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WTE: What to expect from Michael Frolik

Coming off a huge contract signing, will the newcomer prove his worth within the organization?

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Going into the off-season this year, it was clear that Calgary needed more depth on the blueline and the right wing. The latter of those two was addressed with the excellent signing of former Winnipeg Jet Michael Frolik. This signing did not come as too much of a surprise since the Flames were rumoured to be interested in signing a right wing and the best options were either Frolik or Justin Williams.

Although Williams may have a better track record with more experience, not to mention his two Stanley Cups with the Kings, Frolik is younger than him. He has the same amount of points over the past two seasons (84), and he does have one Stanley Cup from 2013, when he played with Chicago.

Just like the commentator said at the end of video, Frolik is a pretty underrated player in the NHL. He may not be top line potential or known for fancy plays, but he can still put up a good amount of points every year. For the time being, he helps improve the lacklustre right wing depth, and even adds to the combination of youth mixed with experienced veterans.

Preventing regression

Apart from adding right wing depth and points, Frolik will also help the Flames deal with the likely regression they may face next season. From his career, he's proven to be effective when it comes puck possession and breaking out of the defensive zone to create offense: two things Calgary did poorly for the most part, and are looking to improve upon. Even though it's not expected of Frolik to be the savior when it comes to this, it should definitely decrease the chances of having a Colorado-like scenario.

Frolik's presence will likely have an impact on how his teammates are used, one of them being Mikael Backlund, whom I talked about in a previous WTE. For a more detailed explanation of how good his stats actually, are check out this article from Mike FAIL.

Seizing the opportunity

Throughout his career, Frolik hasn't ever been relied upon too much. After the start of his career with the Panthers, Frolik was mainly just a bottom six player for the Blackhawks.

He then moved on to Winnipeg and showed that he can be effective in an increased role. Even then, he was battling with consistency issues through some parts of the season, which resulted in his being pushed back to the third line at times. For the most part, you can't really say that Frolik was expected to do too much.

This changed once he signed with Calgary. Flames management committed to him for the next half decade at a fairly hefty cap hit, something that can't be taken lightly. Not saying that Frolik has to be one of the Flames' best players, but chances are it will be expected of him to maintain his spot as a second line right wing, which many think will be his role.

Unless David Jones or Joe Colborne have some sort of breakthough, Frolik should be playing with Backlund for a while. This means that he won't need to worry about being put with different guys all the time, though it's still debatable who the other winger may be.

Overall, you could say he has the cards lined up in his favour, and now it's just a matter of execution and making sure he takes full advantage of the chance he has with the Flames.

At the end of the day I don't think Frolik will make a huge jump from what he was doing in Winnipeg in terms of production and analytics. Playing with a player like Backlund, who has a similar game, may result in great chemistry between the two and can hopefully benefit Frolik by being more consistent throughout the season.

That being said, Frolik definitely found a home in Calgary for the next five years. Considering he will only get more chances here than in Winnipeg, it's hard to bet against him for now, and nobody should be surprised if he lives up to these new, higher expectations.

2014-2015 Statistics: GP 82 G 19 A 23 P 42 +/- +4 PPG 3 PPA 4

2015-2016 Predicted Statistics: GP 82 G 21 A 24 P 45 +/- +7 PPG 5 PPA 4

Although Frolik is a more effective player at even strength and on the penalty kill, it's likely that he will be relied upon when it comes to the powerplay. Calgary desperately needs someone to play on the wing apart from Jiri Hudler or Johnny Gaudreau, and Frolik is really the only other option available at this time, whether it's even strength or the powerplay.

It may seem that the $4.3M cap hit is a bit too much, but the Flames did not bring him in to score tons of points year after year. Frolik isn't known to do that and that is not where his value comes from. Brad Treliving even confirmed this after the signing was announced:

"He’s able to do a lot of different things that are very valuable. He probably is not going to be a guy that scores you 30 goals, but he’s going to do a lot of the heavy lifting in some of the areas that aren’t so sexy that help you win games."

Last year Calgary signed Devin Setoguchi who, just like Frolik, played for Winnipeg the season before. It didn't go very well to say the least, but let's just hope that this former Jet has a different fate. Everything indicates that he will.

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