The 2022-2023 regular season was a season of career bests for many players on the Boston Bruins, and Trent Frederic got in on the party.
Playing in all but three regular season games, Frederic set career highs in goals, assists, and points.
His 17 goals more than doubled his previous career best (8) and included 6 game-winning goals.
Perhaps most importantly for depth reasons, all of Frederic’s goals came at even strength, adding potency to the Bruins’ lineup.
One of the knocks on Frederic from previous years was that he had a tendency to take some bad penalties at bad times, whether due to a lack of discipline or being overzealous to make his physical presence felt.
This season, Frederic managed to cut back on the shenanigans (for the most part), earning the same PIM (57) as last season but playing 19 more games.
Frederic was certainly someone who benefited from playing with more talent than in previous years, frequently skating on the third line with Taylor Hall and Charlie Coyle.
Frederic and Coyle were particularly joined at the hip last season, skating nearly 650 minutes of 5v5 time together, per Natural Stat Trick.
(Frederic’s next highest TOI forward partner was Hall at 206 minutes.)
The Hall-Coyle-Frederic trio was a treat to watch at times, combining size, a puck possession/cycling game, and finishing to make life difficult on the opposition.
Unfortunately, Frederic’s offense and overall impact dried up in the playoffs. He found himself on the outside looking in for two of the seven games and didn’t record a point when in the lineup.
A lack of production from Frederic certainly isn’t what doomed the Bruins, but it didn’t help matters.
Frederic’s 2023-2024 picture is among the murkiest on the Bruins’ roster.
He won’t be playing with Coyle, who will move up the lineup after David Krejci’s and Patrice Bergeron’s departures. Hall is gone. The Bruins have a whole bunch of new bottom-six forwards.
So...does Frederic finally slide into his long-proclaimed “natural position” at center? Is he back at wing? If so, is it on the third line or the fourth? Who is he playing with?
These are all questions that will be sorted out in time, of course. But it’s a lot of uncertainty for a guy coming off of a career year with a new contract in his pocket.
In some ways, Frederic’s ratings here seem a little bit low — after all, he nearly cracked 20 goals while playing in the bottom six, no small feat.
The no-show in the playoffs doesn’t help, nor does the inflated shooting percentage (14.2%, nearly double his 2021-2022 rate).
There are also plenty of people who think Frederic benefited greatly from his line mates last season, a benefit he probably won’t enjoy again this season.
Still, 17 goals, all at even strength and while playing third-line minutes, is nothing to sneeze at.
The Bruins will need Frederic’s game to continue to grow this season as a new-look roster tries to find its footing.
If he can build on the good parts of 2022-2023, both he and the Bruins will be in good shape.