- ROOKIE REPORT: THE LUCIC TRADE
- Jun 14, 2018
Jun 14, 2018
ROOKIE REPORT: THE LUCIC TRADE
When the Boston Bruins traded Milan Lucic to the LA Kings in 2015, the organization got what turned out to be a huge haul for him. Among the assets they collected was the 13th overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, a pick they used on defenseman Jakub Zboril. Boston also acquired Colin Miller and Martin Jones, but flipped Jones to the San Jose Sharks for Sean Kuraly and the 29th overall pick in the 2016 draft that became Trent Frederic. P-Bruin fans have already seen Miller and Kuraly skate at the Dunk for Providence before going onto the NHL, though it likely won’t be long before Zboril and Frederic reach that level after the seasons they put forth in 2017-18.
Zboril began his first pro season with Providence after three years in the QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs. He brought his shutdown-defense mentality to the P-Bruins blue line right away as he was not afraid to hit, check or be physical with opponents. That aspect of his game was on display throughout the season even when he was not contributing on the offensive end. Despite not registering a single point through 17 career games, he still posted a plus-nine rating and never had a negative rating in any game.
Once he recorded his first point on December 3, things started to click offensively for the 21-year old. He scored all 19 of his season points (four goals, 15 assists) over the final 51 games of the season, but he also experienced some growing pains. From the end of February until the end of the regular season he posted a minus-seven rating despite scoring eight points over that time. He was much better during the playoffs defensively and overall during the season showed why he was the first of three straight first round draft picks by Boston.
Consistency, as it is for many young defenders, remains the biggest area Zboril needs to improve upon next season. He certainly has the size and physicality to play in the NHL, it is just a matter of putting everything together from night to night. As a left-shot, there could be an opening in Boston for him if he has a strong camp since Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug are the only left-shot defensemen under contract for next season. He played top-four minutes all season long and saw each opponent’s top forward lines, so look for him to make a big impact with Providence and/or his NHL debut in 2018-19.
Frederic is the last piece of the Lucic trade to appear professionally, but once he got to Providence he was one of their most effective forwards. After his sophomore season at Wisconsin, Frederic signed a 3-year entry level deal with Boston on March 13, 2018 and an ATO with the P-Bruins that same day. During his first pro shift against Bridgeport he earned his first pro point and over 13 games put up five goals and eight points.
Right away Frederic played a physical game, driving hard to the net and getting under the skin of the other team. His style agitated opponents but the 20-year old never backed away from anyone. He battled hard for pucks, delivered hits and showed off his offensive ability regardless of what line he was on. Due to injuries, he had a chance to center all four lines for Providence and was an effective playmaker in each situation. He likely will begin his first full pro season next year with the P-Bruins, but if his audition was any indication this is a player that is close to reaching Boston and could do so as early as 2018.
Even though the organization has not got to reap the benefits of Colin Miller’s success (he led Vegas Golden Knights defenders in scoring this season) due to the expansion draft, it is hard to argue that they didn’t get great value for one year of control on Lucic’s contract. At the end of the day, the trade is as follows: Boston traded Lucic for Zboril, Frederic, Kuraly and Miller. Kuraly endeared himself to Boston fans during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with his game winning overtime goal and followed that up with a strong season as the Bruin’s fourth line center. Zboril and Frederic are looking like they will be ready to hit the NHL scene soon after the years they put up in Providence, so next year may be the year the organization truly gets to see the benefit of the trade with their promising rookies.
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The Providence Bruins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, playing their home games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Spanning more than 25 years, the Boston/Providence affiliation is one of the longest and most successful player development partnerships in professional hockey history.
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