One On One With Jeff Frazee

During today’s media day, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Frazee, the New Jersey Devils top goaltending prospect.

Drafted in the 2nd round in 2005, Frazee often struggled during his collegiate career at Minnesota, and will likely be the subject of some media attention this year in Trenton.

I asked Frazee about those struggles at Minnesota, his experience at NHL training camp this year, and making the adjustment to the pro game in our interview…

Mike Ashmore: The Devils picked you in the second round back in 2005.  Take me back to draft day, what was that like for you?

Jeff Frazee: “It was a lot of fun.  It was during the lockout year, and I was sitting at home just trying to see where I’d get picked, waiting for a call.  I got a call from one of my buddies, who knew I was drafted before I did, and then I got a call from (then-Devils scouting director) David Conti.”

Ashmore: I’ve read a lot of different things about your experience on the ice at Minnesota.  How would you categorize your time there?

Frazee: “I don’t think I played as well as I wanted to.  I just didn’t play as well as I wanted to and I could have done a lot better there.  But I’m not there anymore, and it’s a new start for me.  I’m looking forward to that.”

Ashmore: What did you attribute not playing as well as you could have there?  I’ve read stuff like it was the pressure of being picked, the pressure of being in a big-time program…

Frazee: “I don’t think it was any of that.  I don’t think I went into games the way I normally went into them.  It was just a different three years for me that I hadn’t seen out of myself before.”

Ashmore: You played in the one game with Lowell last season and have only had a little while to get ready in training camp and the ECHL preseason.  Do you anticipate the adjustment to the pro game being difficult?

Frazee: “I think I can adjust quickly, I don’t think the pace will be a problem.  I think, if anything, it will help me.  There’s a few things that I’ll have to adjust to, but other than that, I’m looking forward to it and I’m feeling very confident.

Ashmore: I’m sure you’ve seen your name in some of the hockey magazines listed as one of the top prospects in the Devils organization.  Is that something that you pay attention to at all?

Frazee: “No, I just want to go out there and get better every day.  Get better in every practice, get better in every workout and just take it day by day and not look too far ahead.”

Ashmore: Getting to attend your first NHL training camp this year with the Devils, what was that like for you?

Frazee: “That was a lot of fun.  You see a lot of the big name players that you grew up watching.  I mean, I grew up watching Marty (Brodeur), and it was quite an honor just to meet with him and be in the same locker room as him.”

Ashmore: Did you try to pick Brodeur’s brain at all during camp?

Frazee: “We didn’t really get into too much detail.  I was there for maybe a month before training camp started, and he was there for a bit and he was on the ice.  Just being on the ice with him and just seeing how he played, you can just take things from his game and try to implement them in your game.”

Ashmore: Is there any goaltender that you idolized while you were growing up, or someone that you tried to model your game after?

Frazee: “I don’t think I idolized anyone, I just watched.  You look for the best names and the best goalies, and he was always up there.”

Ashmore: The Trenton Devils had two preseason games this season, of which you got to play in one and backup Jason Smith for the other.  I know it’s a small sample size, but were you able to get a feel for this team at all from those two games?

Frazee: “I think we’re going to be very good.  I think we have a lot of skill up front, and I think we’re pretty solid on D.  I think if I do my job, it’ll be a very successful season.”

Ashmore: There was a lot of talk about where you’d end up this season.  There were some people who thought playing fewer games in Lowell, but against better competition might be better for your development than playing more games here against slightly lower competition.  What were your own expectations coming into this season as far as where you were going to go?

Frazee: “I didn’t really have any expectations.  Wherever I was placed, I just wanted to get better and work my hardest day in and day out.  I wanted to improve as a player and as a person.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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