It didn’t take Trent Frederic very long to ingratiate himself to the TD Garden crowd.
The box score on the night of his NHL debut back in January 2019 might not exactly jump off the page: 8:29 of ice time, two hits, two shots on goal and zero points recorded.
But the B’s first-round pick (29th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft certainly made the most of the five minutes he spent in the sin bin — given that he used Brandon Tanev’s face as a speed bag in his first career scrap.
Frederic’s physical tools (6-foot-2, 203 pounds) are rather evident — as is the St. Louis native’s willingness to drop the gloves at a moment’s notice. That size and snarl stand as some of the primary reasons why Frederic is viewed as a key piece in Boston’s growing prospect pipeline — presenting a skillset that could come in handy as soon as this summer.
“It just depends on how it presents itself in the game,” Frederic said of his willingness to scrap. “I enjoy doing it and sticking up for my teammates or whatever the case would be. ... So far I really enjoyed — my buddies get hit or something, I can hop in — that doesn’t necessarily involve fighting, but I enjoy that aspect and part of the game. Yeah, I'll probably be doing it (in the NHL).”
Much like his Providence teammate in Jack Studnicka, Frederic is well aware that a resumption of play for the 2019-20 NHL season could signal major opportunities — whether it be rejoining the “Black Aces” or logging minutes in the NHL ranks outright.
As Boston can attest to last season — in which the absences of bruisers like Chris Wagner and Kevan Miller were felt during a slugfest against the Blues in the Cup Final — inserting a big body like Frederic into the lineup could pay dividends during a grueling playoff series.
But given the amount of competition already present on Boston’s roster, it would seem unlikely that Frederic would earn a legitimate shot at cracking the club’s roster this summer if his lone asset is his ability to drop the gloves.
But, as Providence head coach Jay Leach was quick to note, Frederic provided much more than just heavyweight bouts during his second year in the AHL ranks.