Frederic the Spark to Bruins’ Flame

by | Jan 3, 2024

Frederic the Spark to Bruins’ Flame

by | Jan 3, 2024

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Bruins are riding a four-game winning streak after beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Tuesday at Nationwide Arena. Three wins have come on the road, while all four have come since the Christmas break. Before the NHL-wide holiday stoppage, the Bruins had a four-game losing streak.

A factor in the Bruins’ turnaround was center Trent Frederic’s play. The 25-year-old has tallied six points, three goals, and three assists in the last four games. Through 36 games this season, Frederic has ten goals and nine assists for 19 points.

Boston has two top lines that can match up with any the league has to counter. A third line that can produce and defend will be clutch as the season progresses into the second half. Frederic has been playing with a combination of James van Riemsdyk, Danton Heinen, Morgan Geekie, and Georgii Merkulov over the last week.

“I didn’t know, I thought he had the capabilities, but didn’t know if he was going to go grab it,” said Head Coach Jim Montgomery when asked about Frederic’s potential to drive a line. “It was much needed for us, for him to go grab it.”

“It’s nice to see guys grabbing the opportunity to take their next steps in their developmental career of what you’re gonna be.”

“I think his assertiveness and playing direct with the puck and without the puck going to the net,” added the coach on Frederic’s success this year. “I don’t think he’s trying to make east-west plays as often as he is making north plays. It’s a big difference.”

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Boston Bruins forward Trent Frederic tussles with New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba during the second period of New York’s 2-1 overtime win over the Bruins at TD Garden on Saturday, December 16, 2023.

“They played a big, heavy game,” said Montgomery of the Frederic, van Riemsdyk, and Heinen line, which factored in three of Boston’s goals against the Blue Jackets. “The third goal (Heinen’s), which extended the lead (to 3-1), was huge for us.”

Frederic didn’t assist on the Heinen goal, but his forechecking led to the Columbus defenseman turning the puck over at the Blue Jackets goal line. That goal gave the Bruins a comfortable 3-1 lead at 7:29 of the third period.

The 6′-3″ Frederic secured the “W” for Boston when he ripped a snap shot past goalie Spencer Martin at 15:54. Frederic fed van Riemsdyk at the Columbus blue line, then took a return pass at the right circle, where he waited out a sliding Martin before depositing the puck at the far post.

“It’s like a drill we do, its a great play by JvR (James van Riemsdyk) getting it over,” said Montgomery. “But for Freddie (Frederic) to hold it, shoot back across the grain as the goalie is sliding across is an intelligent, confident play.”

That confidence is something that Frederic touched on after the team’s 5-3 win on Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesar’s Arena. In that victory, Frederic scored twice, staking the Bruins to a 2-0 lead, which they would squander before prevailing in the third period.

“Monty’s (Montgomery) put a lot of confidence in me, even today, being out there for those empty nets. That feels good,” said Frederic. “Even getting opportunities to take face-offs, which I haven’t been doing that great as of lately. Just getting those opportunities leads into that confidence of when you have the puck that you can make plays.”

The former Wisconsin Badger was selected 29th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins and only spent two seasons on campus in Madison, WI, before jumping to AHL/NHL status. His first three professional seasons were primarily in Providence, RI, playing on the Baby B’s squad with an occasional call-up to Boston.

Since the 2020-21 season, the St. Louis, MO. native has been a mainstay in Boston, tallying 42, 60, and 79 games before this season. Frederic has consistently wowed the Bruins’ fanbase with his penchant for fisticuffs, but now those hands are showing their potential.

“Freddie’s a sniper, people may take it for granted, but he probably scores the most goals of anyone in practice,” said Bruins captain Brad Marchand. “Really gifted around the net, and the way he shoots the puck.”

“I think he’s playing faster,” Montgomery said after the Detroit game. “The way he skates, it’s really underrated how great a skater he is. I think he’s going north and taking pucks consistently, instead of delaying, which he did a lot. It’s something that I give him credit for. He’s been working on it with (John McClean), our skills coach, about puck protection and driving pucks and opening up space for himself. He’s done a great job of that… He’s got great hands. He’s a great athlete.”

“His speed, I said it before, it’s under-rated,” said Montgomery. “When he gets flying he can skate as good as anybody in the league. That goal he scored (Tuesday), he beat two people up the ice to get that opportunity. Then those hands, his hands have never been questioned. He has a great shot. Soft hands, he can deflect pucks.”

“I’m just trying to skate hard,” added Frederic. “Its more moving my feet. When I’m playing well I’m doing that. Its more of a mindset. It’s easier said than done.”

Lest anyone forgets, Frederic was ready, willing, and able to throw down on Sunday with the Red Wings defenseman Ben Chariot. Chariot had mugged Geekie in front of Detroit’s net early in the game. After Frederic scored his first goal, where he collided with goalie Alex Lyon, Frederic immediately chirped Chariot rather than celebrate the 1-0 lead.

“We had a talk (previously) and that wasn’t good enough,” said Frederic. “So when I scored, I asked. I thought maybe he’d have a fair fight. I really didn’t like what he did to (Morgan Geekie).”

Frederic and the Bruins will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, January 4, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, January 6. Both games start at 7:00 pm EST.


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