Trent Frederic is on the mend.
The Boston Bruins bottom six bruiser has missed the last four games with a non-COVID illness. But he continues to progress, according to head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“He’s been back skating, so he has to get his conditioning back a little bit,” Cassidy said after Wednesday’s practice. “Had a little bit of an illness, so the lungs got to get back up to speed, then his legs have got to catch back up. So, that one will be a day-to-day thing.”
It’s up in the air if Frederic will play Thursday against the New York Islanders, but the B’s will have made some roster tweaks when he does eventually return.
Boston also added Curtis Lazar in the trade for Taylor Hall, and Lazar made his debut Tuesday by centering the fourth line. Chris Wagner was on his right, with Sean Kuraly in Frederic’s typical spot on the left wing.
“We’re going to leave the top three lines alone right now,” Cassidy said. “It’s a bit of a four-headed monster for three spots. So, we’ll see. Maybe it’ll be matchup-dictated, just getting each one of them some work, then eventually you’re going to play the guys that do the best job.”
Frederic is a natural center, and so too is Lazar and Kuraly. Lazar and Wagner are right shots, and Frederic and Kuraly are lefties.
So, if the Bruins build the bottom line based on handedness, there are a few options.
The fourth line has been a big part of successful Bruins teams. They had a similar situation in 2019 with Joakim Nordstrom, Kuraly, Wagner and Noel Acciari. Then there was the Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton merlot line in 2011.
Boston has about a month to figure out which combo it thinks will give them similar production in 2021.