By Carrie Young | Follow Me On Twitter @carrieyoung512
“A real solid two-way center with size” are the words that John Ferguson Jr., executive director of player personnel for the Boston Bruins, used to describe Trent Frederic after he was drafted in 2016. The Bruins had just missed the playoffs for the second year in a row and were looking for players who could make an impact at the NHL level in the near future. They certainly found that in Charlie McAvoy, who was chosen with the first of the Bruins’ two first-round picks that year.
Fifteen picks later, at twenty-ninth overall, fellow USA Hockey National Team Development Program alum Trent Frederic heard his name called and donned the spoked B for the first time. The pick used to draft Frederic was acquired a year earlier when Boston traded goalie Martin Jones to San Jose in exchange for a 2016 first-rounder and prospect Sean Kuraly. Jones had just carried the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final a few weeks before the draft, so all eyes were on the Bruins to see if the trade could work out in their favor.
Though Frederic was labeled by Bruins scouts as “[not] a top two-line guy,” the first-round label placed high expectations on the young prospect’s shoulders. He played for two years at the University of Wisconsin before making the jump to the AHL’s Providence Bruins. He also made the USA World Junior Championship team in 2018. At every level throughout the years, he played center. He was drafted as a center and even had an opportunity to center Boston’s third line in the 2018-19 season.
This season, though, the Bruins coaching staff decided to switch it up. When Frederic was called up to Boston due to injuries, he was put on the fourth line’s left-wing alongside Par Lindholm and Paul Carey. Though he didn’t register a point in two games, he was put back on the left-wing after he returned to Providence. The Bruins’ game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on November 22nd saw Frederic in the starting lineup on the left side of Cameron Hughes.
“It was my first time playing left-wing [in Providence], so it was my third game in a long time, but I felt really comfortable,” Frederic said after the game. “[Cameron Hughes] and [Jakub Lauko] helped me, so sometimes I was playing on the right, or sometimes I was playing middle or center down low, so it was good. I had some more chances to make plays on the left-wing tonight, more [plays] came to me. So, I don’t have much experience, but I liked it.”
The switch seems to have sparked Frederic’s offensive abilities. He scored his first goal of the year in the win against Bridgeport, then went on to score another goal two days later against the Hershey Bears. He also added two assists in that span.
Freddy is on the board! pic.twitter.com/zvzjvFRnu8— Providence Bruins (@AHLBruins) November 23, 2019
The Providence coaching staff recognized that Frederic was looking comfortable on the wing, so he has mainly been playing that role ever since. Saturday night’s game against Charlotte marks the fourth time in the past five games that Frederic has started on the left side. This doesn’t mean that the Bruins no longer see him as a candidate to fill in at center in Boston, but it does prove that he could be more versatile than previously thought. With centers Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Charlie Coyle now locked up for multiple years, Frederic might have a better opportunity to make an impact in the NHL on the wing. His two-way ability and physical presence have been proven. A little more offense will go a long way, no matter what position he plays.