It's a banner year for the youth development in the city of St. Louis, which could see as many as three local products--Matt Tkachuk, Logan Brown, and Clayton Keller--all taken within the first ten picks of this year's Draft, and another, Luke Kunin, also taken in the first round. But there is a fifth player from St. Louis that doesn't get as much attention, but is also likely to be taken within the first 60-75 picks of this year's Draft in NTDP forward Trent Frederic.
Player: Trent Frederic
Team: US NTDP U18
Height: 6'2" Weight: 203 lbs.
Stats: 61 games, 20 goals, 20 assists, 40 points
Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 47th among North American skaters
What I Like:
Frederic's best asset has always been his smooth hands. He's got the ability to make difficult plays in traffic and is really tough to stop in 1-on-1 situations because of his ability to handle the puck.
-Scoring threat from anywhere
Frederic has a heavy snap shot that he can use to beat goalies from distance. This first clip is a shot from almost at the half boards, while the second is a clean one-timer for a goal.
But he also has a willingness to go the net and score dirty goals off tip-ins and deflections. In this first clip, Frederic drives the net and is able to get a stick on a pass to tip the puck in.
In the next clip, Frederic gets to the front of the net at the right time and tips a puck in out of mid-air past the goalie.
What I Don't Like:
-Slow foot speed
I really like Frederic's weight transfer on his edges when he's attacking with the puck, and I think he's got a decent first step, but Frederic's lack of speed is going to be what keeps him out of the first round of the Draft. He's very good stickhandling in traffic, which is good, because he lacks the breakaway speed to create separation from defenders.
-Can he make the jump?
I'm a bit torn on this one. I really liked Frederic when I saw the NTDP play against NCAA teams this past winter, which is usually a good sign for how a player will adjust to the next level, but I thought Frederic had a really bad World U18s tournament. He racked up points in blowouts, but wasn't a factor in the toughest match-ups for the United States. His lack of skating ability might neutralize him and make him ineffective against the speed he'll see at the pro level.
Central Scouting projects him at the tail-end of the second round and I'm mostly in agreement. Just based on performance this year, he's probably closer to a third round pick, especially after he underwhelmed at the World U18s, but the intrigue of a good-sized centerman with lots of offensive upside is likely enough to push him higher in the Draft.
Frederic flirted with the Niagara Ice Dogs, who hold his OHL rights a bit last summer, and St. Louis-area kids seem to have a higher propensity for ending up in the OHL, but with the excellent new staff at the University of Wisconsin, Frederic seems likely to keep his commitment to the Badgers. He should slot into a scoring line role right away for Wisconsin, and with a few years to mature and hopefully become a little faster, Frederic should be a nice pro prospect. His ceiling is likely as a second line center at the NHL level. He could make an intriguing third line center that provides some nice secondary scoring punch in a more defensive role.