(Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac -- Getty Images)
I can see clearly now that Michael Frolik just wanted out of Florida or that is at least the impression given. As unfair as that may seem on the surface, the results on the ice made it very crystal clear as the talented player was dealt last night in a five player deal between Dale Tallon's former employer (Chicago) and his new one in Florida.
Dale Tallon could not get the value for Frolik that he anticipated but did take on Jack Skiille who definitely has some fantasy potential in Florida if he gets the ice time of course. Maybe it hurt Tallon that the Florida player who was most likely to score 30 goals this season forget how to find the back of the net this year. After all Michael Frolik has scored only EIGHT times this year. Coach Peter de Boer had tried all sorts of line combinations but at some point, the white flag was raised. Immediately Frolik becomes a top six forward in Chicago and with news of yet another nagging injury for Marian Hossa, the reality is this trade was needed more than Chicago ever could have known.
Clearly Frolik's fantasy value goes up but so does Skille's, who clearly was not going to get any kind of consistent playing time in Chicago. If you are in keeper leagues, this news has to excite Frolik owners who still held on to him despite the 29 points in 52 games. Fantasy experts were expecting at least a 50-55 point season out of the Czech native. That could actually still happen in Chicago but the key is it is going to have to happen in Chicago. Frolik is walking into a more pressure filled situation. He will have to produce and quick. This may be just what he needs and Coach Joel Quenneville may just be the guy to get him out of that "Florida Funk".
There are other parts to this deal. Alexander Salak is an interesting piece as well for those in keeper leagues. Salak is playing very well in the SEL and might now be enticed into coming back to the States to play hockey. One of the main reasons he left Florida was the logjam of netminders in the system (Vokoun, Clemmensen, Markstrom). That is not the case in Chicago as there is not too much in the minors and Marty Turco does not have much of a shelf life left. Really the only competition would be Corey Crawford but that may be a good thing for Salak because who knows if Crawford will keep maturing next year or take a step back.
Projecting out, Frolik could easily have 21 points in his last 26 games or so. The 5.06% shooting percentage is not really indicative of how the Winger plays. That number should pick up with new linemates in Chicago. By law of averages it almost has to. That is why we do no use CORSI statistics. I understand that many believe in them but a player is going to do what a player is going to do. The realities are they we can only guess and project on what we have seen and then speculate what we could. Numbers do not always pan out as well as speculating so keep that in mind. We just think that Frolik will get a jump that will make him more fantasy relevant than he has been in Florida all season.
Now Jack Skille will get a jump too. Skille really has not had a chance to crack the Blackhawks top six but he has had opportunities. The reality is it just was not working in Chicago and a change in scenery was needed. Dale Tallon knew what he had in Skille because well "you fill in the blank". Skille likely becomes a second line Right Winger getting the sixteen to eighteen minutes a game that he was never going to get in Chicago. Some players improve in Florida like Dennis Wideman and that could be the case with Skille. A fresh new start may be enough to see him net 15-20 points potentially the rest of the way if all breaks right. It is clear that Jack Skille will have to work harder because "work ethic" was one of the main reasons he was traded. Oh I meant the lack of, I apologize.
Now the player I find a bit more interesting is not Hugh Jessiman, I mean come on ladies and gentlemen. Of course it is David Pacan, the sixth round draft pick from this year's draft. He has the potential to really thrive in Florida, especially once that 190 pound frame fills out a bit more. Pacan has 43 points in 47 games with the Niagra Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League but a raw talent like Pacan always has a certain potential that rings true but not in an Alexander Salak sort of way. What can the former Vermont Catamount do in Florida? We may not find out for a year or two but Florida needs help up the middle and Pacan could definitely be that guy. Expect him in the AHL next season and possibly be a callup to Florida at some point in the 2011-12 season.
Yes there were three other trades in the National Hockey League yesterday including one that involved super prospect Jake Gardiner but this is the deal that not only caught everyone off guard but quite frankly is the one so far that has the most promise. It should not be a surprise to any that Florida and Chicago would be trade partners here. What is more surprising is the eventual fantasy impact this trade could have. It is not the two players currently on the NHL rosters who offer the most intirgue necessarily for keeper and dynasty leagues, it may be the two that are not close to an NHL roster that may really catch people's eyes in the future.
Gauging prospects like this is always risky but as the trade deadline approaches, there will be trades and we will break them down from a strcitly fantasy perspective. Straight nuts and bolts breakdowns with no jibber jabber is how this will go. So Frolik and Skille are definite pick-ups while Pacan and Salak may be ones to keep on your "proepect watch" or just an eye on until the time is right of course.