The signing of winger Jesper Froden was a quiet one for the Boston Bruins, especially when they later went buckwild in NHL free agency and loaded up on new faces.
But keep an eye on the Swede.
Froden is playing in North America for the first time in his life, with the 26-year-old spending all of his pro hockey career to this point in Sweden. In the SHL, he started scoring like a madman, posting 22 goals and 18 assists in 52 games last season after potting 12 goals with 17 helpers in 49 contests the year before.
Couple that with a head-turning performance at the World Championships earlier in the summer, in which he posted three goals and one assist in five games, and you could say Froden is someone to watch this season with the Bruins.
But it’s tough to set expectations for these types of players since they are unknowns in the North American game.
“We have to be patient with where he is,” Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel said Wednesday over Zoom. “He’s never played across the pond, I think there’s going to be a little bit of time to get adjusted and acclimated to the size of the rink, the pace, the size of the guys, Obviously, expectations are higher, he had a fantastic year last year, I watched him in the Worlds, he had a great Worlds.
“Obviously, a pretty special player, somebody that’s going to push, and, again, somebody with that skill set and that vision that the Bruins seem to do an amazing job of finding. So, expectations are probably higher for him, not just based on his pro experience, but he’s had results. I think that’s a little bit different, we have more of an idea the identity of the player than some of these kids that are coming from junior and just trying to find their way.”
The Bruins have loaded up on depth at the forward position this offseason, and the addition of Froden shouldn’t be overlooked. It would be unfair to expect him to score at the pace he did back in the SHL, but there’s at least some proof that he can score as a professional.
He very well might start in the AHL, but the possibility exists that his game will transfer well to North America, in which case he would be a real find for the Bruins.