Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Dec 11, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The final big piece of the Bruins’ offseason salary cap puzzle took some shape Sunday morning, with the Bruins and restricted free agent Trent Frederic exchanging their salary arbitration numbers ahead of a potential Aug. 1 hearing.

And similar to their exchanging of numbers with Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins and Frederic are coming in with two different asks. Seeking the best deal for their team, Don Sweeney and the Bruins filed at $1.4 million per year for two years, while Frederic’s camp is looking to maximize what was a career-year with a one-year deal worth $2.9 million.

That’s a difference of one year on the term-front, and a $1.5 million gap on the average annual value.

Those numbers were first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

  • On the board with career-highs in goals (17), assists (14), points (31), plus-minus (plus-28), and game-winning goals (six) for the Bruins this past season, there’s absolutely no denying that Frederic is in line for a raise from the $1.05 million cap hit he’s skated with for the past two seasons. Frederic was also one of just two NHL players to score at least 17 goals while averaging under 12 minutes of time on ice per game last year (Daniel Sprong was the other).

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    And based on other contracts around the league, that raise may very well be closer to what Frederic’s camp is seeking compared to the B’s filing, at least on the ‘AAV’ front. But in addition to the team simply seeking the most team-friendly deal possible, the Bruins’ number would indicate that they would like to see a larger sample size before buying in at an almost $3 million per year, especially after Frederic shot almost twice his career average in 2022-23.

  • Feb 18, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) waits for the puck against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 18, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) waits for the puck against the New York Islanders during the third period at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    Nailing down Frederic’s value on his next contract has always been tricky because of his production boom in 2022-23 (doing it on a historically good team didn’t exactly help), as well as his positional versatility as someone who can play both center and the wing. (Frederic can even play both the left and the right wing). And traditionally speaking, centers will make more than wingers, which adds another wrinkle to Frederic’s contract.

    And given the fact that the Bruins have already lost both Patrice Bergeron to retirement and Tomas Nosek to free agency — David Krejci’s expected departure would leave the Bruins down three centers from a year ago — it’s entirely possible that the left-shooting Frederic moves to center moving forward. That by all means all depends on how the Bruins utilize free-agent additions Morgan Geekie and Patrick Brown in 2023-24.

  • Dec 3, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) skates with the puck during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 3, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) skates with the puck during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    It’s worth noting that the Bruins did move Frederic to the middle in the playoffs when they were forced to play without Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in Games 3 and 4 down in Sunrise, but that Frederic took just one faceoff over that two-game run.

    That would perhaps be the chief concern when it comes to moving Frederic to center on anything resembling a full-time basis, as he’s yet to establish himself as a viable faceoff option at the NHL level, with wins in just 137 of his 312 career faceoffs (a 43.9 percent success rate at the dot).

    Another concern for the Bruins would be Frederic’s lack of playoff results. In fact, Frederic has found himself as a healthy scratch in two straight postseasons, and has yet to record a point in nine playoff games.

  • Jan 22, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) controls the puck during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 22, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Trent Frederic (11) controls the puck during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    But even with those concerns, Frederic had a habit of making almost everybody he played with better this past season. Charlie Coyle was a better player with Frederic than without him. Same for Taylor Hall.

    If Frederic has found his footing as a space-clearing forward who opens things up for his linemates, there’s immense value in that, and that eclipses $1.4 million per season. Especially for a Bruins team that’s going to have to deal with having to build new lines and finding new chemistry given their offseason losses.

    Should Frederic and the Bruins require arbitration, it’s likely that the arbitrator will meet the sides in the middle, and have Frederic check in at around $2 million or so.

    The Bruins have $6.96 million in projected cap space ahead of the hearings for both Swayman and Frederic.

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