One player who has been somewhat lost in the shuffle of the hot start for the Chicago Blackhawks is Michael Frolik.
Frolik was almost something of a forgotten man after failing to live up to expectations in his first full season and change in Chicago. With two seasons of 20+ goals in years prior to joining the Hawks, many were expecting more offensively from Frolik, especially after he signed a three-year deal almost two summers ago.
But early on this season, Frolik has been a quiet star for the Blackhawks. Even if it isn’t showing up on the stat sheet.
Frolik has just two points in five games. But at this point in his career, it might be evident that his value doesn’t live in what he does offensively. It’s what he does defensively.
Playing on the fourth line, Frolik has been one of a few guys on this Hawks team that you know is going to leave absolutely everything he has on the ice on every single shift. That type of play is extremely valuable, especially when he’s playing well defensively up front and not spending any sort of time in the penalty box for it.
On a line with Marcus Kruger, Frolik has been extremely effective, even if it’s not showing up in the box score. The two are great on the forecheck when they’re at full strength, and are part of a penalty kill unit that has only surrendered one power play goal so far this season.
With Frolik playing his current role to near perfection, is it time to increase his minutes? Perhaps bump him up into the top nine or even the top six? The philosophy to take with the way Frolik is playing right now is simply “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There’s no reason to mess with the chemistry that he and Kruger have built up.
However, one area where the Blackhawks may want to try Frolik a bit is on the power play. Andrew Shaw has proven himself to be extremely ineffective with the man advantage, and the Hawks could use someone with a bit more offensive upside.
Outside of that, though, keep Frolik in his current role. He’s free of the Joel Quenneville doghouse and excelling with the minutes that he’s seen. He’s been a fun player to watch for the Blackhawks early on this season.