It was expected that the Chicago Blackhawks would make a trade or two during the offseason. But Michael Frolik was an unexpected trade—for good reason. According to James Neveau of Madhouse Enforcer, the Blackhawks sent Frolik to the Winnipeg Jets for two picks in the 2013 draft.
The defensively minded forward was a key role player for the Blackhawks during the season even if he didn't have the statistics to show for it.
Frolik, along with fellow European Marcus Kruger, led the Blackhawks' penalty kill during the 2013 season.
Chicago's PK ranked third in the NHL this season, sporting 87.2 and 90.3 penalty-kill percentages in the regular season and playoffs, respectively.
On the penalty kill, Frolik read passes well and had an active stick. The Blackhawks sometimes had more offensive chances on the penalty kill than the 19th-ranked power play largely thanks to Michael Frolik.
The Czech Republic native also contributed immensely to the team during the playoffs. His 10 points in the playoffs matched his production during the regular season.
Let's not forget the game-winning goal Frolik scored on a penalty shot against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final when the 'Hawks were down 3-2 in the series. Or the assist he had on the Stanley Cup-clinching goal.
Who knows if Chicago could've won the Stanley Cup without Frolik?
So what did the Blackhawks get for him?
The 73rd and 134th picks in the 2013 NHL draft, $2.3 million of cap space and a gap in the lineup.
With the loss of Michael Frolik, it'll be interesting to see how Kruger will fair on the PK next season without his European counterpart. The two were arguably the best PK duo in the NHL. It's doubtful that even one of the Blackhawks' top prospects will be able to fill that hole.
The Winnipeg Jets should be more than happy with their gain in the trade—Chicago was the loser here.
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