What initially seemed like a big win for the Chicago Blackhawks, the trade with the Florida Panthers that brought Michael Frolik and Alexander Salak to Chicago is now a complete wash on both sides. The only question now on the side of the Blackhawks is what will become of Michael Frolik.
Though he had a quiet start, statistically, with the Blackhawks in 2010-11, a big first round series against the Vancouver Canucks set the bar pretty high for Frolik. For a variety of reasons, he came nowhere near those expectations.
After signing his new three-year contract last summer, Frolik spent the year bouncing around in the bottom six, and some head games courtesy of Joel Quenneville landed him in the press box for much of the spring.
In the playoffs, Frolik got a shot to play and performed well in the big moments, scoring a pair of huge goals in games where the Hawks were looking to fight off elimination at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes. But was it enough to keep him around?
As good as Frolik might be as a defensive forward, there likely isn’t going to be too much interest out on the trade market for him. Not many teams are going to look too long at a guy with a $2.3 million cap hit for two more years and put up just 15 points last season, only five of which were goals.
If the Blackhawks are unable to find a taker for Frolik, assuming they’ve given up on him, they could go the same route they went with Cristobal Huet after they won the Stanley Cup. In the Great Cap Crunch of 2010, the Hawks managed to bury Huet’s contract when he went to Europe to play. Could they go down a similar path with Frolik? It’s certainly a possibility.
Frolik may deserve another shot, but should the Hawks choose to go with some youngsters in an already crowded group of forwards, they may very well head in that direction. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Frolik hitting the ice in Rockford next season. Or in Europe.