BostonBruins.com - In the college hockey world, some players encounter the difficult decision of choosing the right time to take the next step and play professional hockey. For Bruins prospect and University of Wisconsin sophomore Trent Frederic, his time is now.
On Tuesday, Frederic - while sporting a Red Sox hat - inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the Bruins beginning with the 2018-19 season. He will finish out the remainder of the 2017-18 season on an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Providence Bruins.
"I'm pretty excited," said Frederic. "It hasn't hit me yet…I'm sure right when I get there, I'll definitely feel it more.
"I thought, just as a person, as a hockey player, my goal is to play in the NHL for as long as I can, and I thought this is the best step of doing that."
The St. Louis, Missouri, native, who finished his collegiate career with a total of 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points in 66 games, said that he expects the AHL to present an increase in intensity, but he is welcoming the test.
"I'm assuming they're going to be a lot stronger, faster and probably just as skilled, so it will definitely be a hard challenge, but I'm looking forward to it," he said.
Despite being part of the leadership group as an alternate captain at Wisconsin, Frederic said that he expects to take a quieter approach in his early days as a Providence Bruin.
"Coming in as a young guy, I will probably just try to listen a lot, soak it in and just kind of hear what the older people and the people who have been doing it for a while have to say," Frederic said. "I'll probably be all ears for a while here and just kind of try to figure out the program."
Frederic, who was drafted by Boston in the first round (29th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, said that the lifestyle of a Division I student-athlete allowed him to grow and develop both on and off the ice.
"You only have so many games, so you have to play hard every night," he said. "Then, as just a getting bigger standpoint, you work out a lot during the week, and then you play on the weekends, so it's pretty cool. Going to school and doing the homework and being the whole student-athlete taught me a lot, just as a person, and hopefully it helps me in the future."
Frederic has developed into a complete player, but he said there is one aspect of his game in particular that he focused on getting better at.
"On the ice, I tried to improve my offensive game," he said. "That's what I tried to improve, and I think I got better at that - shooting the puck and trying to be a goal scorer."
Video: Frederic talks about his hockey upbringing
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound center credited his coaching staff for helping him become the player he is today.
"I had great coaches with Tony Granato, Mark Osiecki and Mark Strobel, and my first year Don Granato taught me a lot," said Frederic. "So, just thinking the game and worked on parts of my game that needed to improve, they were really good about it. I can't thank them enough."
Joining a professional hockey team for the first time can be an intimidating experience, but fortunately for Frederic, he will not have to do it alone. Cameron Hughes, Frederic's teammate and team captain, also signed an entry-level deal with the Bruins this week and will be reporting to Providence.
Frederic said that it will be "really nice to have him," since the two have formed a strong friendship during their two years playing together in Wisconsin.
"He's a great captain; he's a great player, great person," Frederic said of Hughes. "He does just about everything right on the ice and off the ice. I learned a lot from him. When I was a freshman, he was really nice to me when he was a junior. We had that Boston connection, and we went to development camp together, and he kind of showed me around, so it was nice."