Matt Frattin is now a Los Angeles King.
The important thing here… What do the Leafs lose, what can visiting Los Angeles Kings fans expect from him?
Frattin, as I’ve sure you’ve all heard, is a 25-year-old depth winger coming off a 7-goal/25-game performance in the shortened season. He’s spent the better part of two years jumping up and down between the Leafs and the Toronto Marlies, and for a Bottom Six winger has some pretty good shooting talent. He wasn’t a puck-possession specialist that the Kings really like to work for, but he should help the team out by getting into good shooting areas, and as a quick player who was very good at forechecking in Randy Carlyle’s system should nicely fit in a depth role on a Darryl Sutter puck-recovery system that likes to dump-and-chase a lot.
Last year I made the argument that Frattin was a replacement-level player, but compared to the actual replacement-level players that played worse than Frattin but more for some strange reason, he was pretty useful. At 25, he’s not going to develop into a player that can score 20 goals (he has 82 career games and 15 goals and that’s probably his offensive peak) and at just 1.7 shots per game, he’s not a type of player who is ever going to fit in an NHL Top Six in any significant role, particularly not in Los Angeles where he’ll be behind a bevy of quality wingers.
All that said, Frattin put up a relative Corsi of 11.9 last season as the Leafs took more shot attempts with him on the ice as opposed to off the ice. That’s a byproduct on playing mostly with Nazem Kadri. According to Left Wing Lock, the top three line combinations that Frattin belonged to also deployed Kadri. The first was with Leo Komarov as the opposite winger, the second was Clarke MacArthur and the third was Nik Kulemin.
Frattin and Kadri together put up a 48.8% Corsi rate. We don’t have quality of competition numbers spread with and without, but Frattin put up a 47.3% when he was away from Kadri. When he wasn’t with Kadri, his centreman was generally Mikhail Grabovski so you’d expect that Frattin saw his fair share of tough foes this season. The Leafs put up awful Corsi numbers this season so that percentage for Frattin isn’t reflective of his own ability, but generally the reality of the entire team and the collapsing defensive zone scheme employed by Randy Carlyle that generated a lot of shots against.
Overall, I’d suggest that Frattin isn’t a player that inhibits possession, but there isn’t a lot of evidence that he provides it, either. From Los Angeles’ perspective, he has some speed and finishing ability that the team doesn’t exactly have. For the Leafs, they’re unfortunately losing another one of their depth wingers to go with Leo Komarov and (likely) Clarke MacArthur.
The Leafs also spend probably their best trading chip in Frattin. He was an expendable player that had a lot of real good moments that made him a player that fans loved to dream on and scouts probably saw a little more in than Carlyle. He was a goalpost away from being the overtime hero in Game 4 of the Leafs’ playoff series against Boston, so his most memorable moment was the one in the screenshot above, his overtime buzzer beater in an early season game in Buffalo.
Like I said, he shows a lot on this play, but it’s not exactly the norm for him. He’s a useful player whose type will be missed in Toronto—a depth winger that could actually skate.