Quenneville likes Frolik's versatility
DALLAS -- When Michael Frolik joins the Blackhawks here Friday for the game against the Stars, it will be up to coach Joel Quenneville to decide how to use the newly acquired forward.
Will Quenneville plug Frolik into the second-line center spot or ease him into the lineup at wing?
"He's useful in all areas," Quenneville said. "He can play all three forward positions, but let's sort it out and see what we've got.
"He certainly gives us a lot of options and can move up in the lineup as well."
Frolik, picked up from Florida on Wednesday for Jack Skille with prospects also going both ways, is a highly skilled 22-year-old who the Hawks hope can flourish playing on a team loaded with other high-end skill people.
While Frolik has struggled with consistency in Florida this season, he was the 10th player taken in the 2006 draft and came into the NHL with star potential. He scored 21 goals in each of his first two seasons with the Panthers.
"Back-to-back 20-goal years, that's tough to do out of the gate," said Hawks general manager Stan Bowman. "Not a lot of rookies have done that. It's certainly something that captured our interest."
While many of the Hawks were sad to see the likable Skille go, they were looking forward to the arrival of Frolik.
"It's sad to see a teammate go, especially one that I got real close to this year, but Frolik is a great player," Patrick Kane said. "I played against him in the Under-18s (a tournament during the 2005-06 season), and he was the best player there."
Added Jonathan Toews: "Jack's a good guy and a good teammate and we wish him the best. At the same time we're looking forward to the player coming in."
There would seem to be a good chance that Frolik ultimately plays on a line with Marian Hossa, but that won't happen Friday night. Hossa is questionable for the Stars game because of the flu and the high hit he took from Ladislav Smid in Wednesday's win at Edmonton.
Hossa didn't play in the third period then Thursday was too sick to get on the team charter.
So why did the Panthers part with Frolik? It was mostly a case of sacrificing skill for a physical presence, which the Panthers believe Skille will provide playing on the top two lines.
Florida GM Dale Tallon, who drafted Skille seventh overall in 2005 when he was in charge with the Hawks, has always liked the gritty winger.
"No one knows a player better than his own team and his own staff," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer told reporters Thursday. "Dale Tallon knows Skille and he also knows Frolik and felt this makes us a better team.
"We're giving up a proven scorer to get another element," DeBoer said. "Frolik is a great player, nothing against him. He's going to help Chicago out now. Hopefully Skille and (prospect Hugh) Jessiman can help us out."
The deal that netted the Hawks Frolik and promising goalie prospect Alexander Salak came down shortly before the 4-1 win over Edmonton.
Skille was in fact at Rexall Place with his Hawks teammates preparing to play when he got called into Quenneville's office and was informed of the trade.
Quenneville was concerned about the trade being a distraction, but the Hawks took care of business and won a game they had to have.
"Sometimes that can be a little distracting, but I thought the guys were diligent and had a good start," Quenneville said.