Perhaps the rookie that will have the most immediate impact for the Boston Bruins during the upcoming season will be Matt Fraser.
The Red Deer, Alberta native (what a great name for a town), was acquired by the Bruins as part of the Tyler Seguin deal and had a productive year last year for the Providence Bruins, posting 30 points in 44 games. He also appeared in 14 regular season games for Boston, netting two goals.
But Fraser was truly introduced to the Bruins faithful during game four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against hated rival, Montreal. Fraser, having only been called up the day before, scored the lone goal of the game, in overtime—his first career playoff goal. And did I mention he did all of that with a broken right foot.
This year, the right-winger enters the season with high expectations, and with the Bruins in need of a capable third line forward, Fraser seems to be the logical choice. Fraser’s size, aggressiveness and good hands will complement Carl Soderberg’s style of play nicely and should provide Fraser with lots of opportunities to showcase his skills and hopefully light the lamp.
Fraser is also making an impression on his coach, and according to Comcast Sportsnet, Claude Julien had this to say of Fraser during camp, “it’s not a secret. It’s pretty obvious that he’s making a statement…if he plays the way he has on a consistent basis then I don’t think anyone is going to keep him out of this league.”
As the Bruins have learned over the past few seasons the third line can be the difference between hoisting the cup and playing golf in June. Fraser has the potential to solidify the Bruins third line and maintain the productivity we saw from that line last season.
Fraser fits the mold of a Bruins player; he is big, physical and has good offensive instincts. So as he develops this year, don’t be surprised if you see yourself confusing Milan Lucic with the young forward—even if it is just for a brief moment.