Last free agent frenzy, the Flames had one primary target: Michael Frolik. The 28-year-old Czech winger received a five-year, $4.3 million AAV contract, and has been paying immediate dividends since signing. Frolik has been exactly as advertised, giving the Flames a quality winger on the right side who can play in all situations, but is particularly adept defensively, and on the penalty kill.
Just ignore the part where it seems as though the guy he was destined to be linemates with, Mikael Backlund, is a Swede. That doesn’t matter in this case, because this is about the 2016 World Cup of Hockey: and Frolik is among the first 16 players Team Czech Republic has named to its roster.
Frolik is a veteran of 563 NHL games. Through them, he’s scored 106 goals and 154 assists for 260 points: a .46 point per game pace. This is just his first season with the Flames, but he’s also spent time with the Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets, and Chicago Blackhawks, the last of which he won a Stanley Cup with back in 2013, albeit while being used in a highly defensive role.
Because while Frolik can clearly score, there’s so much more to his game. He starts more often in the defensive zone: his ZSO is 47.84%, the ninth lowest total on the Flames. That’s not as indicative of his defensive prowess, though his 50.93% 5v5 CF – second highest amongst all regulars on the team – shows that he’s one of your best bets to move the puck north. He’s also played 84:06 on the penalty kill: the Flames’ third-most used forward shorthanded, not to mention the fact that he missed 12 games of the season, which impacted the potential time on ice he would have had.
He’s simply a fantastic player all around, in all situations, and the Czechs will no doubt get a lot of use out of him. Frolik has represented the Czech Republic internationally a ton of times. He played in the World Juniors four tournaments in a row, from a 16-year-old to age 19, when he captained the Czechs to a fifth place finish, scoring five goals in six games.
Beyond that, he’s gone to the World Championships twice (making the NHL playoffs really limits one’s ability to keep going back), scoring five goals and eight points over the 19 games he played split between 2010 and 2011. He also represented the Czech Republic in the 2014 Olympic Games, but failed to put up a single point over five games as the Czechs came to a disappointing seventh place finish.
September will be when he and the rest of the Czechs can try to improve their standings in this new tournament.
#Flames RW Michael Frolik named to Team Czech for the World Cup. Told me last week there is no way he’d ever turn that invitation down.
— Kristen Odland (@Kristen_Odland) March 2, 2016