In the final media availability of the 2022-23 season for the Boston Bruins, forward Trent Frederic welcomed the idea of becoming a full-time center for the 2023-24 season and beyond.
“That would be awesome. That’s been my position my whole life until I got here,” Frederic said on May 2 after a career-high in goals (17) and assists (14), last season. “I came in as a center and then went to left and played a lot of right this year, which I really like. It was nice to go back and play center. I want to focus on faceoffs this summer to be trusted in that aspect (of the game). I’ve been good at faceoffs my whole life. … I think I can do a good job and help this team.”
On Wednesday, Trent Frederic met with the media for the first time since barely avoiding arbitration and signing a two-year, $4.6 million ($2.3M AAV), contract hours before his scheduled arbitration hearing on August 1. Frederic was once again asked about the prospect of switching back to his natural position in the middle.
“It will all play out at camp, but I don’t mind playing center or wing,” Frederic said. “I think last year, I played pretty much all three – left wing, center, and right – so I’m comfortable playing both or all three now, and I actually really liked right wing last year. Was first time doing that, and I really liked it. So, just kind of wherever I find a fit, I’ll just try to do my best there.”
With longtime Boston Bruins center and captain for the last three seasons, Patrice Bergeron retiring, David Krejci leaning towards retirement, and fourth-line center Tomas Nosek moving on via free agency, the Bruins’ center depth chart just opened up. Pavel Zacha is expected to become the first-line center, and Charlie Coyle should slot into the 2C slot. That leaves the bottom 6 center slots wide open.
Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has made it clear that Frederic, and newcomers Morgan Geekie, Jesper Boqvist, and Patrick Brown, are all expected to battle it out for those slots. The Bruins will also give looks to Providence Bruins centers Marc McLaughlin and Johnny Beecher and potentially OHL prospect Matthew Poitras.
Frederic is taking a realistic approach and knows there’s no way the veteran duo of Bergeron and Krejci can be replaced but he’s ready for the challenge.
“You can’t replace those guys; they’re great humans and obviously great hockey players,” Frederic said of his now former teammates. “But hopefully, I can get more responsibility on this team, but it’s going to be hard to replace them, and I’ll do the best I can.”
If he does get a shot in the middle again, though, he’s already started working on the areas he’d need to improve to be an everyday center in the NHL.
“I kind of understand the system at center,” Frederic said. “The way we play is, kind of, a lot of times you play low forward. Like when I was playing with Charlie, he always liked when I would chip in and play down low. I think for me, the biggest thing would be faceoffs and getting that first touch on the puck for our team. That would be a big factor for my success there. That’s something I probably didn’t do the best last year, but I think with the repetition and the work I’ve been putting in, it should be good.”