Matt Frattin‘s 2010-2011 collegiate season has been nothing short of spectacular and the nation’s leading goal scorer was officially recognized for it with WCHA Player of the Year honours. The Fighting Sioux senior has destroyed the stat sheet to the tune of 29 goals and 49 points in 37 games played, earning him the conference’s scoring title while amassing the most points by any North Dakota forward in 10 years. That’s actually one more goal than Matt scored in his entire first 3 NCAA seasons combined. Only 19 months ago, Frattin’s hockey career appeared to be in serious jeopardy when he was arrested for the second time by North Dakota police for a DUI, resulting in his dismissal from the school’s hockey programme. After being reinstated, he rebounded impressively to finish last season with 19 points in 24 games played, prompting myself to identify Matt as a big-time breakout candidate for 2011:
“Matt is a multi-talented player who can give you goal scoring ability while chipping in some physical play as well. Heâ€™s flying way under the radar right now, but donâ€™t be surprised if heâ€™s one of the names generating a ton of prospect buzz next season.”
Frattin could find himself with even more hardware at season’s end as he is amongst the favourites to win the Hobey Baker Award for the nation’s Most Outstanding Player. But for now, he will focus his attention on leading No. 1 ranked North Dakota to an NCAA title, starting with the WCHA playoffs against No. 12 seed Michigan State.
However, things could get interesting at season’s end. As a full four year commit, Frattin will find himself in the same situation as former Chicago prospect Bill Sweatt last summer. Although Frattin is still “technically” a Maple Leaf prospect, he will hold a ton of leverage in negotiations as he can simply choose to wait past the August deadline and become an unrestricted free agent. In addition to increased financial demands, Matt could also request a guaranteed NHL roster spot in the fall and the Sweatt negotiations showed that Burke is not fond of agents or players employing hardball tactics. Whatever the end result, Frattin’s journey to the NHL promises to be an intriguing storyline to follow.