Here is what you need to know about towering American defenceman Brandon Carlo.
Age on June 26: 18
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Current team: Tri-City Americans, WHL
Weight: 196 pounds
NHL Central Scouting rank (North American): 25th
Marek’s Take: Skates really well for a player of his size. Big and strong, most scouts would like to see him add a dimension of offence to his game. Comparable: Tyler Myers
You can’t miss him
Brandon Carlo stands out among the top defencemen in this year’s draft for several reasons.
The most noticeable is his size. At 6-foot-5 and a lean 196 pounds, Carlo is a big presence on the ice. He’s a punishing player along the boards and in front of his own net, and his long reach makes him difficult to get around on the rush.
He can also skate. Unlike many young defencemen of his stature, Carlo can get around the ice with ease.
“He’s a really good skater and has great mobility for a player his size,” Central Scouting’s John Williams told NHL.com. “The reach and range are there. He handles the puck well and is one of the best guys I’ve seen this year at being able to pass off the boards to a teammate.”
And as a bonus he’s a right-handed shot. Of the nine defencemen ranked in the top 30, only three are right-handed. As of this season there were only nine right-handed defencemen 6-foot-5 or taller in the NHL, and only a few of them can skate as well as Carlo.
Although Carlo is considered a defensive defenceman — not the most exciting label for a first-round pick — his combination of skating, size and physicality will make him a sought-after commodity on draft day.
Untapped offensive potential?
Carlo finished this season with four goals and 25 points in 63 games on a Tri-City team that ranked second-last in the WHL in goals for. His 25 points were 12 more than he compiled in his rookie season in eight fewer games.
He also has shown an offensive touch at lower levels. In his final season before making the jump to the WHL, Carlo had 47 points in 41 games with Colorado in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.
It’s important to note that Carlo isn’t an offensive player and shouldn’t be expected to be a point producer at the next level, but his numbers aren’t all that bad for a player considered a defensive defenceman.
Just as an example, Tyler Myers — also a lanky, smooth-skating defenceman — only had 19 points in his draft year with Kelowna. He increased that total to 42 the following year and has since become a decent point producer at the NHL level.
With good mobility and a heavy shot from the point, it’s not unfathomable that Carlo could reach another level offensively.
Born in Colorado Spring, Colo., — the home of USA Hockey — Carlo will look to join the small fraternity of NHL players who hail from the Centennial State.
Currently that list includes Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, brothers Nick and Drew Shore and Coyotes tough guy B.J. Crombeen.
Carlo is a Coloradan through and through. His NHL idol is former Avalanche defenceman Rob Blake, his favourite players today are Avs Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson, and his favourite non-hockey athlete is Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
His favourite show is Nashville
That’s, well, just unexpected. Given his other rooting interests you would have thought he’d say South Park.