ANAHEIM, Calif. — Staying in the NHL is a lot tougher than making the NHL. It’s the adjustment Trent Frederic is trying to make.
The 21-year-old made a splash in his NHL debut against the Winnipeg Jets. Since then, his ice time has gone down and he hasn’t done a ton to jump off the page.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t contributing.
“He’s helping us win games, and that’s the most important thing,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said before Friday night’s 3-0 victory against the Ducks. “Probably not getting as much ice time as I’d like, part of that’s on me, part of that’s on the line. I think that’s on the (Noel) Acciari line doing so well lately. We trust them on the shutdown. I’d like to see Frederic’s line grow into that.”
Frederic has yet to put up a point in his seven NHL games entering Friday, but he’s been in the right places and hasn’t hurt the team.
Being on a long road trip so early to bond with new teammates isn’t the worst thing in the world, either, even if Frederic hasn’t had much of a chance yet to reflect on the start of his NHL career.
“It’s been coming at me fast, because it’s all been so quick,” he said. “I haven’t been able to digest it all, but it’s everything you can imagine.”
There might be a little internal pressure to see if Frederic can get his scoring game going with the trade deadline coming up, but for now Cassidy and the staff aren’t worried as long as his line continues to come together.
“They all have offensive ability,” Cassidy said. “We know Freddy can shoot it, (David Backes) can shoot it, get to the front of the net, (Joakim Nordstrom) has some speed, so hopefully something develops for them. We’ll allow that to grow organically.”
Frederic practiced a bit on the penalty kill Friday morning, and it’s an area Cassidy would like to start to use him there given some of his possession skills.
“Any time you get to be on the kill like that, hopefully if I get to do it in a game, I know what I’m doing,” Frederic said.
While the fourth line has flourished, any production out of the third line changes things a lot offensively for the Bruins. If Frederic gets going, especially during the trip, the B’s have a bit more of an idea of what they have.
“That starts with the guy in the middle, Freddy,” Cassidy said. “He has to take the lead even though he’s a young guy, then I think his game will grow even more because he’ll get more minutes. ... His faceoffs have been good, his structure away from the puck is fine. There’s a few mistakes we correct every game, that’s typical.”
Fourth line flying
The Bruins’ fourth line has found itself gaining more trust from Cassidy and the coaching staff, and as a result they’re playing more than typical fourth-line minutes.
Between Acciari, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner, the Bruins’ fourth line is getting opportunities to shut down top lines.
“You don’t get that unless you earn it,” Kuraly said. “There’s things you have to do to go out there and make sure you’re ready in those situations. We’ve been proud to do that, and he’s (Cassidy) shown that trust, and we’ve taken that responsibility that we better be ready.”