We’ve reached No. 18 in our annual countdown of the Penguins best prospects under the age of 25 and it’s newly signed junior free agent center Jordan Frasca making his debut on our list.
#18: Jordan Frasca; Center
2021 Ranking: N/A
Age: 21 (July 5, 2001)
Height/Weight: 6’2”/183 lbs.
Acquired Via: Signed as free agent (March 2022)
Coming off a monster season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, center Jordan Frasca agreed to a three-year entry level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1st and makes his debut on our annual ‘Top 25 Under 25’ list.
Originally undrafted, Frasca spent a season with the Windsor Spitfires before he moved on to Kingston where his development continued and his results improved each season. This past season was his best by far, posting 87 points in 61 games and another 12 points in an additional 10 playoff games.
Frasca, 20, has spent the 2021-22 season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League where he’s served as an alternate captain. In 44 games, the 6-foot-2, 184-pound center has recorded career highs across the board in goals (32), assists (33), points (65), plus/minus (+29), power-play goals (13) and game-winning goals (4). His 32 goals lead Kingston and rank fifth in the entire OHL, while his 13 power-play goals are second in the league. Frasca and teammate Shane Wright, who is projected to go first overall in the 2022 NHL Draft, have helped Kingston to the league’s fifth best record this year at 30-14-3.
A native of Caledon, Ontario, the left-handed shooting Frasca has appeared in 173 regular-season OHL games over four-plus seasons, accumulating 57 goals, 76 assists and 133 points split between Kingston and the Windsor Spitfires.
After spending four seasons at the junior level, Frasca will now continue his development in the pro ranks, beginning in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this coming season. Turning pro will be a brand new challenge for Frasca and will give the Penguins a glimpse into what they have in the highly touted free agent.
While his numbers last season were no doubt impressive, they did come against much younger competition than he will be facing once he arrives in Wilkes-Barre. There could be some growing pains early as he adjusts to the pro game, but once he find his footing there he will certainly be an interesting prospect to watch.
It feels repetitive at this point, but the Penguins farm system still ranks near or at the bottom of the league and any bodies they can get into the system and start developing something they need to do. Frasca helps the Penguins in that effort to rebuild the farm, bringing an offensive pedigree with him to a team desperately in need.
Per Seth Rorabaugh at the Trib:
Frasca was widely viewed as one of the top 15 (or even 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 larger priority ever since Ron Hextall took over as general manager.
In recent years, the Penguins haven’t had a great deal of luck in terms of undrafted free agents out of the junior ranks. The likes of Jean-Sebastien Dea, Sam Miletic and Jordy Bellerive have enjoyed only modest success as professionals. If Frasca were to reach the NHL in a sustained fashion, that would represent a welcome change for the organization.
As noted above, Frasca wasn’t just another run of the mill free agent when he became available last spring, he was one of the more highly sought after options on the junior free agent market and the Penguins were able to lock him down.
Where his career goes from here is anyone’s guess and it’s far from a sure thing that Frasca will ever make an impact at the NHL level, but given the current state of the Penguins system and his pedigree coming out of the junior ranks, Frasca becomes one of the more important prospects under control of the franchise and will be a player to keep an eye on the next few seasons.