Halfway through the season, and Bruins fans are excited about what they’ve seen out of Trent Frederic. It’s easy to forget, though, that just a few months ago, Frederic was a healthy scratch on opening night. Before that had an underwhelming preseason, combined with three healthy scratches last postseason, this all raised serious questions about what kind of role Frederic was going to have in what many considered to be a make-or-break season this year for the 24-year-old.
Now three months into the season, and Frederic is officially making his presence known as he’s finally found his game. The success continued last night as he, without a doubt, had the best game of his career. During the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Los Angles Kings, Frederic scored twice and dropped the gloves once, showing both sides of his game.
The tough and gritty forward has always been known for his willingness to drop the gloves. That continued last night when he dropped them in the second period with Brendan Lemieux right after the Kings tied the game at 2-2. It’s his offensive output fans have been waiting for, and he has finally found his offensive touch. Frederic’s two goals came 34 seconds apart midway through the third and helped give the Bruins a comfortable 4-2 lead.
It has been a fantastic journey for the 24-year-old winger as he comes into his own. Especially with both his goals last night, as he showcased his ability to score in multiple ways. His first goal was a nice deflection off a Brandon Carlo shot, a reward for Frederic going to the front of the net and battling. His second goal was one of beauty as he showed patience and a soft touch as he roofed a backhander over Pheonix Copley off a Nick Foligno feed.
This wasn’t just a breakout game for Frederic, but him continuing to string together a handful of strong performances that have led to this breakout campaign.
With his two goals last night, Frederic now has nine goals on the season, already passing his previous career high. His 16 points are just two shy of matching his career high.
What’s remarkable about Frederic’s performance this season is that all of his goals have come during 5-on-5 play, as he doesn’t play on the power play. He is third on the team in 5-on-5 goals behind only David Pastrnak (14) and Jake DeBrusk (10). He is tied for fourth in 5-on-5 points. Accounting for ice time, Frederic moves up to first in points on a per-minute basis and second in goals. He ranks 14th in the entire NHL in 5-on-5 goals per 60 minutes.
It’s not just Frederic’s offense that is enjoying a strong season, but also his defensive game. His play on defense was never the issue with his game, but he hasn’t sacrificed it with his newfound offensive production, showing he is rounding out to be a vital two way forward for the Bruins. His plus-19 plus/minus is second on the team behind only Hampus Lindholm, as is his plus-17 at 5-on-5 play. The only Bruins forwards who have a lower goals-against rate at 5-on-5 are Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Tomas Nosek.
Thanks to Frederic’s hard style of play and dedication shift-in and shift-out, he’s playing smart hockey that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his head coach, who sees his confidence growing.
“I think just his maturity and his trust in his game and getting more opportunities has allowed his confidence to grow,” Montgomery told NESN Thursday night. “He’s just a real good hockey player for us now. I mean, he’s got nine goals and they’re all 5-on-5 goals. That’s not easy to do in this league in the first half of the year.”
Frederic has blossomed into the player the Bruins hoped he would be when they drafted him in the first round seven years ago. With the recent injury to Jake DeBrusk, having a guy like Frederic be able to step up and pick up the slack as a third-liner is what championship teams are made of. It’s time that fans start to give Frederic the respect he deserves and notice how far he has come as he continues his breakout campaign.