Frattin headed back to Toronto

Former Hobey Baker Award finalist Matt Frattin is headed back to his original NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After spending last season on the move — from Toronto to Los Angeles to Columbus — the Blue Jackets have sent Frattin back to Toronto in exchange for Leafs forward Jerry D’Amigo.

The Leafs still had to sign Frattin — a restricted free agency whose rights were retained with a qualifying offer — and they did just that on Tuesday. Frattin’s deal with the Leafs is for two years.

Frattin made his NHL debut with the Leafs at the end of the 2010-11 season. He played the next two seasons with the Leafs as well. Last year, he was traded to the Kings before the start of the season, then dealt to the Blue Jackets at the trading deadline.

For his career, Frattin has played in 126 NHL games and has tallied 17 goals and 35 points.

Farewell to Bakken and Stennes

The Herald lost 75 years of experience today with the retirements of columnist Ryan Bakken and photographer John Stennes. You’ve surely seen their work throughout the years in regards to covering UND hockey.

Bakken was the sports editor before moving to news columnist, so a lot of his UND hockey work was before my time. I do remember hearing a story about Bakken and Virg Foss running up the down escalator at the 1987 Frozen Four in Detroit.

Bakken also was sent to Milwaukee to cover the 2006 Frozen Four via blog. It was the first time the Herald did something like that and I thought it was great stuff. If you want to re-read it, the blog still lives here.

I’ve worked more closely with Stennes over the years. We’ve been on a few road trips together, too.

John traveled to one regular-season hockey series in my time to shoot, and the Herald picked a pretty good one. UND swept Minnesota in Minneapolis for the first time in nearly 20 years. That series had it all, including a dominant performance from Ryan Duncan, Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie.

In fact, Stennes captured this photo that I still see posted today (sorry about the color being a little off, John). Robbie Bina, who scored a goal from about 170 feet that weekend, also is in the picture.

Erik Fabian, who had Minnesota’s number throughout his career, also scored a pair of goals that weekend. And being a former teammate of Matt Greene, he knew how to get facetime.

The one thing John and I will always remember from that series was walking from our hotel to Mariucci Arena between buildings on campus with the most incredible wind gust flying through the buildings as we walked backwards.

John and I also covered one regional together. We went to Green Bay in 2011. The trip ended up being one of the nicest ever. We went on the team charter, which was filled with first-class seats the entire length of the plane. It was a quick and easy flight to Green Bay.

UND ended up playing the regional final at 4:30 p.m. We covered the game and got home by 11 p.m. That spoiled travel forever for me.

UND beat RPI in the first game 6-0, then knocked out Denver 6-1 in the championship. Stennes got this shot of Danny Kristo scoring against RPI that weekend.

John and I covered one Frozen Four together — 2007 in St. Louis. I remember eating at Calico’s in downtown St. Louis every night when we were done with our work. That’s also where we found out that Duncan would win the Hobey Baker.

John didn’t only shoot men’s hockey. He also shot women’s hockey and covered the first-ever game of the Lamoureux Era. Monique had 2 goals, 2 assists and 13 shots on goal in a 5-4 upset of Boston University.

At his going away gathering on Friday, I asked John a few questions about covering UND hockey. Did he have a favorite team to cover? A favorite player to cover? A favorite story about covering the team?

He said his favorite players were from the early 1980s — the Marc Chorney, Phil Sykes, Mark Taylor era.

His favorite story was from the 1980 Frozen Four in Providence.

After the game, the NCAA has a mandatory cooling off period for the teams, where journalists are not allowed to do interviews. There was an NCAA rep standing next to the door making sure that nobody broke the rules.

All the sudden, the locker room door swings open and trainer A.G. Edwards walks out. He points and Stennes and says, “Gino wants to see you.” Stennes walks in the locker room and head coach Gino Gasparini said, “There you go,” and let him shoot.

Of course, he got unbelievable stuff — shots that nobody else had. He had a shot of Travis Dunn, sitting in his stall, crying with joy.

Unfortunately, our photographers lost everything in the 1997 flood and fire. But that memory always stuck with him.

We will definitely miss Bakken and Stennes, personally and professionally. They brought a lot to our paper, our readers and their co-workers.

So, here’s one last Stennes shot that you will see posted all over every time UND and Minnesota play each other in hockey.

Frattin traded to Columbus

Former UND All-American Matt Frattin has been traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Jackets acquired Frattin in exchange for Marian Gaborik as part of an NHL trading deadline deal.

Frattin never really got things going with the Kings, where he played in 40 games, scoring two goals and tallying six points. He was in-and-out of the lineup at the end of his tenure there.

Frattin was originally picked up by the Kings in the Jonathan Bernier trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Seven UND players named in AJHL’s top 50

The AJHL named its top 50 players of all-time on Sunday night and seven former UND players are on the list.

Two of them are from the most recent decade — Matt Frattin and Corban Knight.

Other UND members on the list are Gary Valk, Dixon Ward, Troy Murray, Perry Berezan and Rick Zaparniuk. Five of the seven of the UND players to make the list have played in the NHL. Only Zaparniuk and Knight have not — and Knight’s probably not far away.

See the full list on the AJHL site here.

Frattin and Knight, both Hobey Baker Award finalists at UND, played in the AJHL during the 2004-13 era. Valk and Ward are from the 1984-93 era. Murray and Berezan were from the 1974-83 era. Zaparniuk played in the AJHL in the late 1970s.

Frattin traded to Kings

Matt Frattin is headed to Hollywood.

The former Hobey Bakey finalist from UND was traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday along with former Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens. The Leafs received goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

Frattin has played part of three seasons with the Leafs, tallying 15 goals in 82 games. The Edmonton native has one year left on his contract and is scheduled to be paid $950,000. It is a one-way deal.

The Kings had ample opportunity to watch Frattin play during his college years as Frattin was teammates with Brett Hextall for three years. Brett’s father, Ron, is the assistant general manager of the Kings.

It was also believed that former Leafs GM Brian Burke was unwilling to part with Frattin in trade talks. Now that Burke is gone, Frattin has been moved.

In Los Angeles, Frattin will become a teammate with former UND defenseman and captain Matt Greene. Frattin’s old UND teammate, Derek Forbort, also is a member of the Kings’ organization.

Frattin off to strong start

Matt Frattin got sent down to start the season and missed the first three games. He has played in the last three with the Leafs and is already the team’s leading goal scorer and is one point shy of leading the team in overall scoring.

He got there thanks to his two-goal performance Tuesday night, which included his overtime winner with less than two seconds remaining. The video is below.

Frattin out for four months

Matt Frattin scored his AHL playoff-leading 10th goal to clinch the Toronto Marlies’ series victory over Oklahoma City in the semifinals.

But that goal will cost him the next four months.

Frattin suffered a season-ending knee injury that will force him to have surgery. Damien Cox of the Toronto Star reported that the surgery is expected to keep Frattin out for the next four months, which means he will miss training camp.

The Calder Cup Finals between Toronto and the Norfolk Admirals will begin Friday night.

Frattin played most of the season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring eight goals and 15 points in 56 games for the Leafs. General manager Brian Burke moved Frattin and Jake Gardiner back to the AHL for the playoff run at the end of the season.

Frattin is a restricted free agent this summer. Look for the Leafs to lock him up, as Burke is a big fan.

Frattin leads Marlies to Calder Cup Finals

Matt Frattin’s Beast Mode has hit the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Frattin scored two goals to give the Toronto Marlies a 3-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup Finals (Chris VandeVelde scored the lone goal for the Barons).

Frattin leads the AHL playoffs in goals with 10, and he was trending on Twitter in all of Canada after his two-goal performance in Game 3.

The Marlies will take on the Norfolk Admirals, who I believe are 39-3 in the last 42 games and big favorites to win the Calder Cup.

But the Maple Leafs put Frattin and Jake Gardiner, who are NHL players, in with the Marlies for the playoff run and they are 11-2 in the playoffs.

Frattin is being talked about as a leading candidate for MVP honors at this point.

Frattin scores first NHL goal

Former Sioux standout Matt Frattin scored his first NHL goal tonight for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.

Former Denver forward Joe Colborne fed Frattin, who was flying up the right wing. Frattin snapped a shot top shelf on the stick side of Tomas Vokoun.

Interestingly enough, Dillon Simpson’s dad, Craig, was calling the game for CBC and immediately dropped a North Dakota Fighting Sioux reference and talked about how it was a vintage Frattin goal. He would know.