Tanner Fritz will make his NHL debut on Tuesday when the Islanders take on the Bruins. Frtiz has put in a lot of work to make it to the NHL, going from an undrafted player to the ECHL to an AHL standout in the span of two years. Get to know the 26-year-old before he realizes a lifelong dream.
1. HE'LL PLAY RIGHT WING IN HIS DEBUT
Fritz is 5'11, 192lbs., plays center and right wing and is a right-handed shot. He'll play right wing on a line with Brock Nelson and Shane Prince on Tuesday night. Head coach Doug Weight said he'd like to get Fritz to take a few faceoffs tonight. Fritz has power play and penalty kill experience with the Sound Tigers.
"I play with a lot of energy and a lot of pace," Fritz said. "I think I play a strong 200-foot game, reliable in all situations. Hopefully that can translate to the NHL and I can have success here."
2. HE WAS THE HIGHEST-SCORING SOUND TIGER IN 2017
Fritz recorded 61 points in 62 games during the calendar year, the most of any Sound Tiger.
"He's got a great release. He's a really smart hockey player, skates really well. The kid likes to play hockey," Islanders Head Coach Doug Weight said.
3. HE WAS THE FOURTH-LEADING SCORER IN THE AHL WHEN HE WAS CALLED UP
Fritz was leading the Sound Tigers with 35 points (10G, 25A) in 29 games at the time of his recall, fourth in AHL scoring.
"He's at the top of the leaderboard there in scoring, so we need some swagger, we want him to bring his energy and bring his confidence," Weight said.
Video: Tanner Fritz Highlights
4. HE PLAYED FOUR YEARS AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
Fritz scored 110 points (36G, 74A) in 142 NCAA games and served as captain in his senior year. Fritz majored in Sport Management with a minor in Sport Law. He won a pair of B1G Sportsmanship Awards (2014, 2015) and made the CCHA second all-star team in 2012-13.
5. HE GREW UP IN GRAND PRAIRIE, AB
Fritz grew up roughly 280 miles northwest of Edmonton. He'll be the fifth player from Grand Prairie to play in the NHL, along with Howard Walker, Clint Malarchuk, Galen Head and close friend and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Carter Rowney.
6. HE WILL WEAR 56 WITH THE ISLANDERS
Fritz will be the seventh player to wear 56 for the Islanders, joining the likes of Marcel Cousineau, Ian Herbers and John Persson. Taylor Beck was the most recent player to wear 56. Fritz wore 11 with the Sound Tigers and 16 at Ohio State.
7. HIS FAVORITE PLAYER GROWING UP WAS JOE SAKIC
Sakic is ninth all-time in NHL scoring with 1,641 points (625G, 1,016A) in 1,378 games. The Hall of Famer is the current General Manager of the Colorado Avalanche.