Badgers men’s hockey: Trent Frederic searches for offensive rhythm
It was not a demotion, University of Wisconsin men’s hockey coach Tony Granato said, to list Trent Frederic as centering the third line on Sunday.
Yes, it was the first time in 17 games this season that Frederic, a sophomore first-round NHL draft pick, has appeared anywhere on the line chart but in the middle of the top group of forwards.
And yes, the move came a day after Frederic’s line was minus-3 in a jarring loss to Mercyhurst.
So you can argue about appearances and semantics, but Granato wasn’t buying talk of it being a downgrade.
“Trent Frederic’s an elite player. Right now, he’s having trouble offensively getting going,” Granato said. “He’s not in the rhythm that he was in last year.”
After leading the Badgers with 1.1 points per game in an award-winning freshman campaign, Frederic’s average is 0.76 nearly halfway through this regular season.
He’s in a goal-scoring slump, with just one goal in his last nine games.
Part of the struggle this season, Granato said, is because opposing teams are focusing on the Boston Bruins first-round pick.
When Frederic was the Big Ten Conference rookie of the year last season, Luke Kunin was the Badgers’ offensive leader and drew a lot of the attention that Frederic is now seeing.
Frederic has expressed frustrations this season in not being able to produce to the high standards he has for himself. It’s part of the maturing process for the 19-year-old to understand that he doesn’t have to score on every shift, Granato said.
“I think it’ll come,” Granato said. “It’s something he’s got to fight through. Last year, things just came to him and it was relatively easy because it was consistent right from the get-go of his college career. This year, it’s been a little bit more of a struggle.”
Granato said there might be some “minor adjustments” to the lines when the Badgers play at No. 7 Minnesota on Friday and Saturday. Frederic played on Sunday with Matthew Freytag and Sean Dhooghe, with the line generating 21 of UW’s 65 even-strength shot attempts.