#8 - Trent Frederic - C
When the Bruins used the 29th overall pick in the 2016 draft on Trent Frederic, most prospect watchers scratched their heads. After all, Frederic had just come off a full season with the USNTDP where he scored a shrug-worthy 40 points in 60 games. He graded well defensively, but his lack of offensive pop just didn’t seem to square with his new status as a first round pick. Even Keith Gretzky, then Bruins director of amateur scouting, famously admitted that Frederic ”is not going to be a top-two line guy.” Not exactly inspiring stuff.
Fast-forward two seasons, and Frederic has turned into a developmental success story. In 2017-18, he followed up a very strong freshman year at the University of Wisconsin (33 points in 30 games) with similar numbers as a sophomore (32 points in 36 games) while continuing his defensive excellence. He also showed well in seven games at the World Junior Classic, scoring five goals (okay fine, four of them were in the bronze medal game rout against the Czech Republic).
By March, the Bruins had seen enough to sign the big center to an entry level contract and assign him to AHL Providence, where he continued to produce, compiling nine points in 16 games between the regular season and playoffs.
Frederic certainly has the physique of an NHL centerman: He added bulk to his 6’3” frame to get to 215 lbs for the 2017-18 season. That enabled to him out-muscle opponents and win puck battles with regularity. He also doesn’t shy away from the front of the net and uses his hands well in tight.
While he’s got the size, strength, smarts, and hands to succeed as an NHL centerman, he does lack high-end skating ability. This is the most limiting factor in Frederic’s development and probably the only thing keeping him out of our top five.
This year’s training camp could be a defining moment in Frederic’s career. With the loss of Riley Nash, the Bruins have a wide open spot in the lineup at third line center, and Frederic should be a top contender to take it. Keep an eye on the unfolding competition between Frederic, a polished Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and a highly skilled Jack Studnicka. If Frederic can effectively showcase his physicality and defensive prowess, we may see him suiting up for the Bruins ahead of schedule.
If not, some more pro experience in Providence would be an appropriate step on his path to the NHL. Whenever he gets his chance, it does seem that Frederic is very much on the right trajectory to becoming a solid NHL centerman.