As the 2015 World Junior Championships get underway, Team USA is looking to rebound from a disappointing fifth place finish in 2014. The U.S. has some of the most galvanizing names in the tournament as 2015 NHL draft eligible stars Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin headline a young, but exciting American squad. One name that has flown under the radar is Colorado native defenseman Brandon Carlo of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.
Like the aforementioned Eichel and Hanifin, Carlo is a 2015 draft eligible player who will likely hear his name called in the first round. The 6-foot-5 defenseman plays a safe, effective game but has an underrated offensive game that I think is just hitting its stride. I had the chance to talk to the blue liner at Team USA’s camp in Boston and walked away more than impressed with his demeanor on and off the ice.
Carlo talked openly about his drastic improvements in his second season of junior hockey in Tri-City and what improvements he’s looking to make down the stretch this season. He also talked about the friendship he has with Winnipeg Jets prospect and one of Team Canada’s goalies, Eric Comrie, who happens to be his teammate in Tri-City. The friendship between the two rising stars will have to be put on hold for the tournament, especially when the U.S. and Canada go head-to-head on New Year’s Eve in what should be a critical preliminary round matchup between the two bitter rivals.
With the draft still six months away, there will be plenty of opportunities for Carlo to showcase his abilities and even further positively impact his stock. The 2015 WJC will be one of those opportunities, and Team USA will surely enjoy the benefits of his stellar play as they look to return to the medal podium. A great tournament will almost certainly lead to Carlo hearing his name early in the 2015 NHL Draft this summer, which is sure to be just the start of a long and illustrious career for the defenseman.
My interview with Carlo can be seen here: