( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Winslow Townson )

By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26

As we enter the holidays and the one-third mark of the National Hockey League season, the Boston Bruins remain atop the NHL standings with 47 points and a 23-4-1 record. It’s no coincidence that the Bruins also lead the NHL in goal differential, given the depth scoring and goaltending they’ve received throughout the first third of the season. One of Boston’s depth forwards who’s found his way onto the score sheet lately is Trent Frederic, who continues to impress fans and the Bruins’ organization with his play.

Frederic has had to work hard and mature over time to reach where he is now as, in previous seasons, he was found as a scratch in the press box for multiple games in a year because of reckless play. Last year, in particular, was a difficult one for Frederic because he struggled to find consistency in his game. Frederic reached a career-high eight goals and ten assists offensively last year. Still, on the other hand, he made multiple costly turnovers and careless penalties, which led to him hurting his team more often than helping them. While there were times when Frederic seemed to be comfortable playing on the third line last year with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith, he’d flip a switch and turn over a puck in the defensive zone or unnecessarily cross-checked an opposing player.

Frederic may have had difficulty finding confidence in his game because of the short leash that former Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy had on him. Cassidy was known for his lack of faith in young players, which resulted in players like Frederic feeling restricted. With Jim Montgomery now behind the Bruins bench, Frederic has seemed more confident and has started to turn into the player that the Bruins organization hoped he’d be when they drafted him at 29th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft.

“I think a lot of it is just confidence. I’m starting to just play and not think so much, not thinking about what I might do wrong. I’m just going out and playing, trying to do the best I can,” Frederic said regarding his play on the ice thus far. “I’m not trying to play not to make a mistake, essentially, and Monty’s done a good job with that. Where I’ve made bad plays, he’s done a good job of teaching it and having me realize it in a different sense. I guess a lot of credit goes to him for that.”

The 24-year-old forward has been playing on the third line in the right wing position along with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall. The three have created a new dynamic that allows the trio to play against the opposing team’s bottom lines. Frederic has upped his play with Coyle and Hall on his line, scoring three goals and three assists while also registering eleven hits over his last eight games.

Frederic has recently been showcasing his underused shot, which has drawn a lot of attention in the Bruins’ media. He’s unleashed a couple of David Pastrnak-esque one-timers in the offensive zone, which have found the back of the net. If Frederic continues to use his underrated shot, he’ll undoubtedly surpass his goal total from last year.

The Frederic of previous years showed immaturity through ill-advised penalties and turnovers. He would impulsively seek fights to gain attention from the coaching staff, but he has now started to understand that he is more than just a young tough hockey player. He’s a talented power forward that can make an impact night in and night out for this hockey team.