The 18-year-old was drafted by the Bruins with the 29th overall pick in last month’s NHL Entry Draft and has since been taking summer classes at the University of Wisconsin, where he will suit up as a freshman this fall.
The whirlwind continues this week at the 10th Annual Boston Bruins Development Camp. But being on the ice is also allowing Frederic to return to his comfort zone.
“I’m super excited,” Frederic said Tuesday afternoon, following the first day of Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena.
“I was a little bit nervous, but when I got here all the nerves went away and I just started playing and doing the testing. The staff’s great and the other prospects are great, so it’s pretty awesome.”
Frederic has been touted as a strong defensive center, who plays a heavy style. He sees himself the same way, but is also looking to add more to the offensive side of his game.
“I like to say I’m a two-way forward, good with the puck and likes to be physical,” said Frederic. “My offensive side, I want to improve on that and then just get better, be a two-way forward, more physical, put some weight on and get stronger.”
Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo knows a thing or two about being a solid two-way player, having won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils as one of the team’s most dependable players.
Pandolfo sees a bit of himself in Frederic, but also believes there is more skill to Frederic’s game than meets the eye.
“I think watching, even in the testing, he’s a really good athlete, he’s explosive,” Pandolfo said in press conference following the day’s on-ice sessions.
“I think playing on that U.S. [National Development] team, playing behind [Kieffer] Bellows and [Clayton] Keller, he probably has a little bit better skill than people give him credit for. He’s got some upside more than maybe just a third-line player.
“I know that’s kind of what everyone was saying, but there were a lot of teams that were really high on this kid. I think he just went under the radar playing for that U.S. team with some top skilled players.”
Growing up as a Blues fan in St. Louis, Frederic had a firsthand look at another player that combined physicality and grit to form one of the NHL’s best two-way forwards. Longtime Blues captain David Backes was a role model for Frederic growing up, and now he’ll have the chance to see even more of him after Backes signed a five-year contract with the Bruins earlier this month.
“He was a player I liked to watch,” said Frederic. “He was really good and I liked to model my game after him. When I saw that he signed with the Bruins I thought it was pretty sweet I was a Blues fan and I was a fan of David Backes.
“Now he’s a Bruin and I’m a Bruins fan, so it’s pretty cool to see.”
The first day of Development Camp provided fans – and the Bruins brass – an opportunity to see this year’s draft class don the Black & Gold on the ice for the first time.
Pandolfo said he was impressed with how they looked.
“A lot of them I hadn’t seen play before,” said Pandolfo. “The first day is a long day, so it’s tough for everyone. They do conditioning; they have physicals in the morning and then two on-ice sessions. But everyone looked pretty good. Everyone was excited to be there. All the young kids looked excited.”
First-round pick (14th overall) Charlie McAvoy, in particular, looked right at home, according to Pandolfo.
“Sometimes you can tell guys that are leaders right off the hop and he was talking a lot and helping guys out,” he said. “He’s a first-year guy…to be able to do that and see a guy that’s going to be a leader going forward. It was impressive.”
Back In Action
Pandolfo was pleased to see defenseman Jeremy Lauzon and goalie Malcolm Subban back on the ice Tuesday, after both suffered frightening injuries during the second half of last season.
Lauzon, while playing for Rouyn-Noranda of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, was cut in the throat by a skate blade and required emergency surgery. Subban, meanwhile, suffered a fractured larynx after being hit with a puck in Providence.
Lauzon made it back in time for the season-ending Memorial Cup, but Subban has not played since February.
“It was obviously a very scary injury, but right after it happened, we all talked to [Lauzon] and he was committed to getting back for the Memorial Cup and sure enough he was back and made it,” said Pandolfo.
“He’s a dedicated kid. If you watch him out there, he’s really competitive and he’s got high character and those are the types of players you’re looking for.”
Subban did not participate in the main on-ice session Tuesday, instead working with goaltending coach Bob Essensa earlier in the morning. Subban will join the rest of the group Wednesday.
“He’s definitely on the right track,” said Pandolfo. “I think that’s part of the reason we brought him in here because he hasn’t played in a long time. He was on the ice earlier, had a goalie session with Bob Essensa today, and he’ll be back out there tomorrow with the group.”
Lindgren Back Wednesday
The only player not on the ice Tuesday was second-round pick Ryan Lindgren. The defenseman had a class commitment to attend to and is expected to join the camp on Wednesday.
The 2016 Boston Bruins Development Camp is presented by AT&T.