Last night the Florida Panthers and the Chicago Blackhawks consumated a trade that well, provides a change of scenery for the two major parts that were involved in the deal. Skilled forward Michael Frolik leaves the sun and fun to go play with the likes of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa the Patricks (Kane and Sharp), and the defending Stanley Cup champions. Jack Skille (pronounced Skill-ee), leaves one of the most talented teams in the NHL for the fun and sun of South Florida. Here’s my assessment of the deal.
Michael Frolik a skilled forward who has scored 21 goals in each of the last two years, has been stuck at eight since December 17th. He’s played mostly top line minutes and until recently was demoted to the fourth line due to his lack of scoring. What’s been the problem for Frolik? Is he snakebitten? Is he not working hard? Has he not been able to have the hockey sense to be in the right place at the right time? It’s really hard to say and put your finger on one thing, and maybe that’s the problem. it’s a combination of issues that have contributed to his play being so frustrating.
Would I say that the Panthers have given up on him? No, it seems that the Hawks have been after Frolik for a long time, and wanted him badly enough. He also doesn’t seem to be the style of player that Dale Tallon wants long term on this Panthers club. While Frolik isn’t small, he’s not big, and offers virtually no physical prescense. Something that Dale Tallon has indicated more than once that this club needs. So maybe it was time for a change and you have to give to get. The Panthers also sent goaltender Alexander Salak as part of the deal to Chicago. Salak was playing in Swedish Elite league this year. He could be the sleeper in the deal.
In return the major acquisition is Jack Skille, a first round pick from the 2005 draft that produced players like Sidney Crosby, Nathan Horton, and Eric Staal among others. Skille was taken seventh overall by Tallon, and Dale is very familiar with Jack and calls him a character guy with phsyical presence. A dimension that’s been missing from this Panthers club all season. Skille who I have watched develop since I’m obviously also a Hawks fan, is quick, mobile, and has the ability to score. His problem is that he doesn’t seem to close the deal.
Stuck mostly on the fourth line with occasional third line minutes, Jack should get to play some more important minutes here in Florida. Maybe with more ice time and more offensive chances he’ll flourish. He’s certainly not afraid to throw his body around and finish his checks. That energy alone could spark the Panthers. The Panthers also acquired draft bust Hugh Jessiman and prospect David Pacan. Jessiman an original first round pick by the New York Rangers in 2003, has yet to play one NHL game.
So who does this trade help and how? The Hawks get a skilled player who maybe finds his stroke again playing with players that are more seasoned and more talented. No offence Panthers, but the Hawks are just better. Frolik is also going to play for a coach that will not accept anything less than 110% effort. Joel Quenneville will not be afraid to staple Folik to the bench, or make him wear a suit if he’s not performing up to standards. Yes Michael, the pressure is on you. However, this may be your best chance to succeed.
The Panthers get a player that at times can be frustrating. Skille is fast, and yes can create scoring opportunities, but hasn’t been able to prove he can finish them. Could be his surroundings too as playing with fourth line guys, doesn’t result in many quality opportunities. Skille is on a one year contract for $600,000. He has 7 goals so far playing about nine minutes per game. If someway somehow he ends up with 15 this year, this will be a great deal. If his play remains inconsistent and frustrating, we won’t be liking this deal too much in the end.
Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this one.
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