CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10: Michael Frolik #67 of the Chicago Blackhawks slides across the ice after scoring a goal in the 2nd period against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on April 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Frolik
As the Hawks muddled through the middle of the season, never quite getting hot while never quite going totally cold either, Hawks fans hoped and prayed for a trade that would light a fire underneath a sensitive area for them. One of the favorite pasttimes for hockey fans is discussing possible trades and acquisitions that could help the team. With the Hawks clearly needing a jump, there was endless debate on who the Hawks should go get an who they should lose. While Jack Skille's name frequently came up as launch-material, Michael Frolik wasn't one that we saw coming. He wasn't the big forward we had craved, but we looked at his age and two 20-goal seasons and thought he might be an answer if not the answer. Was he? You could make a case for both sides.
Positives: There is an unquestioned hands on Frolik. He's patient with the puck, and can pick a pass when given time. He also appears to have a set of stones on him, as no matter how much the Canucks knocked him around in the playoffs he kept coming back for more. Evidence of that also exists in his burying a penalty shot in the 3rd period of Game 6 that the Hawks had to have. Miss that, and the series is probably over. Frolik's defensive IQ is also pretty high, as he's always in the right spot. Could be a decent penalty killer in time. Though they only got about four games together, Hawks fans get pretty excited at the music that Frolik and Dave Bolland could potentially make together down the line.
Negatives: There's enough on this side as well. First, his packaging, as when he was acquired GM Stan Bowman told everyone that he could play center and he may end up there, which was news to Frolik himself. When deployed in the middle, he frequently looked lost. And when he didn't look lost, he was trying to do too much and either lost the puck or fired wildly from odd angles that ended possession. Frolik was snakebit all season, as his shooting percentage in his first two years in Florida were over 9.5% but dipped down below 4% this season. He clearly was pressing as the goals didn't come as often as he was used to. Frolik wasn't very good on the power play either, ranking as the worst Hawk forward with the man-advantage. A little on the small side, Frolik could get overpowered in the bigger Western Conference.
Contract Status: Restricted Free-Agent
Keep Him or Ship Him: The Hawks catch a break in one aspect of Frolik's goal-drop, in that he should be less expensive now. Frolik isn't even arbitration eligible, and it's unlikely there are any offer sheets coming for him. Considering he should come in at a reasonable $1.5 million or so, Fro is a definite keeper. While he's probably not top six material on a Cup champion, he certainly fits in on the third line alongside Bolland, where his two way game will flourish and provide more scoring from that area than most teams get. Could improve, still only 23, to the point where he could be a top forward. As long as he's kept on a wing, only moving to center in an emergency, Frolik can really help a team.