Although the Bruins lost their first preseason game this past Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens, there was a bright spot. Forward Matt Fraser scored a beauty of a goal coming from top line center David Krejci to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. The B’s would go on to lose the game 3-2 but people certainly took notice to Fraser’s shot from the slot beating Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski. The shot even gained praise from Krejci with him saying: “He’s got a gift, you know? He’s a perfect shooter.” Not only did Fraser score but he also had seven shot attempts, a good sign he is throwing pucks at the net and getting more involved in the offensive zone.
The Bruins currently have three forward spots open but with the eventual return of second line holdout Reilly Smith, just two spots will be open by the regular season. Fraser is certainly making his case and if he can continue that scoring touch, there will be no doubt of him making the team. Fraser was the hero in Montreal this past spring with his overtime goal in game four of the series. Hopefully his luck will continue on this year.
Fraser was apart of the Tyler Seguin to Dallas trade last summer and although Loui Eriksson was the main part coming back to Boston both Fraser and Smith are certainly in the Bruins plans going forward. Like Krejci said, Fraser is a very good shooter. He proved that in two seasons with the Texas Stars, Dallas’ AHL affiliate, as he scored 50 goals in two seasons. He also scored another 20 goals for the Providence Bruins this past season.
If Fraser does manage to make the roster, he would most likely see time on the third line with center Carl Soderberg and winger Chris Kelly. Soderberg is a great passer that will undoubtedly feed Fraser when he is open and Kelly is also more of a playmaker so that line could definitely be something of a scoring line for the Bruins. Fraser saw time with Soderberg in the playoffs with Loui Eriksson. Eriksson is expected to take the first line spot vacany which was left by Jarome Iginla. The loss of Iginla’s goal scoring ability will surely be missed the Bruins will need goals wherever they can find them and Fraser could absolutely attribute to that need.
Only time will tell if Fraser makes the roster. There are other options the Bruins could go with. Those players being veteran winger Simon Gagne or Veille Leino, AHL-ers Ryan Spooner, Alex Kokhlachev, Seth Griffith, Justin Florek, Brian Ferlin or even first round draft pick David Pastrnak. Both Fraser and Spooner seem the most NHL ready but with Spooner’s need to improve defensively, it would be hard to pick against Fraser at this point in time. Things could change throughout camp but as of right now Fraser is very likely to be in the black and gold come Wednesday October 8th.