One of the biggest selling features of why Michael Frolik was so coveted comes from his abilities to improve his teammates. As alluded to in a previous post looking at his numbers from this season, it becomes very clear how incredible he can be. We're not going too spend time projecting who or where he should play in the lineup, but there are a number of possibilities.
But if we can spitball for a moment, the ideal, and potentially best, option would be: Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Frolik on the second line.
Given the depth of the roster at centre, there is absolutely no need to rush Sam Bennett to play down the middle. With that in mind, it would make sense to continue him on the wing with Backlund, while adding Frolik on the RW. I use this an example because it highlights a few elements of what Frolik can do to a young player's growth.
Illustrated below are the top 10 players Frolik played with last season, sorted from left to right in terms of most TOI together to least. Flames red = CF with Frolik, Flames gold = CF away from Frolik:
- Andrew Ladd and Frolik played 452:47 together, there was a slight dip when together as opposed to Ladd away from Frolik. Ladd was a 54.1% CF player, though with Frolik he was 53.6%. A potential factor could be an adjustment in zone start differentials and match-ups.
- Mark Scheifele, one of the key examples in this visual, is someone who is young and still evolving as a player. Scheifele found a 6.3% CF boost while with Frolik, with very similar zone starts with and away from him.
- Toby Enstrom also a boost in CF% when playing with the new Flame. Their 359:45 while together saw Enstrom go from a 48.2% CF defenseman up to 56.4%. This is incredibly promising as there is hope to see the likes of Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman, and even Deryk Engelland seeing a boost in on-ice performance.
- Young defenseman Jacob Trouba saw a slight boost with Frolik, once again indicating there is promise with his play impacting youth. Because Calgary has such a young roster, this could help foster growth and create more parity in the roster.
- Current Buffalo Sabres defenseman and former Jet Zach Bogosian, like Enstrorm, saw a noticeable boost. Bogosian went from a 45.5% defender to 51.7% at even strength.