Penguins from A to Z: Jordan Frasca strengthens the depth of the organization in the center

As the Penguins’ 2021-22 season ends quickly in the first round of the playoffs, the Tribune-Review will give the Penguins an A-Z, player-by-player look at the 54 people signed to an NHL contract – including those whose deals don’t start until the 2022-23 season — with the organization, from mid-level prospect Niclas Almari to top-six winger Jason Zucker.

Jordan Frasca

Position: Center

Shots: Left

Age: 20

Height: 6 feet 2 inches

Lester: 184 pounds

2021-22 OHL statistics: 61 games, 87 points (42 goals, 45 assists)

Contract: Beginning of the first year of an entry-level three-year contract with a salary cap of $859,167. Awaiting restricted free agent in the 2025 offseason.

Acquired: Signing of an undrafted free agent, March 1, 2022

Last season: Frasca haven’t exactly come out of nowhere in terms of putting up showy attacking numbers in the 2021-22 campaign.

Although he was not drafted, he was on the radar of NHL teams and attended the Toronto Maple Leafs development camp in September 2021.

But before his productive overseason with the Kingston Frontenacs in 2021-22, Frasca never even came close to posting a point per game. His most recent 2019-20 season saw him appear in 58 Ontario Hockey League games and amass a modest 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists).

(To note: The 2020-21 OHL season has been canceled due to Ontario laws related to covid19.)

With the emergence of fellow forward Shane Wright – expected to be a top pick in the upcoming NHL Draft – as Frontenac’s top center, Frasca was able to benefit from lesser defensive assignments from the opposition and succeeded in his Numbers career.

As an alternate captain, Frasca was second on the team in total goals and led the team with 17 power-play goals.

After signing with the Penguins, Frasca led the Frontenacs to a third-place finish in the OHL Eastern Conference. Playing in 10 playoff games, Frasca had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) as the Frontenacs were eliminated in the second round.

The future: Frasca was widely regarded as one of the top 15 (or even top 10) undrafted prospects available to sign this spring. So getting him under contract is something of a small triumph for the Penguins, who have made finding undrafted prospects a slightly higher priority since Ron Hextall took over as general manager.

Over the past few years, the Penguins haven’t had much luck in terms of undrafted free agents in the junior ranks. The likes of Jean-Sebastien Dea, Sam Miletic and Jordy Bellerive enjoyed only modest success as professionals. If Frasca were to make it to the NHL on a sustained basis, it would be a welcome change for the organization.

But it’s still years away from that being a possibility.

Frasca, who turns 21 next month, put up big numbers in his final junior season at 20, playing against mostly younger competitors. He will face a significantly different challenge skating against adult men in the pro ranks next season, likely with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL).

He has a certain size and is very capable of creating offense for himself and his linemates, especially around the cage. His skating is a bit behind, but that may improve once he starts his professional career.

For the Penguins, Frasca’s presence bolsters the depth of the organization at center where there is a considerable drop off beyond the NHL roster.

Follow the Penguins throughout the season.

Seth Rorabaugh is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Aubrey L. Morgan