Yesterday rumors swirled the Chicago Blackhawks, as many were reporting that the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks might be discussing a major trade that would involve ‘Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. However as the day unfold there was no Seabrook trade and many major hockey insiders dismissed any Seabrook talk as completely false.
However today, after a major trade between the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs, Stan Bowman finally pulled the trigger on a deal, one many of us in the Blackhawks community did not expect. Bowman and former Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon struck a deal that would send forward Jack Skille, minor league forward Hugh Jessiman and prospect David Pacan to Florida for forward Michael Frolik and the rights to Elitserien goaltender Alexander Salak.
My first impression of the trade was that it was a clear win for the Blackhawks as they acquire the most proven player, Frolik, of those involved in the deal and also acquire a solid goaltending prospect. Frolik has spent most of the season in the Panthers top nine this season, until a recent demotion, and his point production shows it as he was second on the Panthers in scoring with 29 points.
Although Frolik does give the ‘Hawks another offensive weapon for their top nine he does not appear to fill one of their glaring holes as a solid faceoff winning center. Even though Frolik is listed as a center on most media sites he has only taken 12 draws this season and has only won five of them. With the small sample size it is difficult to determine if Frolik can be effective in the faceoff dot but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does start off centering the ‘Hawks second line.
But I also don’t think Florida is getting completely robbed in this game as they do get Skille who might be able to thrive in a change of scenery and also get a solid prospect in David Pacan. Skille, who was drafted by Tallon, only 23 years old and still needs time to develop as he is only in his first full NHL season.
At times Skille has shown that he can be an offensive threat as he has netted 17 points playing mainly fourth line minutes. Skille has a ton of speed and the size to play at the NHL level but he need to improve his hockey awareness and overall hockey IQ.
This deal by the Blackhawks could just be the start of things as the Blackhawks are still in the market for at least a depth defenseman and possibly another bottom six forward. Frolik is a start and if he can continue his growth he could be another player we see in a Blackhawks sweater for the rest of this season and beyond.