After fighting through nasty writer’s block and doing my research, it is finally time for a continuation on the Getting To Know series. I know I had said in the Alexander Fallstrom edition I was going to do Alexander Khokhlachev, but there is very very little one can say about Khoko which is one of the reasons I’ve been fighting writer’s block. So I am skipping over him for now to look at the possible “steal of the century” from Dallas we acquired for Tyler Seguin & Rich Peverly: Matt Fraser.
Name: Matt Fraser
Position: Left Wing
Matt Fraser entered the NHL as an unrestricted free-agent when he signed with the Dallas Stars after 6 seasons in the WHL where he played with the Red Dear Rebels and Kootenay Ice from 2006 – 2011. He had a breif 2 game stint with the Peoria Riverman of the AHL in 2009-10 but would end up finishing with the Kootenay Ice. He was signed by Dallas to a 3 year entry-level contract at the start of the 2011-12 season. He would play his first full professional season with the Texas Stars recording 37 goals and 18 assists for 55 points and finished a -13, he had a breif 1 game call up with Dallas during the season as well. The following season (2012-13) Fraser once again recorded a 30 goal season (33) and 13 assists for 46 points and finished a +13 as the Texas Stars made the playoffs. He also received a 12 game call up during the year recording 3 points during that time.
Fraser has been praised for his all around play in all ends of the ice, he also had a power-forward reputation in the WHL which is backed up by his three 100+ PIM seasons between 2008 – 2011. He is cited as having extraordinaire board play and has the potential to be a defensive yet tough top 6 forward in his future.
The Argument For Matt Fraser:
Where do we begin? Everyone from hockeysfuture.com to Dallas Stars blogs across the net have praised every angle of Fraser’s game. Although he wasn’t a point per game sensation like fellow Texas Stars teammate Alex Chiasson, he certainly is a monster offensively and with the right talent around him could shine. Oh and did I mention he scored his first NHL goal on a two time Vezina trophy finalist in Pekka Rinne?
His complete +/- turnaround with the Texas Stars (-13 to +13 in a season) is extraordinaire and he has definitely shown he has a scoring touch.. a very very dangerous scoring touch. He just barely hit 20 assists two seasons in a row and put up back to back 30+ goal seasons, that’s impressive. Although it is at the AHL level, it shows he has potential and again with the right people around him he could finally unlock that potential.
The Argument Against Matt Fraser:
Here’s the kicker.. there isn’t one.
I’ve locked everywhere and I mean everywhere for some argument against Fraser. You can make an argument against his lack of NHL experience putting up 3 points in 12 games might not be a lot but it’s a good start considering how bad Dallas was this past season. You can make an argument about how the AHL talent is different then the NHL talent, to which I respond take a look at Alex Chiasson and Cory Conacher. Both were AHL standouts and both managed to hold up some pretty good point scoring during the regular season.
The only small complaint I’ve found about Fraser was on a Dallas Stars blog “Defending Big D” in which they said his neutral zone play could be improved.. that’s it. Playing alongside a defensively minded Chris Kelly and the size of Carl Soderberg could be exactly what Fraser needs to have a break out year, and he certainly (if he isn’t already) be a top candidate for the third line spot come the 2013-14 season.
Fraser is a tough defensive forward who is strong along the boards and has a dangerous goal scoring touch. He made a complete turn around after having a -13 year with the Texas Stars to having a +13 year only one season later. He has shown potential in all ends of the ice and this change of scenery here in Boston might be just what the forward needs. Yes he is a left winger but that doesn’t seem like something that would stop him. He has been praised way to much to simply turn away from him just because of that. Having both lack of NHL / AHL experience and not being the right man for the position is one thing, but having experience at both levels and being highly talented and being one of the very few players outside of Top 3 draft picks with a B rating on hockeysfuture that I’ve ever seen, that’s saying something.
Fraser is one of two candidates who I definitely think will make the Bruins bottom 6 come October.