Michael Frolik was signed to a 3 year deal totaling 7 million dollars in recent days. His signing was coupled with another signing of a lesser known player, D-man Sami Lepisto. The two of these deals seemed to spell the end of Chris Campoli in a Hawk's uniform, and it turns out they did. The size of Frolik's contract and the addition of another D-man left little room for CC, and late last evening the news broke that things just did not work out with Chris' negotiations. In fact, the Lepisto contract came after talks with Campoli had already stalled.
"We tried to work it out with Chris," Bowman said. "We worked our hardest. We went back and forth and made him our best offer and it didn't work for them. So we indicated that we're going to have to go another direction and they understand that." A few months back, when the Hawks picked Campoli up, he was quoted by Bowman as being the best grab possible. Everything in his style reflected exactly what the Hawks are about and Campoli added to the explosive defense already prevalent in Chicago. Now, the Hawks have dealt Campbell and Campoli away in the same summer, leaving me scratching my head a tad.
I was most excited to see Campoli and what he would do this year. I see a lot of talent in him, more than most would agree with, but you can not deny that he was the most likely candidate to replace Campbell. If your building a system around a puck moving defense, why let him go? Not only can the guy skate, but he is physical, sees the ice very well, has a pretty damn good arsenal of shots and pinches at the right times. It would appear that the Montador deal is what actually spelled the end for Campoli, and I have to question if the Hawks might have made a tad too high of an offer to him. I hope that Montador and Lepisto can be what the Hawks need, and I also hope that Scott is rarely seen on the point. Leddy better get ready for a plethora of ice-time.
Onto the Frolik Evaluation:
What better time to sit down and decide on his worth to the Hawks, then after a deal was made that many feel might have been a bit pricy considering his point production last year. I want to preface that I am a Frolik fan. He had a very strong playoff performance, scored a couple of big goals, is defensively strong as a forward, takes hits to make plays and has an overall great presence on the ice.
His contract might start to look a bit more like a steal if Frolik begins to produce at the level he seems skilled enough for. Not necessarily big, but not small either, Michael was a trade off for forward Jack Skille. So, logically I have always seemed to compare the two, and especially right after the deal was made. I saw a lot of possibility in Skille who never quite lived up to it, and when Frolik came over to the Hawks I had to ask how he fit into the their situation.
He is not a center, though the Hawks tried hard to force that on him, he wasn't a physical presence where as Skille was, but he did play a stronger defensive game which is where I think Frolik found his home. The Hawks have talked a lot about wanting to be harder to play against. Eventually, he ended up with Bolland who is one of the hardest players to play against and the two seemed to work well together. Although we only saw this for a few games, their abilities to play a smart defensive game and use it to transition into a burst of offensive pressure was a bit much for opponents to handle.
Frolik only scored 11 goals this past year and an even worse 8 goals the year prior, but he recorded 21 both years before that. I am not completely convinced in him yet, not nearly as much as I am about Campoli, but his hands and sense of the ice create an acceptance of his contract. Early on in his debut with Chicago, I called for Skille to come back who was more physical and showed that promise. Over time I changed my mind. Frolik is not extremely fast by any means, and he often gets crushed by his opponents, but he is steady on his skates with a strong stance and good mobility.
He might not have produced after joining the Hawks, and not to sound like a broken record, but it could very well have to do with his bouncing from line to line and questionable bouts at center.
Overall, I am definitely a fan of his and his acquisition. I expect his goal production to be much higher this coming season, the guy sure took enough shots last year (pointer: work on your accuracy Michael). I also hope he adds some pounds to his frame. At only 23 he has a lot of room to improve. Final grade: Somewhere around 79%. I will round up to a B-. Most likely, Frolik finds himself in a good role on the 3rd line with Bolland and possibly Bickell who will give opponents #1 lines a lot of grief while creating their own offensive pressure.