With free agency now less than a week away, our next free agent profile takes a look at 27-year-old Winnipeg Jets forward Michael Frolik, who is coming off one of his best seasons in recent memory. During the 2014-15 campaign, he scored 19 goals and 23 assists for 42 points in 82 games. With the Devils looking to add scoring this offseason, Frolik could get a good look from GM Ray Shero.
For this article, I take a look at Frolik’s stats via the Puckalytics database for a more in-depth view on the right winger.
Frolik regularly generated more shot attempts for rather than shot attempts against. He was one of Winnipeg’s top possession players in 2014-15 with a 55.1% Corsi over the 82 game span. The former 10th overall draft pick’s possession numbers are no fluke either. While Frolik has struggled at times to put up points, he has always been a good, positive possession player. If we look at his 2013-14 season, he was a 53% possession player and put up equal point totals to those in 2014-15.
Frolik’s goal numbers were also quite good in his two seasons in Winnipeg. In over 2,232 minutes at 5v5 in his two seasons. Frolik’s Goals For per 60 (GF/60) while on the ice was right around 2.66. That’s quite respectable. If we compare that to his three previous seasons in Chicago, where he logged 2,200 minutes at 5v5 combined, his GF/60 was right around 1.89. It’s safe to say that Frolik definitely experienced a bit of revival upon his arrival in Winnipeg.
A large part of Frolik’s revival has been due to a role change in Winnipeg compared to his role in Chicago. In 2014-15, Frolik saw 26% of his ice time at 5v5 with Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd and 22% with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault, the former of which you can argue was Winnipeg’s top line this past season. Considering Chicago’s top 6 for the last few seasons, it was much harder for Frolik to crack a spot with the likes of Toews, Kane, and Hossa than it was in Winnipeg. He’s definitely been a good add for Winnipeg and rightfully earned his top 6 role for the team.
Additionally, Frolik has playoff experience and his name engraved in the Stanley Cup after winning it with the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. During that year, he put up 3 goals and 7 assists in 45 regular season games, but also put up the same numbers in 23 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup. Frolik has experience and leadership at a fair age, which could benefit the Devils, who are aging out a lot of their veterans with playoff or Stanley Cup experience.
Frolik would be a good addition for a Devils team that is looking to add scoring and get younger. He is only 27 years old and at the prime of his career. And while he may not be a 30-goal scorer, he’s been a consistent scorer the last 2 seasons in Winnipeg, and would give the Devils some much needed young talent in their top 6, and could even provide a boost to their scoring.
Frolik’s last contract with Winnipeg paid him $3.3 mil on a one year deal. It’s no doubt he’ll be seeking a raise in term and dollars. He could be looking for a deal in the 4-5 year range that could average $4 mil per year. The Devils wouldn’t have a problem affording him as they’re set to have $23 mil in cap space this offseason and could have even more if/when Ryane Clowe hits LTIR.
Who Ray Shero has in mind to target in free agency remains a mystery, but Michael Frolik would be a good starting point. He’s been a very good possession player and a productive top 6 forward for Winnipeg. He’d be a good fit in New Jersey and would fill a need the team has up front. Even with the acquisition of Kyle Palmieri, the Devils could still use some young, scoring forwards and still have the need for another right winger. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see Frolik donning the red and black in New Jersey next season.