SCOC Rating: 6
Reader Rating: 6
Hey, look at that! A perfect match. I knew you readers were smart people.
Trent Frederic had himself a pretty interesting 2021 season. After playing 17 games over the previous two seasons combined, Frederic more than doubled that total with 42 games played (all regular season).
During those 42 games, he emerged as a bit of a cult hero among Bruins fans: his “mic’d up” segments were gold, and his scraps with Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals earned him plenty of admirers.
Plus, he played the kind of “throw your weight around” game Bruins fans tend to enjoy, and managed to get under the skin of everyone from PK Subban to Alex Ovechkin.
Frederic’s year featured offensive highlights as well, including his first NHL goal in quite the scenic setting:
He finished the year with three more goals, almost all of which were scored from within feet of the crease.
Overall, it was a decent season for Frederic, one in which he certainly improved over the previous seasons.
So...why the middling rating?
If I can speak for everyone, I’d say it’s probably because we all thought he’d have a more regular, consistent impact.
Frederic was a first-round pick. You generally want first-round picks to have impacts on the game beyond fights, chirps, etc. And to be fair, Frederic’s four goals were a good start.
It also didn’t help that he spent much of his season playing on the fourth line, with occasional stints on the third. He also had some pretty tough deployments at even strength, as made clear by starting nearly 60% of his shifts in the defensive zone.
Having said that, I was truly surprised when I pulled the stats and saw that Frederic played in 42 games this season. If you asked me to guess beforehand, I would have said something like 18 or 20.
That means he played in 75% of the Bruins’ regular season games — not exactly an occasional stand-in.
With playing time averaging more than 11 minutes a game, he wasn’t stapled to the bench either.
That’s likely what affected many ratings: Frederic’s season was an improvement and had its bright spots, but it was also hamstrung by stretches of no real productivity.
It’s fair to wonder if Frederic was negatively impacted by his linemates or usage, and that shouldn’t be held against him.
However, I’m not sure there’s a regular spot for him in the lineup once the season starts — he’s certainly not likely to play 2C, and the rest of the C spots are likely to be filled by the free agent signings (if you assume the C’s are Bergeron-Coyle-Haula-Nosek).
Still, Frederic should get a shot at some point. If he can add a little more offense to the other aspects of his game, the Bruins will be in good shape.
It’s important to remember that Frederic is still just 23, with fewer than 60 games under his belt.
I think we all remember another guy who started as a fourth-line irritator and grew his game into something special; that’s not to say that Frederic is the next Marchand, but to say there’s plenty of room for him to grow.
Overall, it was a good season. Let’s hope the next one is a little better.