way more good plays than bad plays tonight.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): Tuukka Rask – Tuukka has been one of the biggest factors in this hot streak that the Bruins have been on. And tonight wasn’t any different. Even though he only needed to face 25 total shots, he needed to stop them all late when the Habs tried to make a comeback. Solid game for him.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game

NEXT GAME

Tuesday, January 23rd in Boston vs New Jersey

 

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Bruins Prospect Gabrielle Adjusting Nicely In WHL Return

( Above Photo Credit:  Photographer Keith Hershmiller )

By: Mark Allred                 Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins prospect Jesse Gabrielle entered his first year of professional hockey in October of 2017 with the B’s top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins, but after a four-point effort in 21 games in Rhode Island, the B’s organization felt his development would benefit him greatly with a return to the Western Hockey League. His career in one of the top major-junior leagues in Canada has been impressive so far for the 20-year-old forward as he’s contributed 214 points in 254 games.

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Gabrielle, a Moosomin, Saskatchewan native was drafted in the fourth round of the National Hockey Leagues Entry Draft in 2015 and Bruins scouts saw something in him for a mid-round selection as a player with grit, speed, and uncanny offensive attributes. That is still true today as he continues to develop and his demotion should not be a question of character or draft bust. Moves like these from NHL clubs happen quite often for those who follow players in the prospect rankings on a regular basis, and most turn out successful as an act of continued learning. His offensive talents can’t be denied as he posted 130 goals as a bantam in 117 games as a 13-year-old to move up to be a fifth-round selection of the Brandon Wheat Kings to start a four-year career in the WHL to score 113 goals.

The Hockey Writers Bruins contributor Brandon Share-Cohen wrote a solid piece about Jesse back in September of 2017, mentioning that the rugged winger could be in the mix of cracking the NHL B’s roster as his “dark horse” pick. Although Brandon’s thoughts didn’t come to fruition, that doesn’t mean he won’t be in the mix next season during the 2018 Development Camp, Rookie Camp, or NHL training camp from the Warrior Ice Arena during the Bruins events in the summer offseason. Even if he doesn’t make the NHL roster next season, he’ll still be a valuable asset to the Bruins depth with two remaining years left on his Entry-Level contract that he signed in December of 2016.

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This year, the City of Regina, Saskatchewan was selected to host the 100th Anniversary of the Memorial Cup which today is sponsored by Mastercard. This is a great opportunity for Gabrielle to not only be an agitator and offensive threat but his experience and WHL veteran leadership will be heavily relied on regardless of what line he plays on. With the City of Regina hosting the popular four-team round-robin tournament from May 17th – 27th 2018, a return to the Providence Bruins isn’t out of the realm if the B’s make a deep Calder Cup Playoff run.

So far this season the Regina Pats are sitting in the first position in the Eastern Conference Wild Card standings with a 24-19-4-0 record (52 Points) in 47 games played and are on a four-game winning streak since the Gabrielle was returned to the area he grew up around. From the video provided above from the Pats official Twitter account, he looks happy to be bad and has a positive attitude regardless of the current situation. One of his key attributes is his eagerness to help any team no matter what level as in the short time with the Pats so far in his return with 3-2-5 numbers in those four games.

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Danton Heinen: A Quiet Star for the Boston Bruins

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(Above Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Lauren Campbell                 Follow Me On Twitter @lalalalaurrrren

If you have been following the Bruins for the last month-and-a-half, then I don’t need to tell you they’re playing outstanding hockey. Things seem to be clicking on all cylinders for the B’s – from the offense to the defense to the goaltending and it’s clear this team is undeniably fun to watch.

With all the talent Boston has, there is one specific player who I feel has been overlooked. With a team with talents such as Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy is a talented young player named Danton Heinen.

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He was drafted by the Bruins after he played just two years at the University of Denver where he collected 93 points in 81 games with the Pioneers. The B’s saw something special in Heinen, and even though it looked as if he was not ready for the NHL level last year, he has proven to be a solid draft pick.

Through the 39 games he has played, Heinen has 10 goals and 21 helpers – good for 31 points. On Jan. 3, the winger had notched 21 points through 22 games, with a plus/minus of 10 and had a two-point game against the New York Islanders where the B’s won 5-1.

Those 31 points put the 22-year-old in fourth for rookie scoring, and the three players above him have played between four and seven more games than him. Heinen is making an impact on the B’s and has been without a doubt exceeding expectations on the ice.

Essentially, Heinen came out of nowhere and has been producing numbers to help the Bruins be in the position they are. They’re second in the Atlantic Division, and without the help of his 31 points, the B’s may not be anywhere close to second.

However, it’s not surprising you don’t hear a lot of talk about the young stud – this team is loaded with talent and has been winning big games, including two wins against their rival Montreal Canadiens.

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Tuukka Rask has been absolutely dominant between the pipes since December, Marchand was named to the All-Star team, Pastrnak has 18 goals, and McAvoy is dropping gloves and scoring goals. It’s easy to see why Heinen gets lost in conversation.

What makes his rookie season even more impressive is that Heinen played just eight games last year and didn’t record a single point. He was incredibly underwhelming, and after some work in the offseason, he has become someone the B’s can rely on while he’s on the ice.

Heinen has become a key contributor to this team whether he is talked about or not – which I think makes him all the more special. He’s apparently not letting the success he’s had this season get to his head – he’s just quietly climbing to the top of the rookie scorers list.

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Sixty Years Later, The Legend Of Willie O’ Ree And The Boston Bruins Still Endures.

 

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Boston Bruins legend Willie O’Ree watches the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Bruins in Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final at the TD Garden on June 17, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts.
(June 16, 2013 – Source: Gail Oskin/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                   Twitter: @godwentwhoops

 

Today is the 60th anniversary of Willie O’ Ree playing in the NHL. He was the first African-American player to suit up in the league, and he did it while wearing the Black and Gold of the Boston Bruins.  O’ Ree ended up playing against the Montreal Canadiens that night (another page in the glorious history of the rivalry between those two teams).

Willie O’ Ree set a standard for the NHL. He integrated into the league in a time where integration wasn’t considered to be a good idea. He gave everything he had. Every night. (Looking at other people who were blessed enough to have the privilege to wear the Black and Gold, that should be enough). O’Ree ended up playing only 45 games in the NHL, but all of them were for the Boston Bruins.

O’Ree’s career is extensive. During his 28 season career (1950-1979), O’ Ree played in ten different leagues. He played at the NHL level despite being nearly blind in his right eye (a fact he kept hidden in order to play in Boston).

O’ Ree still checks in on the Bruins from time to time, when he isn’t helping grow the sport of hockey around the world.

For the last 20 years O’ Ree has been the diversity ambassador to the NHL. He tirelessly strives for the day where any kid can learn the game of hockey.

The Boston sports fan community hasn’t always been painted in the best light over the years. There have been a tiny minority of fans who have said and done stupid things in the name of the fandom (and bigotry). While some people still believe that Boston should still be painted with a racist brush, O’Ree disagrees.

He even regards Boston as his second home.

“You’re going to have racism, prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance all over. I had it when I played. The one thing I did was I just ignored it. I just told myself ‘I’m a black player playing hockey. If people can’t accept me for the individual that I am — because I had the skills and the ability to play hockey at that time — then that’s their problem, not mine,’ ” said O’Ree about his confronting bigotry while playing pro hockey.

Willie O’ Ree was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2008.

A case should be made about inducting him in the NHL Hall of Fame. Granted 45 games isn’t enough to be considered to make that much of an impact as a player. But there is a category that fits O’Ree to a tee.

O’Ree should be inducted into the Hall of Fame under the ‘builder’ category. As diversity ambassador, he has brought hockey to all parts of the world. He has spent the last two decades expanding the fan base. (Besides, if Jeremy Jacobs (the guy that held the reins for two lockouts and was the silent voice behind a third) can qualify as a builder, then O’Ree certain deserves the nod.)

Happy Anniversary to one of Boston’s living legends. He made the game of hockey a better place to play in.

Bruins Photographer Alan Sullivan Needs Your Help

By: Mark Allred              Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

I’ve known for some time that my friend and Bruins photographer Alan Sullivan has been struggling with diabetes and recently found out some terrible news over the holiday season and could use some help from the many folks that he’s meet in the past and touched through his work covering the Boston Bruins, Providence Bruins, and other sports-related events. I meet Alan three years ago at the annual Bruins Development Camp at Ristuccia Memorial Arena where the Bruins used to hold team camps and practices before upgrading to the new Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts.

Alan has always been a class act when I need permission to use an image for any articles and always up to meet at Bruins related events to have a friendly discussion about life and whats going on throughout the organization. He’s still going strong with the no quit attitude after his recent diagnosis and I had the pleasure to talk for awhile as he was in attendance at last night’s Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens contest at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts doing the thing he loves as the B’s beat the Habs 4-1 in front of a sold-out crowd.

I’m asking all the readers of the Black N’ Gold Hockey Blog to please take a moment and read up on the struggles my friend Alan is going through and even consider donating to his cause to not only save his foot/leg but ultimately help save his life.

Below is Alan Sullivan’s message from his GoFundMe Page. Details to donate are provided below.

For over 6 years I have been in a severe battle with Diabetes.  In this battle, there have been many fights and it has come to pass that I have lost most of those fights.

All the toes on my right foot have been amputated, through several surgeries. This is the result of Osteomyelitis (bone infections) and other diabetic related issues.

Today, I am in a new fight:  to save my foot and leg from being amputated just below the knee due to another bone infection currently in my heel.

This news came to me as I was recently hospitalized again.   I had a feeling things were not going well because of a blister from a few months ago. It began to hurt and that is not a good sign for me as I am now aware of what it feels like to get Osteomyelitis.  On December 26, a visit to the emergency room confirmed my suspicion. I was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital and treated for 5 days. Doctors confirmed that I do have Osteo again and that I am in danger of losing the foot & leg up the knee if treatment does not work yet again.

As most of you know, I have been in some form of walking boot for the last 6 years.  I am probably more recognizable with the boot on (and sometimes my scooter!)  but I still smile every day and I never let it or these battles beat me down.

However, there is another battle on this front which has finally caught up to me: medical bills.  Costs ranging from medications, treatments, doctor visits (I have been paying $60 co-pays almost weekly for over a year) and hospital stays – many of which are not fully covered my insurance – have been a major concern for me.

These new bills for this new treatment to save my foot & leg will be devastating, as I am only one man and make one salary and I am going to be out of work for up to 6 weeks along with already being out for almost 8 weeks this past summer. I simply cannot catch up with all the bills that are coming in and today I am asking for your help.

I’ll be honest, I hate to be the person that needs a Go Fund Me page. However, after much consideration, I feel as if this is my only option and I am truly humbled to be doing such a thing.

I want to be back up again and taking photos at the Bruins games   –  please help me save my foot and donate to my cause.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please consider making a donation  –  of any amount, as anything would be a tremendous help!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sincerely yours,
Alan Sullivan

Below is a link to donate and help my friend and a classy gentleman.

https://www.gofundme.com/9×824-save-the-foot

Should the Bruins keep Carlo?

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Photo Credit: Bill Wippert/Getty

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                               Twitter: @pucknerdhockey

More than the “Trade Tuukka” chants, or the “Deal Krug” narrative, I have been most perplexed and frustrated by the trend of Bruins fans to constantly bring down Brandon Carlo. Carlo is a bonafide Top 4 defenseman in this league, does plenty well, and as soon as he makes a 21-year-old mistake (oh yeah, buried the lede here – HE’S STILL ONLY 21), people jump on the bandwagon and scream from atop the highrises in Boston to get rid of him as fast as possible. To me, this is twofold. For one, Boston fans are consistently impatient. They don’t like waiting too long for players to develop and are quick to bash youngsters for their flaws. This is likely due to how spoiled they have been as a fanbase. When you are exposed to Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Zdeno Chara, and now the emerging Charlie McAvoy, fair weather fans have a tendency to assume that every young defenseman should be this way, or they are automatically a bust.

No, they are not.

The irony is until McAvoy came along, Carlo was the beloved d-prospect who fans didn’t want to be dealt for anyone short of Connor McDavid, and three first-round picks (still may want to check on that, Pete Chiarelli’s starting to get desperate). As soon as McAvoy broke onto the scene, well, Carlo just wasn’t Chuckie. Newsflash: they have completely different skillsets, and that’s OK.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Arizona Coyotes

Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian

The second reason I think is that Carlo stands at 6’5″, 203 lbs, and doesn’t pile up highlight-reel, bone-crushing hits. I like to call this “Dougie Hamilton Syndrome,” only, Carlo hasn’t put up the pure offensive numbers that let some fans stomach Hamilton’s perceived lack of physicality. This is a fundamental flaw in how people perceive defense should be played. You do not have to hit people to be a good defenseman. You do not have to hit people because you are big. Carlo’s game is much, much more than that. But, you try explaining that to the fanbase of the Big Bad Bruins. They always have time (and wayyyyy too much money) for the grizzled veteran who will knock an opponent’s face in (I see you, Adam McQuaid).

By this time, you know my schtick – present an argument I find ridiculous and provide plenty of graphical information to support my hypothesis. In short, nerd stuff. Might I say, PUCKNerd Stuff? Yeah, I know, humor’s not really my forte. Anyhoo…

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Photo Credit: John Tlumacki

I looked at the last two years of Boston defensemen since Carlo broke into the league and only looked at players who suited up for a minimum of 500 minutes in the black and gold. This limits the dataset to guys who are heavily relied upon and likely played Top 4 minutes for a long stretch in that timeframe. There are only 7 players who qualify: Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Charlie McAvoy (yeah, ALREADY), Kevan Miller, Colin Miller, Torey Krug, and, yes, Brandon Carlo. Below is a distribution of their zone starts.

Bruins Defensemen Zone Start Distribution

Red represents the percentage of shifts started in the offensive zone, orange in the neutral zone, and blue in the defensive zone. You may be interested to note that Carlo has the second lowest percentage of his shifts start in the offensive zone, and the second highest percentage of his shifts start in the defensive zone. The only player getting a higher chunk of his shifts starting in his own zone is Zdeno Chara. Mind you, Carlo broke into the league as a 19-year-old. This says that not only do the Bruins trust him in his own zone, they rely heavily on him to get the job done.

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Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

Well, that’s great. But a zone starts distribution that favors defensive zone starts does not necessarily equate to a GOOD defensive player. So, let’s look at Corsi For and Against per Hour. This normalizes Corsi rates for ice time, though the size of the data points equates to the percentage of total time on ice of the team’s time on the ice each player was deployed for.

Bruins Defensemen Corsi ForAgainst per Hour

Only Chara and McAvoy see a more significant percentage of the team’s ice time than Carlo, and he is their best Corsi Against player by a decent amount. Not only that, but he is also a net positive in Corsi, as he falls favorably within the “good” quadrant. What does this indicate? When he is on the ice, the Bruins are producing more shot attempts than the other team, which is indicative of better puck possession. This made me a bit skeptical, as our good friend Adam McQuaid ALSO shows up in that quadrant. So, what if we look at the TYPE of minutes Carlo has been asked to play?

Bruins Defensemen Minutes Difficulty versus Shot Suppression per Hour

Looking at the Time on Ice percentage adjusted for quality of competition, and comparing that to shot suppression, or Corsi Against per Hour, also adjusted for quality of competition, you start seeing a better picture. Pay close attention to the axes. The Corsi axis (the x-axis on your standard graph) is between 55% and 58% Corsi – an average possession player will fall around 50%. Based on this, Carlo appears to have played the 3rd most against the hardest competition. This makes sense, as it is supported by the previous chart. He is still good at suppressing the opposition, as his Corsi Against per Hour is third lowest of this group – meaning he actually has the third lowest number of shot attempts allowed while is on the ice of this group. Curiously, Colin Miller and Adam McQuaid are the only ones who are better at shot suppression but play significantly easier minutes and a much lower number of minutes. Also, Charlie McAvoy is the definition of fun, but he is playing easily the most difficult opposition of this group as a 21-year-old rookie. That’s objectively ridiculous. Please give him the Calder NOW.

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Photo Credit: Winslow Townsend/AP Photo

At this point, some of you might be saying, “Carlo is obviously a product of who he plays with.” AHA. I have out-thought you because I already have that information for you. Carlo Partners Number of Games with Each Partner

Since making his NHL debut, Brandon Carlo has played significant minutes (more than a couple of games) with only four players: Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, John-Michael Liles, and Kevan Miller, with the majority of his time being spent with (by far) Chara and Krug.

Carlo Partners Zone Start Ratio

The 50% line on this chart represents an even distribution of zone starts. Those falling below the line favor defensive zone starts, those high favor offensive zone starts. As one would expect, Carlo has seen a lot more aggressive zone starts when paired with Torey Krug. With the other three, he was hemmed in his own end quite a bit.

Carlo Partners Corsi For versus Against per Hour

Let’s check out that Corsi For versus Against per Hour graph again, but this time, look at how each pairing performed. The Liles/Carlo pairing was objectively bad, but the other 3 have been reasonably good. Krug/Carlo is far and away the best pairing of this group, and they’ve played enough of a sample size of games together to indicate that this is real. In fact, looking at the PDO values for each pairing, each of which suggests how repeatable their performance is (PDO = save percentage + shooting percentage; expect most PDO values to trend towards 100.0), you see that the three best pairings actually seem to be about where they should be. The Liles pairing, let’s chalk that up to limited sample size.

Carlo Partners PDO

Now, I checked out how efficient each pairing was regarding offensive production. I compared expected goals differential to their produced goals differential to do so. Trending towards the top right of the graph is good, towards the bottom left is kind of bad, and any other direction indicates that they are not performing as expected.

Carlo Partners Expected versus True Goals Differential

The Chara/Carlo pairing is clearly the best, buoyed in large part to a high expected goal differential. The Krug/Carlo pairing is actually underperforming, while the other two pairings, well, they weren’t tremendously good.

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash

Great. So, Carlo is a good defenseman – when compared to his own teammates. Despite Boston’s reputation as one of the more defensively stout teams in the league, that doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. So, let’s look at Carlo in comparison to all NHL defensemen who have played over 1000 minutes since his NHL debut.

Defensemen Minutes Difficulty versus Shot Suppression per Hour

Looking at a comparison of the difficulty of minutes and shot suppression ability per hour, as we did for the partners Carlo has played with, Carlo matches up quite favorably to some of the NHL’s elite. I have pointed out Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns, the two most recent Norris Trophy winners, as well as Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who plays the most difficult minutes of any defenseman in the league by far, Yannick Weber, who has played the easiest minutes of this group by a large margin, as well as Fedor Tyutin, who has gotten his teeth caved in the most of anyone in this dataset. Carlo is firmly in the top 1/4th of the group, indicating that he is, at worst, a #3 defenseman in this league.

Defensemen Corsi For versus Against per Hour

Now, Corsi For and Against per Hour. How does he stack up? Well, Burns is ridiculous, Torey Krug is (unsurprisingly) a Top 5 offensive defenseman in the league, Morgan Rielly is quite good, and Carlo is well into the “good” quadrant. I think I will take him on my defense corps.

Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Conor Sheary (43) and Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25).

Photo Credit: Brian Fluharty

What does all of this do to the trade Carlo argument? Well, Brandon Carlo is demonstrably a good defensive defenseman in the NHL at the ripe old age of 21. He’s a right-handed defenseman who is 6’5″ and skates incredibly well. He defends quite well in his own end and plays a very cerebral game on the back end. If you trade Carlo, you immediately will be looking for another Brandon Carlo. The good news is, he won’t need to play top pairing minutes in Boston, which allows him to dominate in a slightly lesser role, what with Charlie McAvoy looking very much like perennial Norris Candidate in his own right. So, please. Just because he makes some weird mistakes, let him figure it out and back off. The end result is going to be one you want to stick around for.

All data mined through the databases on Corsica.hockey. Collected as of January 17th, 2018. All graphs are courtesy of PuckNerd and are not to be used without the express written consent of myself. Thank you.

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