3 Bruins Flying Under the Radar in 2022-23

Through 24 games of the 2022-23 season, it has been all of the stars of the Boston Bruins getting all the headlines, and rightfully so. Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Brad Marchand all returned from their offseason surgeries ahead of schedule and have been better than expected. David Pastrnak leads the team in scoring, while Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have played at a high-level at for their age. Another staple early in the season has been the play of the defense and goaltending. 

Despite all of the success Boston has had, there have been some players who have been flying under the radar and in the shadow of the stars on the team this season. Just as important as the top players mean to the Bruins, these players have been making contributions and are just as important as the top players on the team. Here are two Bruins’ players flying under the radar in the first quarter of the season.

Brandon Carlo

McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Derek Forbort, and Connor Clifton are getting all the headlines, but Brandon Carlo is quietly having a lot of success for first-year coach Jim Montgomery. He missed four games with an injury this season, but when he’s in the lineup, he has been excelling in Montgomery’s new system.

Related: Bruins’ 3 Up, 3 Down: Winter Classic Jersey, Pastrnak, & More

Latest News & Highlights

His offensive stats will not reflect his play, but he has never been an offensive defenseman. Carlo has been joining the offensive rush, creating chances for his teammates by getting shots on the net and being a physical presence when he pinches in from the blue line. He has three assists, but he has landed 26 shots on the net.

As usual, he is also one of the top penalty killers for the second-ranked unit in the NHL. He anchored the defense when the Bruins were shorthanded when Forbort missed a month with a broken finger, but now that he has him back, it takes some of the load off of his shoulders. Carlo is a player that Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now mentioned that could be on the trade block at some point, but doing that now would be a mistake. He’s not getting the headlines, but he’s a big part of what the Black and Gold are doing on defense.

Trent Frederic

It is easy to say that Trent Frederic and his development have been frustrating for the Bruins and their fans. Selected 29th overall in the first round of the 2016 Entry Draft, the 24-year-old struggled at times under former coach Bruce Cassidy, but as the early part of the season has gone along, he’s getting more comfortable in Montgomery’s system.

Trent Frederic, Boston Bruins
Trent Frederic, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Last season he became a staple on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith after Cassidy’s line shuffling following Jan. 1, but towards the end of the season, he reverted back to his old ways of taking ill-advised penalties which led to him being a healthy scratch in April, which started his tailspin for the rest of the season and in the playoffs. This season has been different.

He once again finds himself on the third line and recently Taylor Hall was moved down there by Montgomery. When Hall was dropped there, he has been producing, but so hasn’t Frederic. He has four points in his last four games, including two in the Bruins’ 5-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 3. His first goal was scored late in the first period when he was parked out in front of the net and knocked home a McAvoy rebound. His second goal in the third period gave Boston a 4-1 lead when he scored his most impressive goal of the season when he one-timed a pass from Hall under the crossbar by Pavel Francouz. Following the game, Montgomery spoke about Frederic’s play this season.

“We’ve been seeing it coming for a while, from where (Frederic) started the year in training camp to where he just keeps getting better. And you’re seeing the aggressive mindset offensively now. He’s taking pucks to hard areas and when he doesn’t have a play, he’s hanging on to it. We’re starting to see that a lot in practice.”

Jim Montgomery (from ‘Cup champs no match for B’s,’ Boston Herald, Dec. 4, 2022)

The Bruins have been waiting for Frederic to come around and translate his game to the NHL. This season he has been cutting a lot of the penalties down and becoming more of a presence that is contributing on a nightly basis. Like most of his teammates, his plus/minus number is impressive with a plus-12. He has five goals and four assists and he is on pace to easily pass his career-high in goals last season with eight and assists with 10. How many people saw this coming at the beginning of the season?

Tomas Nosek

Another player that has been quietly having a good season is Tomas Nosek. In 24 games, the fourth-line forward has two goals and six points, but after having a plus/minus of minus-9 last season, he’s already a plus-6 as the fourth-line center and is averaging just under 13 minutes a night.

Tomas Nosek Boston Bruins
Tomas Nosek, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Nosek’s value this season has been at the faceoff dot and on the penalty kill. He has won 59.1% of his draws and has blocked nine shots, mostly on the penalty kill. He has been better this season on the forecheck, creating chances offensively both 5-on-5 and shorthanded. A.J. Greer and Nick Foligno have been his consistent linemates this season and the trio is bringing energy to each shift, something Nosek and Foligno were not doing last season.

Related: Bruins’ Fantastic 2022-23 Start Looks Very Different than 2021-22

Boston has been getting contributions from up and down their lineup this season and Carlo, Nosek and Frederic have been part of that in different ways. They are not going to get many headlines, but they are going out there and doing some of the little things it takes for a good team to have success. The Bruins will take what each has been supplying on a nightly basis.

Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.

The Hockey Writers HockeyPedia 800x120