Update: Claude Loiselle, Leafs‘ assistant GM and cap guru, tells MLHS the cap hit on Frattin’s deal is $1.3 million/year, and they will indeed burn a year of his two-year ELC by playing him tomorrow. He will therefore become an RFA after next season.
Worries about a contractual holdout by Matt Frattin in order to test the UFA waters on August 15 were nothing but Billy Sweatt paranoia. A day after his University of North Dakota team was eliminated from the Frozen Four, the former fourth-round pick in 2007 put pen to paper with the Maple Leafs on a two-year entry level contract. Frattin will join Joe Colborne in featuring in his first game as a Leaf and NHL player tomorrow night against the Habs. The Leafs will burn a year on the ELC by playing Frattin, as was the case with Merrimack’s Stephane Da Costa signing with and then playing for Ottawa. It is a concession on the part of the signing team that allows ex-college players to reduce their ELC term and bring their opportunity to sign a bigger contract a year closer after proving their worth in the NHL for a season.
Matt Frattin did not win the Hobey Baker (Andy Miele did) but that he was even in the running for an award that not only takes into account on-ice accomplishments but strength of character on and off the ice is telling of the dramatic turnaround in attitude this kid undertook that allowed his on-ice game to progress as it has this season. After his expulsion from the school due to drunken tomfoolery resulting in brush ups with the law (the final straw being a DUI, great story on Frattin’s travails here), Frattin was reinstated, focused himself and then let his play do the talking. Frattin scored 36 goals in 44 games for UND this season, the third most in Division I hockey in the past ten years. He led North Dakota in points, game-winning goals (6), powerplay goals (10) and shorthanded goals (3) – it was his contributions in all phases of the game that put him in the running for the Hobey Baker and should mean he can fill a variety of roles at the NHL level, depending on how well his offensive game translates. While not huge at 6 foot, 200 pounds, Frattin is a powerful player whose best asset is his shot. He can throw some bone-crunchers too.
Against Montreal we will probably see Joe Colborne between Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul while Frattin plays alongside Kadri and Bozak, or some combination thereof. Should be an exciting “future” night to polish off the season tomorrow night at the ACC.