It's hard to believe that a player that generated just 15 points during the season is going to create a lot of debate among Hawks fans. But such was this season, and such were our complaints with the coaching, that's exactly what's going to happen. Michael Frolik clearly had a disappointing season, and yet I remain a firm fan of his -- and one that's resigned to seeing him dealt elsewhere this summer. But Frolik is another who illustrates the difference in how the GM sees the team, and how the coach does, and how those two visions have little overlap.
Michael Frolik's Stats: 63G 5G 10A 15P -10 22PIM -1.44 Behind The Net Rating, .004 Quality of Competition, 3.19 CORSI/60
The Good: Well, his four games in the playoffs are certainly the place to start. Coming in for the suspended Andrew Shaw, Frolik scored what looked to be the winner in Game 3 (to be canceled out barely a minute later) and the heart-stopping equalizer in Game 4. Aside from those two moments, Frolik was everywhere in the series, more than just riding along on the Hawks best line in the playoffs. Which was the Hawks best line in the last playoffs as well. Notice a theme here? While Frolik's shot selection and lack of scoring angered all, his work ethic and defensive positioning never seemed to be out of line. While he's paid to score way more, he does everything else well. A dogged penalty killer as well. Sadly, this is yet another player where Q fixated one what he couldn't do instead of what he could.
The Bad: Oh, plenty of that as well. 5 goals is 5 goals. There's no way to dress that up for a player expected to pot at least 10 more than that. Of course the shots-from-everywhere policy infuriated many, especially because Fro's shot just really isn't all that devastating. It's not accurate or powerful, just plentiful. Still, there are worse sins than shooting a lot. Not shooting enough is an affliction for a lot of his teammates. When Fro's scoring freeze settled in, he clearly pressed and things only got worse.
Then came the shuffling everywhere. On multiple occasions Frolik went from top six duty to the pressbox the very next game, and it was clear the confusion of what he was being asked to do was getting to him. Watching John Scott and Brandon Bollig roll out ahead of him must have been frustrating beyond belief.
Contract: Two years left at a 2.3M hit
Stick Around or Hit The Bricks: Well, if it were up to me, Frolik would be back on the 3rd line with Bolland and Bickell, with Andrew Shaw providing energy on the 4th line and giving the Hawks more depth. 2.3M is not an unreasonable hit. But that's probably not how it's going to shake out. Q clearly prefers Shaw on the 3rd line, and there is a valid argument for that. Fro could be part of a package to get either a 2nd pairing d-man or a top six forward here, or he's going to be swapped out to regain the picks lost in the Oduya deal (more likely). To me, that would be a waste. While Fro's playoff performance was a surprise to some, it wasn't too many like me. It's the kind of hockey the Hawks could have gotten from him had Q simply left him alone and appreciated the defensive work he does with Bolland. And that's two years in a row now where Frolik has stood out in the playoffs. Should that really be cast aside so easily? Not convinced.