By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
With just over a month before the start of the NHL regular season, the Bruins’ roster seems to be coming into form with Boston signing Pavel Zacha, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci. The Bruins will be without some essential pieces to start the regular season with Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk recovering from offseason surgeries. If Boston hopes to participate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they will need contributions throughout the lineup.
In their absence, the Bruins will need to have players in their forward group step up, especially without last year’s leading scorer and arguably their most valuable player, Brad Marchand. A player such as Trent Frederic could become an essential piece to the team if he shows growth in his game from previous years.
When the Bruins drafted Frederic in the first round (pick #30) of the 2016 draft, it took many by surprise. Most NHL scouts and analysts projected the former University of Wisconsin center and St. Louis native to be drafted in the second or third round of the draft. Yet, Don Sweeney saw something in Frederic that other general managers didn’t.
Last season, Frederic spent most of the year on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith. The combination showed some encouraging chemistry and was on a hot streak as the Bruins were headed into the 2021 playoffs. The threesome shared 328:22 in ice-time last year and outscored their opponents 17-8 in their time as a line. Unfortunately, the line was disbanded as they struggled to create offense and had costly turnovers early in the first round against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Next season, Bruins fans should expect Frederic to be impactful in Boston’s bottom-six forwards. During a press conference earlier this summer, the Bruins’ newly hired head coach Jim Montgomery shared his thoughts on Frederic and felt that the forward is ready to form into an NHL regular. “I see players like Trent Frederic becoming an every-night impactful player, understanding his role. There’s eagerness in their voices to become more.” Montgomery said.
In 60 games last year, Frederic tallied eight goals and ten assists and was a plus-10. While his point totals weren’t out of this world, Frederic wasn’t drafted to become a prolific scorer. He’s a power forward that continually crashes the opposition’s net and creates havoc for defenders due to his tenacious forecheck and heavy hits. While doing this, Frederic has become one of Boston’s agitators that tends to stir the pot.
Frederic took plenty of public criticism from Bruins’ former head coach Bruce Cassidy, hockey media, and fans as he took what many called “careless penalties” last season. Cassidy often kept Frederic on a tight leash and benched him when he made poor decisions with the puck and had mental errors away from the play. As a young player in the league, Frederic still has many aspects to learn about being a professional in the world’s greatest hockey league. One of those aspects is being able to control your emotions when the intensity rises, and the pressure is on you.
With Jim Montgomery behind the Bruins’ bench, perhaps Frederic can reach new heights and earn the coaching staff’s trust. Montgomery is known to be a player’s coach, or in other words, a coach that works well with players of all ages in the NHL. Under the proper teaching and ice-time, Frederic can earn a role on this team and mold himself into the player he has the potential to become.
Montgomery will reunite the Frederic, Coyle, and Smith line to start next year with Brad Marchand out of the lineup. When Marchand eventually returns, Frederic will be bumped to the fourth line and earn the role as the line’s leftwing and, at times, play center. I’d expect his point totals to be between 25-30, assuming he plays a full 82 games on a bottom-six role, but only time will tell.