Frederic credits this person for his career-best season with Bruins originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Trent Frederic had a lot to prove entering the 2022-23 NHL season.
The Boston Bruins forward had not met expectations since being drafted in the first round in 2016. He didn't provide enough offense, he often took bad penalties and he just didn't do enough in all three zones to warrant a ton of ice time. His training camp also was disappointing, resulting in B's present Cam Neely saying at Media Day in October that Frederic "didn't have the camp he wanted (or) we wanted."
The Bruins had a lot of depth early in the season, and Frederic had to earn a regular spot in the lineup.
Frederic, to his credit, has taken his performance to a much higher level through the first 38 games of the campaign, and Thursday night's 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings was his best outing yet.
The 24-year-old winger scored two goals in a 34-second span during the third period that broke a tie and put Boston up 4-2.
The first goal came off a nice tip by Frederic in front of the net.
The second tally involved plenty of skill, too, as Frederic put the puck on his back hand and lifted it over Kings goalie Pheonix Copley.
These two goals gave Frederic nine on the season, surpassing his previous career high of eight set in 2021-22. Frederic has tallied 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 35 games -- two away from his total of 18 points in 60 games last season.
His offensive production per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 has gone way up this season as well.
"I think his maturity and his trust in his game and getting more opportunities has allowed his confidence to grow," Montgomery told NESN after Thursday's victory. "He's just a real good hockey player for us now. He's got nine goals and they're all 5-on-5 goals. That's not easy to do in this league (in the) first half of the year."
Natural Stat Trick
What's behind Frederic playing at a much higher level? He was quick to credit one person in particular.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Monty," Frederic told NESN postgame. "He's done a great job letting me play free and just putting confidence in me. He's been awesome for me and everyone."
Frederic isn't just scoring goals for the Bruins, either. As a power forward, he's providing plenty of physicality and energy each game, and he's never afraid to drop the gloves and send a message. Frederic's fight with Kings forward Brandon Lemieux in the second period was one of the best of his career.
One of the question marks going into the 2022-23 season for the Bruins was scoring depth.
It was a major issue in the first-round playoff series versus the Carolina Hurricanes. They didn't add many players in free agency over the offseason, so it was up to Montgomery to get more offensive production out of what was already on the roster, most notably Jake DeBrusk, Nick Foligno, Taylor Hall, Craig Smith, Connor Clifton, Frederic, and others.
So far, Montgomery has done a tremendous job putting guys in the right positions to succeed and instilling lots of confidence in them. Young players such as Frederic don't have to worry about making a mistake and getting benched for 10-plus minutes as a result.
Montgomery has pushed the right buttons with pretty much every single player so far, and it's a factor that's been pivotal in Boston's historically good start to the season.