It was a relatively quiet off-day for the Calgary Flames on Sunday. But the relative calm was disrupted by a tweet by player agent Allan Walsh regarding his client (and Flames forward) Michael Frolik being a scratch on Saturday night.
Many people in Calgary have been reaching out asking why Michael Frolik is a healthy scratch. Keeping one of the teams most efficient and versatile forwards in the stands marginalizes and devalues a great team player. Head coach’s attempt to run a good player out of town?
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) December 30, 2018
Frolik returned prior to the holiday break after missing 15 games with a high ankle sprain. He played the game prior to the break (against St. Louis) and the game after the break (against Winnipeg), but was shuffled to the press box as the Flames moved Austin Czarnik into the lineup. (Dillon Dube also replaced Alan Quine, but that was seemingly an unrelated swap.)
Coincidentally, Postmedia’s Kristen Anderson asked Flames head coach Bill Peters about Frolik’s scratching after Sunday’s practice.
Asked Bill Peters today if Frolik had taken a step back in his recovery from a high ankle sprain (as a potential reason for him being scratched vs. Van): "A little bit of everything. A little bit of everything. Wanted to get Austin Czarnik back in…
— Kristen Anderson (@KdotAnderson) December 31, 2018
Frolik was also scratched on Oct. 13. In 22 games he has seven goals, and a 56.1% Corsi For. But his time on ice has really dropped, as he’s played more than 15 minutes in just six games. His average time on ice is 11:55, down five minutes from last season (and the lowest of his career).
After being a fixture on the Flames’ 3M shutdown line (with Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk), Frolik has spent much of the latest part of the season on the bottom six with a combination of Derek Ryan, Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski. After being a fixture on the penalty kill, he’s taken a bit of a backseat as Elias Lindholm and Garnet Hathaway have gotten larger roles.
Frolik, 30, is in the fourth season of a five-year contract that carries a $4.3 million cap hit. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent following the 2019-20 season and reportedly has a 10 team no-trade list.