The Boston Bruins knew they’d have a big hole to fill entering this season as Riley Nash’s departure left a hole at third line center. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic were all linked to the job and battled the entire preseason.
The process has taken its time. Through the first 49 games, Boston hasn’t filled the vacancy that Nash left on the third line. This forced Don Sweeney’s hand coming out of the bye week as the Bruins GM made a slew of roster moves following the team’s eight-day layoff.
The Bruins swapped a pair of youngsters with Providence and sent Ryan Donato and Forsbacka Karlsson down to the AHL while Frederic and Peter Cehlarik, who returned to Providence following an impressive three-game stint on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk prior to the week off, earned the promotion to the big club.
“I’m happy to be here. It’s a dream come true,” Frederic said about his opportunity to dawn the Black and Gold. “Probably the last month I thought I’ve been playing well, pretty strong…full games, not just periods here and there, I played well.”
The 20-year-old University of Wisconsin product finally has his chance at the big leagues. Now he wants to make the most of his first NHL opportunity.
Frederic tallied 17 points (10 goals, 7 assists) in 37 games for Providence this season. Those numbers aren’t anything to write home about, but the 2016 first round pick battled injuries, thus making the numbers a little misleading during his first professional season.
After a brief adjusting period, Frederic found his grove over the past month or so, registering 10 points over the last 12 games.
“What I’ve heard about Frederic is this past weekend he had a real good weekend,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “There was a plan all along at the start of the year to take a look at him at some point. We didn’t know when that point would be. Some of that is how are the guys doing here, then there was an injury that set him back a little bit. He’s healthy and playing well now.”
The Bruins, who also placed Tuukka Rask (concussion) on injured reserve and recalled Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis, sit in fourth place in the tightly-contested Atlantic Division with 59 points. They also trail the second place Maple Leafs by three points. Both the Habs and Leafs are on their bye week, which gives Boston a chance to climb up the standings with its home tilts against the Jets (Tuesday) and Flyers (Thursday).
Sweeney knows the Bruins need upgrades in the middle of the lineup. As Monday’s transactions showed, the fourth-year GM is weighing all of his options as the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaches.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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