Maple Leaf prospect Matt Frattin is drawing plenty of headlines this summer… but unfortunately, it’s for the wrong reasons. For the second time this summer, the University of North Dakota forward was arrested by local police, and this latest incident resulted in Frattin’s dismissal from the school’s men’s hockey program.
Matt Frattin was arrested and charged on Wednesday for driving under the influence, and it was later announced that he had been dismissed due to a violation of team rules. University of North Dakota’s head coach Dave Hakstol explained that there are certain responsibilities and expecations that all of the school’s athletes must adhere to, and the latest series of incidents involving Frattin have put the program in a tough position. He did note however, that there exists the possibility for Matt’s situation to be revisited prior to the 2010-2011 season.
The first time Frattin made headlines this summer was a few weeks ago in late July, when he and former University of Dakota teammate Joe Finley, a 2005 1st round pick of the Washington Capitals, were charged with several misdemeanor counts. Both young men were charged with disorderly conduct for throwing several objects including a kitchen table and a lawnmower onto the street. Matt was also charged with fleeing the scene and received a 10-day suspended sentence and 1 year probation, but it doesn’t seem like he learned his lesson.
The 21 year old Frattin, a native of Alberta, is a junior at North Dakota and had shown glimpses of offensive promise across two seasons in the NCAA. Matt was drafted in the 4th round, 99th overall in 2007 by the Maple Leafs, out of the AJHL and was recently pegged as the team’s 16th best prospect by the HF ratings Alec recently linked to. Frattin scored 15 points in 43 games played as a college freshman and followed that up with a 25 point campaign last season. He seemed primed for a breakout year for the Fighting Sioux this upcoming year, so it’s certainly unfortunate for all parties involved.
Frattin’s options right now are fairly limited: he is too old to come over and play in the CHL and would have to sit out a year regardless what school he attends in the NCAA. He could always draw a contract from the Maple Leafs in an effort to continue his hockey development with either the Marlies or the Royals, but it seems unlikely at this point that Burke would risk one of his 50 pro contracts on a player with so many question marks. Keep in mind Burke did not even extend a contract to Hobey Baker candidate Chad Rau, who scored at a point-a-game rate over his last two seasons in the NCAA.
Right now it’s hard to imagine Frattin’s latest string of incidents boding too well for his future with the Maple Leafs organization, which has made it a point to seek out players of a certain character. However, as evidenced by late blooming NCAA prospects like Toronto’s own Tyler Bozak and Viktor Stalberg, it’s always a shame to see talent go to waste. Thus far, Burke has been quick to send off players raising any sort of controversy (see Pogge and Stralman), so it should be interesting to see how he approaches this situation.