Ever seen them in the same room together?

We should have seen this coming. Specifically, we should have taken Florida Panthers’ fans seriously when they echoed our, “Ha-ha, you got Skille!” chants with, “Ha-ha, you got Frolik!” Apparently the scouts on both teams had mad cow disease when doing the assessments on these guys. Like just watching them play wasn’t enough to make them walk away for good.

But at least Florida regained its common sense in the off-season. Whereas Jack Skille got re-signed at $825K, our intrepid StanBow somehow thought Michael Frolik was worth nearly double his salary from the previous two years, and on a 3-year contract to boot. Once the ink dried on that deal, it was very obvious who got the better of this trade.

And then the 2011-12 season started…

The beginning of the 2011-12 season was when we were actually thinking that the $2.3 million we had thrown at Frolik was worth it. Head Coach Joel Quenneville had kept him on the line with Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland that had shown such promise during the late part of the prior season. Sure enough, the chemistry was still there: before the kids had eaten even half of their Hallowe’en candy that line had combined for 10 goals and 8 assists. Frolik tallied 6 of his eventual 15 points during that stretch.

Then, for whatever reason, everything went south. The next 3 games that line was a combined minus-10. Following that, both Bickell and Frolik were healthy scratches, Bolland hurt his foot and was out several games, and whatever cohesion those three may have had evaporated into thin air.

With the rash of injuries during the season turning the roster into Swiss cheese, you would think that Frolik would have seen ample playing time to fill in for his fallen comrades. But quite the opposite was true: the team chose to bring up rookies to fill the void, while handing Frolik a box of Sno-Caps. During the busiest stretch of the year in February and March, Frolik played in only 12 games — and was a healthy scratch for 16 — while rookies Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw were dressed. The only forward who was a healthy scratch for a higher percentage of games during February and March was Brendan Morrison. That says a lot.

If there is a “strength” to Frolik’s game, it was found in his penalty killing this year. But since stats on individual players’ performances while on the PK are difficult to find, I have merely anecdotal evidence to support that. The only other positive to report is that he averages just under one shot on goal per game. The rest of his game, the numbers speak for themselves: 5 goals, 10 assists, minus-10, 56 hits, 32 blocked shots.

Or, by means of comparison, we would have been better off (and saved $1.6 million) with Mark Letestu from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

What’s to become of Michael Frolik? Nobody is going to take that contract with that level of performance in a trade, so we’re stuck with him. I’m praying that management sees the flow of young talent that is ready for big-league action, and lets Mr. Frolik join his former-Panther colleague Rusty Olesz up in Rockford. Only time will tell.

Oh, and I’m saving the best for last: 2 of Frolik’s 5 goals were empty-netters.

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