Brandon Carlo is back in the friendly confines of Toyota Center, armed with three weeks of NHL experience after spending time with the Boston Bruins.
The Tri-City Americans defenseman, who arrived in the Tri-Cities on Sunday night, was right back in the rink come Monday. He will be a welcome addition to the lineup for Saturday’s home opener against the Spokane Chiefs, who beat the Americans 6-4 in their season opener last weekend.
“It was great to be in Boston and have the experiences I did,” Carlo said. “I’m happy to be back and help the team. Hopefully we can get this one off Spokane and get the fans excited for the season.”
After attending the Bruins’ rookie camp, Carlo was held over for main camp and and played three exhibition games. He scored one goal, assisted on another, and was paired with Boston’s 6-foot-9 captain, Zdeno Chara, for part of one game.
“It was really exciting to play my first game in the (TD) Garden,” Carlo said. “I scored in my second game. It was a lot of fun to put the puck in the back of the net.”
A native of Colorado Springs, Colo., the 6-5, 203-pound Carlo was selected by Boston in the second round (37th overall) of June’s NHL draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Bruins on Sept. 25.
While in Boston, Carlo aligned himself with Chara and fellow defensemen Matt Irwin, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid.
“It was really cool playing with Chara,” Carlo said. “It was nice to be able to learn from him and others. They made us (rookies) feel welcome. Seeing that guy (Chara) — he is unbelievably tall. Seeing how filled out he is (250 pounds) shows me where I need to be. It was funny to have to look up to someone else.”
While Carlo would have liked to extend his stay in Boston, the Americans are happy to have him back.
“If he was gone longer, it would have been more experience for him, a chance to get a little better before he came back,” Americans coach Mike Williamson said. “It was good news when we heard ‘Carls’ was coming back. He had a good camp. He signed a contract. He is riding a high right now, and we want him to bring that energy and excitement and experience back and help us out.”
OVERAGE CUTDOWN: The Americans pared their roster to three overage players Wednesday, when they reassigned defenseman Tyler Morrison to the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Morrison, a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, was acquired in November in a trade with the Vancouver Giants. He had three goals and five assists in 45 games last season with Tri-City.
With Morrison’s departure, the Americans’ remaining overage players are forwards Parker Bowles, Beau McCue and Brian Williams.
The Americans’ roster is at 26 players — 16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies.
THEN THERE WERE TWO: Tri-City reassigned goaltender Beck Warm, 16, to the Vancouver NW Giants of the British Columbia Hockey Major Midget League on Tuesday, leaving Nick Sanders to back up Evan Sarthou.
Last season with the Vancouver NW Giants, Warm had 11 wins and a 2.48 goals against average in 18 games.
HAVE A SEAT: Americans defenseman Dylan Coghlan received a one-game suspension from the Western Hockey League for a check-from-behind major for a hit on the Chiefs’ Dominic Zwerger and a game misconduct early in the third period last Saturday at Spokane. Zwerger played the rest of the game.
Coghlan will miss Saturday’s home opener.
HELLO, GOOD-BYE: The Americans, who obtained the rights to goaltender Jake Morrissey, 18, on Tuesday, turned around the next day and traded him to the Saskatoon Blades for a sixth-round bantam pick in 2018.
“Kelowna released him, and we picked him up,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said. “My rationale was we had two goalies injured last year, and we had a hard time getting guys in. We have Beck Warm signed, and Jake would have played Junior A in Alberta and given us depth at the position.”
But Morrissey didn’t want to play down a level after playing 11 games for the Rockets last season.
“His goal was to play in the WHL, and I told his dad if I was presented with an option to trade him, I would,” Tory said. “We made a fair trade.”