Is Trent Frederic prepared for a bigger function on the 2023-24 Bruins?


“Hopefully I can form of get extra accountability on this workforce.”

Boston Bruins' Trent Frederic skates during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Boston.
Trent Frederic scored a career-high 17 objectives final season with the Bruins. AP Picture/Winslow Townson,

There’s a cause why gamers like Trent Frederic are valued in at the moment’s NHL.

Whereas hockey now emphasizes pace and ability, Frederic’s recreation harkens again to the snarl that was as soon as commonplace.

The pugnacious ahead has the prickly disposition (and proper hook) wanted to dole out punishment on the ice. However the 25-year-old shouldn’t be lower from the identical material because the fourth-line goons or pure scrappers of yesteryear.

Frederic’s development as a two-way contributor throughout the 2022-23 season performed a key function in Boston’s depth-scoring deluge. Alongside along with his bodily play, he added a career-high 17 objectives and 31 factors.

His even-strength defensive metrics at 5v5 play ranked within the 94th percentile throughout the NHL (per JFreshHockey), with Boston outscoring opponents, 47-23, throughout Frederic’s 884:43 of 5v5 ice time.

As soon as considered as a promising fourth-line grinder looking for some semblance of an id on Boston’s depth chart, Frederic thrived in Jim Montgomery’s system final spring as a third-line stalwart.

Now, the Bruins are hoping that the St. Louis native has yet one more main leap ahead in retailer for 2023-24.

“I imply, you may’t actually exchange these guys,” Frederic stated through Zoom when requested of the departures of key cogs like Patrice Bergeron. “They’re nice people and clearly they’re nice hockey gamers. However hopefully, I can form of get extra accountability on this workforce. And, you recognize, it’s gonna be onerous to interchange them, however do the most effective that I can.”

The Bruins are in determined want of extra accountable contributors up entrance, given the vacancies sprinkled throughout Boston’s first three strains. Final 12 months’s third-line grouping of Charlie Coyle, Taylor Corridor, and Frederic was a luxurious on a deep roster.

However with Coyle seemingly slotted right into a top-six function following Bergeron’s retirement, it stays to be seen the place precisely Frederic slots in.

Regardless that Frederic has primarily lower his tooth on the NHL stage whereas enjoying on the wing, he’s a pure middle by commerce. And with Coyle seemingly bumped up, Frederic could possibly be handed the keys to the 3C place.

“I suppose every part will form of play out at camp,” Frederic stated of his anticipated place. “I don’t thoughts enjoying middle or wing. I feel final 12 months, I performed just about all three — left wing, middle and proper. So I’m snug enjoying all three now. I truly actually preferred proper wing final 12 months. Type of my first time doing that and I actually preferred it. So simply form of wherever I discover a match, attempt to do it greatest there.”

Regardless that Frederic’s versatility down the center is welcomed on a reshuffled Bruins lineup, conserving him at proper wing is perhaps the easiest way to maximise his potential transferring ahead.

In any case, the Bruins do have one other potential third-line middle in place in Morgan Geekie, who additionally could possibly be in line for a breakout season with added reps. And though Frederic is a pure middle, his struggles with faceoffs (43.9% success charge) over his NHL profession do elevate some concern. 

At proper wing, Frederic appeared like a pure match. Be it successful puck battles alongside the boards, clearing area on the netfront, or inflicting havoc on the forecheck, Frederic usually did the little issues down low that always paid dividends for his two different linemates in Corridor and Coyle.

It’s robust to argue with the outcomes.

In the course of the 649:43 of 5v5 ice time the place Coyle and Frederic skated collectively, the Bruins outscored groups, 35-18, and held a 154-116 edge in high-danger scoring possibilities.

As for the 420:24 of 5v5 reps when Coyle skated with out Frederic?

Boston solely outscored opponents, 16-14, and noticed opponents maintain a 94-75 benefit in high-danger scoring possibilities.

If Coyle is due for a top-six function, stapling Frederic to his hip is probably not an outlandish transfer, particularly if each gamers are additional lifted by the presence of an elite playmaker like Brad Marchand on their line.

The offensive firepower of a Marchand-Coyle-Frederic line might not evaluate to Boston’s earlier high line of Marchand-Bergeron-DeBrusk, however the former grouping may undertaking as a stout puck-possession unit able to negating opponents within the D-zone. 

The next domino impact of penciling Frederic in at 1RW may additionally yield constructive returns.

Pushing a possible 30-goal scorer in Jake DeBrusk again to his pure spot at left wing subsequent to Pavel Zacha and David Pastrnak will add extra scoring punch to Boston’s high scoring line, whereas additionally pushing James van Riemsdyk to the third line subsequent to Geekie.

In fact, such a configuration solely turns into a sensible state of affairs for Montgomery and the Bruins if Frederic is as much as the duty.

Recent off of signing a brand new two-year contract ($2.3 million annual cap hit), Frederic might want to show that his 17-goal marketing campaign is an indication of issues to return, and never an unsustainable surge in his taking pictures luck (14.2% in 2022-23).

With extra minutes and tasks on the horizon, Frederic will look to carve out a task as a part of the subsequent wave of Bruins expertise within the post-Bergeron period.

“It’s gonna be onerous to interchange Bergy and the blokes which have left this summer season,” Frederic stated, including: “However we nonetheless have a extremely good group of fellows.”