WILMINGTON – At the end of last season, Brandon Carlo got a taste of what it’s like to be a professional hockey player.
The defenseman suited up for seven games – plus one playoff game – with the Providence Bruins, tallying one assist and a plus-3 rating.
Carlo, a 2015 second-round pick, hopes that experience – albeit abbreviated – helps him this season during his first full pro campaign.
“It was great,” Carlo said at this week’s Development Camp. “Coming in and using my speed against those bigger guys was a lot more fun. I felt like I handled myself pretty well against a lot more heavy men. I had a lot of fun experiencing that and I feel like I did pretty well.”
Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was in charge of player development last season, noticed how at ease Carlo looked during his short time with the P-Bruins.
“[Young guys] don’t really know what to expect the first time being a pro,” said Pandolfo. “I think it gives these guys an advantage going into training camp. Carlo looked real comfortable on the ice.
“I don’t think he’s ever going to be a high offensive guy, but he’ll be a good shutdown guy that sees the ice well enough and can make some plays.”
Carlo is hoping to add to the offensive side of his game, particularly his outlet passing.
“That’s obviously the best option from what I’ve seen in the AHL as well,” Carlo said of hitting his first option on the breakout. “A lot of time and space closes pretty fast so that’s definitely what I’ve been working on.”
The 19-year-old is not sure how long it will take him to get to the NHL, but he is going to do everything he can to make sure that debut is not far off.
“I feel like just trying to come in and show what I have and hopefully that opportunity arises,” said Carlo. “I don’t think that’s something you can really fathom until you are in that situation. Definitely that’s my dream and that’s what I want to work towards.”
A Chance to Give Back
After finishing up with their on-ice sessions on Wednesday afternoon, the Bruins prospects split up to attend three different community events.
The events included trips to Robin Hood Elementary School in Stoneham for a street hockey clinic, Lucius Beebe Memorial Library in Wakefield for a summer reading event, and the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club to participate in their field day.
For defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, a native of Charlestown, the experience was particularly special. He was able to return to the Boys & Girls Club that he grew up attending and meet with his niece and nephews, who were taking part in a summer camp.
“It’s a pretty unique experience,” said Grzelcyk. “It’s nice to have them here and see the familiar faces. Just excited they’re here having fun at the camp.
“Going through the same camp that these kids went through, it’s obviously nice to be back in the area, especially growing up in Boston. It’s just fun to see the smiles on their faces.”
Morrow, Miller Re-Signed
They are not participating in Development Camp, but defensemen Joe Morrow and Colin Miller were signed by the Bruins on Thursday morning. Miller was inked to a two-year deal worth an annual average salary of $1 million, while Morrow received a one-year contract worth $800,000.
“Both those players were key contributors to us last season,” Bruins executive director of player personnel John Ferguson said during his Development Camp media availability.
“We think there’s real good upside for both players. They’re going to have a chance to earn more ice time than they were shown last year. It will be available to them and we certainly are real happy to get them both done.”
Patience Is A Virtue
Ferguson acknowledged the importance of being patient with prospects and not rushing them from the AHL to the NHL, which could hinder their development.
“It’s proven more often than not, I’ve seen a lot of players spend too little time in the American Hockey League, but I haven’t seen too many that spend too much time developing,” said Ferguson.
The 2016 Boston Bruins Development Camp is presented by AT&T.