RW / Boston Bruins
Born: May 2, 1990
2012-2013 Numbers: Texas Stars: 33-13-46, 62GP; Playoffs 2-0-2, 9 GP; Dallas Stars 1-1-2, 12 GP
2012-2013 NHLe: 0.34ppg
Matt Fraser is probably a slightly safer pick than Craig Cunningham for the third line RW slot to start the season this year. Fraser has seen 13 games of NHL time. The major criticism about his play after his first professional season was that he's incredibly one-dimensional; a scorer with no head for the defensive zone. He has vastly improved his work in all three zones between his first and second AHL seasons, and that may be enough to warrant a solid look out of camp.
Acquired from the Dallas Stars as part of the Tyler Seguin/Loui Eriksson trade, Matt Fraser was signed as a free agent after playing for Red Deer and Kootenay of the WHL. While he was alternate captain of the Kootenay Ice in 2010-2011, they made a run to the Memorial Cup, winning the WHL championship but eventually losing out on their Cup bid to the Saint John Sea Dogs. Fraser had four goals in five games during that tournament.
His point totals for the Texas Stars are impressive. In the 2012 calendar year, only one AHL player had more goals from him.
A bit more, from Defending Big D:
Fraser struggled a bit at the beginning of his AHL career because the coaching staff felt that he wasn’t a good enough all-around player to deserve consistent top line minutes at the pro level. He took this to heart and by all accounts worked really hard to improve his game. While he will never be confused for a penalty killing specialist, he does work hard in all three zones. He’s not great at shutting guys down, but he works hard and battles and generally doesn’t drag the team into bad situations very often even if he doesn’t create much defensively.
This year he seems to be even better. With the NHL lockout in full swing I turned to the Texas Stars for my professional hockey needs and was pleasantly surprised both with the team overall and Matt Fraser. Playing in his own zone wasn’t nearly as much of a weakness for him as it was in his rookie season. The only times I saw him really mess up in his own zone was when he’d try a cross ice pass while breaking out and it would get picked off, but almost every young NHL player makes those kinds of mistakes; most seasoned veterans succumb to this once in a while as well.
|Sarah||Cornelius||Ecozens||Wayne Whittaker||Ian McLaren||Sean Hathaway||TomServo42||BruinsHockeyNow Dan|
The all-over-the-place rankings mostly come from uncertainty as to whether Fraser can take that next step to the NHL. Chiarelli, fresh off his new contract extension, has said that the Bruins roster will likely see some young blood this year. Will they give Fraser a shot? Or will he wallow in Providence, likely leading the team in scoring, with only a sniff at NHL success?
He has a chance to fill that third line RW spot. We'll see if it happens.