Bruins Need Frederic to Make a Leap in 2022-23 Season

The Boston Bruins need Trent Frederic to take a big leap next season, otherwise, the two parties may be running out of time together.

Trent Frederic Boston Bruins
Trent Frederic could be entering his last chance with the Boston Bruins as his development hasn’t gone exactly as the team would have hoped at this point in his career. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

When the team selected Frederic 29th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, many eyebrows were raised and questions were asked; Frederic was not widely expected to be a first-round pick and his long-term projections were foggy at best. Despite this, the St. Louis native was able to turn some heads during his time at the University of Wisconsin and slowly change the narrative surrounding his future.

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Fast forward to the 2022-23 offseason and a few seasons of NHL player under his belt and Frederic, though somewhat regularly finding his way into the NHL lineup over the past two seasons, has yet to fully cement himself as a reliable player from a game-to-game perspective. Frederic has improved his shot at the NHL level and he certainly brings a level of snarl and physicality to the team that the Bruins seem to be interested in. His intensity is noticeable and the energy he brings to the table is invaluable, to say the least. It’s hard to ignore the positives that have come about with Frederic’s game as he’s continued to develop, but it’s also impossible to ignore the negatives that have come with it as well.

Frederic isn’t a bad player, but his performance teeters on the line of fearless and reckless, which makes him a prime trade candidate should he fail to play smarter under new head coach Jim Montgomery. Realistically, this isn’t the direction the Bruins would like to go, as Frederic has certainly shown flashes in his brief NHL career. Still, at 24 years old, the clock is ticking on Frederic’s future in Boston if things don’t improve.

It isn’t necessarily the lack of production that’s escalating the situation, but rather the aforementioned reckless tendencies that often result in misguided and ill-times penalties. Though a player like Brad Marchand has also been known to go off the handle and make blatantly stupid and sometimes even dangerous plays, at least Marchand is also contributing as one of the best left-wingers on the planet. Frederic, on the other hand, has yet to earn a longer leash.

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Rather than being labeled as a trade target, though, the hope is that Frederic can instead be viewed as an x-factor heading into next season thanks largely to the energy he brings to the table.

Frederic Could Buy Himself More Time With Bruins

Frederic will need to make a conscious effort to play a smarter brand of hockey next season while also looking to improve his offensive production. This isn’t out of the question, either, as during the 6-foot-3, 210-pound player’s time next to Charlie Coyle on the Bruins’ third line, Frederic has actually shown some chemistry and production in the past. Unfortunately, the Bruins don’t seem to be keen on waiting around to see if this productive brand of hockey was more than a flash-in-the-pan, hence their trade to acquire forward Pavel Zacha.

The newly-acquired Bruins’ forward may have played center primarily throughout his career, but he projects to slot in at left wing for the Bruins, at least in the short-term with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in tow – because of this, Frederic will likely factor in as a fourth line player next season once the team is at full health.

This doesn’t mean the team has fully given up on Frederic’s development, but it does mean that they’re looking to hedge their bets and opt for more certainty out the gate. This will need to light a fire under Frederic moving forward.

Trent Frederic, Boston Bruins
Trent Frederic will get a chance to perform with the Boston Bruins’ new head coach, Jim Montgomery next season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Frederic’s future of being destined to play on the fourth line next season could change, of course, if he can perform well in the early goings of the season. At that point in time, the Bruins will aim to remain competitive despite a bevy of injuries, including one to the team’s first-line left winger in Marchand, hampering what projects to be the first few months of the season. With an opportunity to play in the top nine to start the season in front of him, as well as to perform under a new head coach in an entirely new system, Frederic will need to do everything he can to show he’s worth keeping around.

The Bruins are likely heading into relatively unfamiliar territory after this season with Bergeron and Krejci’s future completely up in the air beyond this year. Because of this, the Bruins could opt to give Frederic a longer look than just this season with very little to lose and potentially a lot to gain as a result. Still, it’s unclear if the team will just look to unload Frederic for some sort of value in return, rather than just letting him continue to wade water in Boston without a clear roadmap for his development. Of course, this is largely dependent on his ability to err on the side of caution and separate himself from his reputation as a player prone to taking bad penalties. A lack of production can be worked around, but bad penalties are game-changers, and not in a positive way.

Only time will tell how the long-term future between the Bruins and Frederic looks, but his performance in training camp and to start the 2022-23 season should be watched carefully as he looks to enter a pivotal season in his development.