Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Czech, Mate. The Jets may have traded for a king

Last nights game versus the Edmonton Oilers featured 4 players who hail from the Czech Republic. Early it looked like Ales Hemsky was going to best his country men with a great start with Taylor Hall on the top line. Ondrej Pavelec fought the puck all night and Ladi Smid will never be on the highlight reels. The best Czech last night was easily Michael Frolik who notched 2 goals including the game winner late in the 3rd period. Frolik was one of my wild cards heading into the season and if last night was any indication, he may be the trade of the summer. 

Drafted in the first round, 10th overall by Florida in 2006, Frolik has never consistently shown enough to cover the bet for a top 10 pick. Frolik was a good scoring player in junior, albeit missing several games per season. His point per game average was 1.42 and scored 55 goals over 2 years. His first two seasons in the NHL were very promising as well, scoring 21 goals in both seasons. What happened after that is typical Florida. Frolik stalled, the program stalled, and chaos reigned supreme.  

In 2011, Frolik needed a change of scenery and was traded to Chicago for once heralded prospects Jack Skille and Hugh Jessiman and it was a dream come true for Frolik. Asked to play a checking role in the bottom six of the roster took all the pressure off and allowed him to focus on defending. Frolik never scored more than 5 goals for Chicago in the regular season but that was not his role. The 3 goals he scored in the playoff were far more important and was a big reason why Chicago won the Stanley Cup.

Success cost the Hawks though as decisions needed to me made on a few free agents and as a result, Frolik was moved to the Jets for a 3rd and 5th round pick as his 2.3 million dollar cap was a luxury they could not afford. The Jets lacking depth were only too happy to bring Frolik in and increase his role and responsibility. Playing on a line with Olli Jokinen and James Wright last night, it was Frolik who was key for the Jets. If they get any offence from the 3rd line and the new second line covers the bet, they are in fantastic shape. Jokinen had a hard time last season clicking with any wingers and has clearly lost a step. If he gels with Frolik, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will be grinning from ear to ear.


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