Projecting draft picks is always an imperfect game, even for the people that are highly paid to do just that.
But when the Boston Bruins used a first-round pick in 2016 on Trent Frederic, a player that former director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky said, “is not going to be a top-two line guy, we know that,” it really lowered any expectation anybody had for the pick. Of course first-round picks turn out to be useful bottom-six players all the time, but it’s usually because they never reached the top-line expectations teams had for them. It’s not often you hear a team come right and say about their top-pick that they want him to be a third-or fourth-liner.
One year later, after a season that saw him average more than a point-per-game and finish second in goals and points for the University of Wisconsin, Frederic seems to be exceeding those original expectations the Bruins had for him.
Jamie Langenbrunner, the Bruins’ director of player development, told Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald this week that there has been a re-thinking within the organization of Frederic’s potential.
“There is in my mind so far,” said Langenbrunner, via the Herald. “He plays top line at Wisconsin. Obviously, time will tell what he’ll be in pro hockey but there’s more skill to his game than people thought coming out of the draft.”
Frederic was Boston’s second first-round pick in 2016, going 29th overall. The Bruins acquired that pick from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for goaltender Martin Jones.
The 2016 draft is already looking like a promising one for Boston given the early promise shown by their top pick that year, defenseman Charlie McAvoy.
Thanks to trades involving Jones, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton the Bruins had five first-round picks between 2015 and 2016 which they used to select McAvoy, Frederic, Jakub Zboril, Jake Debrusk, and Zachary Senyshyn. The 2015 second-round also produced Brandon Carlo and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, both of whom have already played in the NHL, with Carlo already looking like a mainstay on the Bruins’ defense.