From now until the beginning of training camp, Boston Hockey Now is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2022-23 Boston Bruins. Today’s player: Trent Frederic.
Social Media handles: Instagram (@tfreddy42)
What Happened Last Year: Frederic, 24, had his best NHL season to date and collected career-highs with eight goals and 18 points along with a plus-10 in 60 games. He had some epic run-ins with players like Tom Wilson, PK Subban and Alex Ovechkin, and spent the first half of last season agitating opponents and stirring things up.
It was clear Frederic had worked on his shot to make it more dangerous at the NHL level, and there were many nights when the physicality, agitating and other parts of his game seemed to be in lockstep with the bottom-6 role he’s establishing for himself .
Trent Frederic smiling and having an amazing time while fighting Tom Wilson will be ingrained in my memory forever. pic.twitter.com/YlIWr2HtUa
— Alex (@bigbadbruins73) March 6, 2021
But there were also some penalty issues along the way and some other times where it felt like the former first round pick needed a better feel for when to start trouble, when to back off when he might get his team into penalty trouble and when to pick his spots in between.
There were points later in the season when Frederic was scratched after getting into some penalty troubles in games and he only played in four of the seven first round playoff games against the Carolina Hurricanes. It was a good step forward for Frederic’s development into an NHL player, but there is still a lot of room to grow for a player that could be the heavy, physical forward presence that Boston has been missing since Milan Lucic left town.
Questions To Be Answered This Season: Frederic’s journey as a player is about continuing to see how much better he can get offensively, and how much feel he can get for the agitating, physical enforcer-style role that he’s best suited for at the NHL level. Sure, he’s never going to be another Lucic for the Boston Bruins as referenced above, but he could be much more of a factor when he comes to intimidating opponents, getting them off their games and standing up for and defending his teammates when things get a little nasty on the ice.
It’s a lot to ask a 24-year-old kid to figure out on the job at the NHL level against some of the biggest, strongest and toughest men on the ice, but he’s a former first round pick that should come with a great deal of expectation. It’s not unrealistic to expect Frederic to hit double-digit goals and somewhere in the 30–50-point range at his absolute prime level in the NHL, but that may be for a couple of seasons yet in Boston.
The biggest question that Frederic needs to answer is exactly what kind of player he’s going to be. Is he fully committed to the kind of things that will make him effective at the NHL level, or does he still harbor hopes of being a top-6 skill guy because he was a first round pick five or six years ago?
In Their Words: “What I’d like to do more is just have impactful games. There were a lot of games, even in this playoffs, where I felt like I didn’t have an impact on the game. It’s not all about scoring. Some of my best games I didn’t have a goal or an assist, but that’s what I want to do more.” –Trent Frederic, on Boston Bruins breakup day back in May.
Overall Outlook: Frederic is penciled in to be among the top-12 forward this season and brings the kind of size, strength and physicality that isn’t present enough up front, so there should be plenty of opportunities for him. He’ll need to show he can balance the discipline aspect of his role, but if he can do that and continue to ramp up his net-front presence then bigger and better things will be in store for him.
There is zero reason why Frederic shouldn’t be a staple on Boston’s third line next season, and it could be a really interesting group midseason if Frederic, Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha freeze into a big-bodied, cycling line capable of wearing down opponents , playing the puck possession game and giving Boston something they have not had enough of over the last few seasons.
Individually, Frederic has to become more of an emotional/energy player that drags the Boston Bruins into the fight and continues to lessen the burden Brad Marchand has on his shoulders of being that guy night in and night out. Certainly, it will be a big part of the expectations for Frederic to start next season when Marchand is recovering from double-hip surgery.
If Frederic can improve his offensive numbers, claim a regular top-9 role and become that physical bellwether kind of player for the Boston Bruins, he will be on the right track.