The Chicago Blackhawks are still going to be without Marian Hossa for the beginning of the week, with a shoulder injury. It’s not considered long term, but rather than trot out Dan Carcillo for some more wasted time with the top line, the Hawks are now looking to other players with a bit more skill to man the right side of the first unit.
Heading into Monday, it looks like that player is going to be Michael Frolik.
Frolik has spent almost the entire year, skating on the Hawks’ fourth line next to Marcus Kruger. While he hasn’t been the 20-goal scorer that he was supposed to be when the Hawks acquired him, Frolik has reinvented himself and become an exceptional defensive player.
That aspect of his game will be welcome on the top line. Hossa is an excellent back-checker, so it’s certainly a positive that they have someone who’s as competent defensively in that spot, next to Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, as Hossa is. But can he bring enough to the table offensively?
We know that Frolik adds an excellent forecheck to the equation. But since he’s been in Chicago he has had a hard time rediscovering that offensive touch, with a shooting percent of just one this season. Not a typo.
Nonetheless, this move to the top line is going to be something that could jump-start Frolik’s offensive game. At least, that’s what the Blackhawks are hoping for. If he’s going to find opportunities to put the puck in the net, it’s going to be with this line. If Frolik can find a way to get his offense going, it just makes this club that much more dangerous heading into the final stretch.