BostonBruins.com - As captain of the Providence Bruins, Paul Carey has come to learn what it takes to be a strong and effective leader. It's for that reason that his praise this week of teammate Trent Frederic was so notable.
Carey did not hesitate when asked which members of the P-Bruins' young core impressed him most during the 2019-20 season when it came to developing leadership abilities, immediately singling out Frederic for his progress throughout his second full professional campaign.
"Trent Frederic is a guy that jumps out at me," said Carey. "He not only can produce and score goals and make plays, he's also a guy that will stick up for his teammates and lead by example in that way. It's not very often that you get a guy with his size and his skill that can produce over half a point a game and also lead the league in penalty minutes.
"Guys really respect him in the room and he's a natural leader. He's a good teammate and he's a guy that really stepped up this year and helped us come together as a group and be more successful."
Two-plus years into his transition to the pro game, Frederic is, perhaps, best known for his drubbing of Winnipeg Jets forward Brandon Tanev in his NHL debut on Jan. 29, 2019. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound centerman is coveted for his blend of physicality, ruggedness, and skill, all of which led the Bruins to draft him with the 29th overall pick in 2016.
"Trent Frederic - I've said it so many different times - he has so many different attributes that not many have," said Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach. "He's a bigger guy that has a heck of a shot, can get up and down the ice, and then you add the physical component that he has with, really, confrontation more than anything being a part of his game.
"He really was able to gain some huge strides with that - especially with his consistency - night in, night out of being that guy to play against…that you're relentless. He certainly showed that and he's gonna continue to improve on that."
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Frederic led the American Hockey League with 148 penalty minutes in 2019-20, including eight fights, which ranked second behind Hartford's Mason Geertsen. It is a style of play that the 22-year-old expects to be a staple of his game even when he transitions to the NHL full time.
"It just depends how it presents itself in the game," said Frederic. "It can vary. I enjoy doing it and sticking up for my teammates or whatever the case may be…I've enjoyed jumping in if a buddy gets hit or something. That doesn't necessarily mean fighting, but I enjoy that aspect and part of the game."
Fighting and physicality are not, however, Frederic's only hallmarks. The U.S. National Team Development Program and University of Wisconsin product believes he has made significant progress in rounding out his all-around game since turning pro during the spring of 2018.
"From year one to this year, I think I've made a huge jump, even when I played my first game in the NHL which was over a year ago now," said Frederic, who suited up for 15 games with Boston during the 2018-19 campaign. "I think I'm a way better player, more of a complete player now than I was then.
"For me, when I'm playing my best, it's when I'm physical and having a positive impact on the game. That doesn't have to be scoring or having an assist or anything like that, it's just about having a positive impact on the game.
"Just trying to put it all together and be the best possible player I can be."
Frederic believes the structure that the AHL provides has helped him to refine and enhance those skills. In 59 games for Providence this season, he collected 32 points (8 goals, 24 assists), improving on his mark of 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 55 games during his rookie campaign.
"Obviously, the main goal is to be in the NHL," said Frederic. "When you're down [in the AHL], it pushes you. We have a better schedule for development, we practice mostly during the week so you can practice hard…up top, you have to balance your workload out…that helps me when I'm down there."
Frederic also has 17 games of NHL experience on his resume, including two with the big club this season. Though he remains without a point with the Black & Gold, Frederic has been pleased with his progress.
"Think I played well, was probably not as aggressive, was trying not to make any mistakes, played maybe a little too passive," Frederic said of his initial 11-game stint with Boston in early 2019. "Played a couple more throughout that year. So far, I've had a good time being up and learned a lot. Hopefully I get more opportunities to play NHL games and prove what I've been building myself up to be."
He might have that chance this summer. With the possibility remaining that the NHL resumes its season, Frederic could be summoned to Boston as part of the 'Black Aces' or even as a roster player. As such, his workouts have picked up in recent days and even transitioned back to the ice last week as restrictions in his home state of Missouri begin to loosen.
"Had the chance to skate outside of St. Louis County which is kind of opening up now," said Frederic, who added that he's also been golfing and rollerblading. "I've been lucky, I know a lot of people haven't been able to do that.
"When I first got on the ice it was definitely rusty…roller [hockey] helps a little bit…so [my] hands weren't too bad. Mostly my skating and turning, edges, is what I needed to focus on."