BRIGHTON, Mass. — Trent Frederic has largely been a bottom-6 center for the Boston Bruins when he’s received his shots at the NHL level in Boston.
So it will be a little different for the 2016 first-round pick when the 21-year-old Frederic gets back into the B’s lineup on Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs as a physical left winger based on Boston’s need for healthy bodies up front. Frederic skated on the left side with Par Lindholm and Danton Heinen on a makeshift third line at Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
Frederic has just five points in 15 games for the P-Bruins this season and went scoreless in 15 games with Boston last season while mostly in the middle and admitted he hasn’t exactly hit his stride in the AHL as of yet this year.
“I’ve been playing hard and I’ve been playing well,” said Frederic. “It hasn’t exactly gone my way the whole year, but I keep battling through it and playing hard every game.”
Bruce Cassidy is interested to see if plugging the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder on the wing can free him up for some needed physicality and more offense. Those are a couple things the B’s are certainly a little light on up front with David Backes and Brett Ritchie both injured and out for Friday night’s tilt against the Maple Leafs.
The move to left wing might be just the thing to allow the big, physical forward to tap into his inner power forward, though he did have a whopping 40 penalty minutes in his 15 AHL games this year.
“We'll see if that frees him up to go out and be physical and play more his style, just straight-line game instead of overthinking it as a centerman," said Cassidy. "We're not going to bring him up as a left shot and throw him on the right wing, I think that's a little unfair. We're already kind of moving him to begin with to see where he's at."
Certainly the Bruins are getting a good look at their organizational depth with all of these call-ups to Boston this early in the season, and that could help them down the line when it gets closer to potentially dealing some of those young forward assets for more NHL help à la Marcus Johansson last spring. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for Friday's game based on Thursday’s practice:
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Anders Bjork||David Krejci||Charlie Coyle|
|Trent Frederic||Par Lindholm||Danton Heinen|
|Joakim Nordstrom||Sean Kuraly||Chris Wagner|
|Zdeno Chara||Charlie McAvoy|
|Matt Grzelcyk||Brandon Carlo|
|Urho Vaakanainen||Connor Clifton|
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