Player Eval: Michael Frolik and we say goodbye to Chris Campoli during the process.

Player Eval: Michael Frolik and we say goodbye to Chris Campoli during the process.

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.


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  • Even if Campoli stayed, I don't think the cup run D scheme was going to reignite. Last year, I was thinking SB was heading in the direction of a skilled euro type team and with all the one year deals, he may indeed still be headed that way. Still, he picked up a lot of grit and or experience this summer. If you are going to start to stray from the previous D arrangement, I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense fiscally to keep both Campoli and Leddy. I like both, but neither is going to replace Campbell and recreate what worked two years ago without some adjustment. With Lepisto and Montador on board, does Leddy spend time in Rockford?

    As for Frolik, I agree he could turn out to be a bargain and I wonder if maybe it's got something to do with Hossa. Since they traded away his BFF, maybe there is a clause in his contract that calls for a replacement BFF from the same geographical region?

  • Hi guys, just back from a week in the bush and it looks like a few things have happened.

    To your points HH, I agree about Frolik. There's a ton of potential waiting to be tapped and I like the signing. I always felt he was positionally sound and the effort was there. He was a tad snake-bit when he joined the 'hawks and seemed to improve during the playoffs but that was probably the adrenalin kicking in. Nonetheless, he's a solid player who we know can score 20+ goals with a not-so-good Florida team. Let's see what a full year with the 'hawks will bring.

    Vegas, I thought the bell tolled for Campoli with the Montador signing. There's no way Leddy is going anywhere—contrary to what I once thought— he's likely penciled in as the fifth starter on D. That left Campoli as the 6th D man with O'Donnell the 7th. Now, with Lepisto being signed, we get a similar style player to Campoli at a fraction of the cost who is willing to accept that role. Obviously, SB knew where Campoli was going to fit in and was not willing to pay a 6th D man like a top four D man which is probably where CC saw himself. Good luck to him. He wasn't here long enough for me to formulate a valid opinion of his worth. He may now be forced to take whatever comes his way after arbitration and he may never get another chance to play for a contender. (I often wonder what I'd do as a player in such a situation). Kudos to SB for laying it on the line with CC and not leaving him twisting in the mid-west wind.

    Lastly, I'm very impressed with SBs GMing this year when he has had a chance to put his stamp on the team. I like his proactive approach and his "team" concept so far. Campoli was clearly more interested in his own well-being than that of playing for a great team—and you can't really blame him for that.

  • Frolik never scored 8 in a year. You have confused his 8 with Fla as a yearly total.

    As for the D corps, I can see them stacking up like
    Keith - Seabs
    Hammer - Leddy
    Montador - Lepsito

    The 2nd & 3rd will probably be swapped around quite a bit through out the season to fit the scenario or team they are playing. Either way, the line up will include a stay at home type and a puck mover on each line. I can't see them having 2 stay at home on the same line since they are a puck possession team that likes their puck moving D men.

    I'm sure Hammer will be watched closely to see if last year was a fluke and he reverts back to his 2009-2010 form. Pretty much any way it gets sorted out there is going to be a "2nd pairing" D man playing as a 3rd pairing at some point.

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