December 11, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Michael Frolik has just finished off a successful run as a supporting-role player.
Question now is, can he step back into the spotlight as a member of the Winnipeg Jets?
The Jets shipped two picks -- a third and fifth-rounder -- to the Chicago Blackhawks during Sunday's NHL Draft for the 25-year-old Czech winger, a former first-round choice of the Florida Panthers who just helped the Hawks win a Stanley Cup. Frolik is also a two-time 20-goal man while with the Panthers and may get a look on the Jets' second line along with Evander Kane and, possibly, Olli Jokinen.
"I think we'll still keep looking," said Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff when asked if Frolik would fill that gaping hole on the depth chart. "That opportunity can be taken by him or we go and get someone else. We don't anoint where players play, their play dictates where they'll play."
"I think we might be getting ahead of ourselves, but playing with Kane would be good," added Frolik. "He's fast and can score. And I know of Olli from Florida. Maybe we can find some chemistry and be an effective line."
It's been a whirlwind few days for Frolik, who was still soaking up winning a Stanley Cup with Chicago when he got the news of the deal.
"It's a shock," said Frolik. "But I'm excited and it's a great opportunity for me. It will be different. I can play a number of roles and I want to get ready and have a good summer and be prepared. I have a few years in the league now and have some experience. I want to help the team. It looks like a good group."
Frolik has one year remaining on his current contract that will pay him $1.9 million this year, with a cap hit of $2.33 million. Worth noting: he is from Kladno in the Czech Republic, the same hometown as Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
"Pavs is a very good friend," said Frolik. "We are very close. We grew up together and have been friends our whole life. I'm excited to be in the same room with him."
The Jets made a minor deal on Sunday, trading their 61st draft pick to Washington for picks 84, 114, and 127 -- essentially allowing them to replace the two they gave up in the Frolik deal.
SMALL IN STATURE, BIG NUMBERS: The Jets were thrilled to get Nic Petan, who tied for the WHL scoring title, in the second round. He may be just 5-8, but has consistently put up big numbers.
"He was ranked extremely high on a lot of lists," said Cheveldayoff. "Size is probably something where you look and go, 'Huh....' But his hockey sense, his competitiveness, his ability to make other players better, the way he sees the ice... he's a real fun player to watch and when you talk to other players a real fun player to play with."
Added Petan: "I'm a smaller guy, but I use my size to my advantage. I'm a two-way centreman who likes to play defence just as much as I like to play offence. I like to be creative and use my skill and my smarts to my advantage. I've overcome it at every level. And I'm looking forward to the challenge next in my life."
MORE ALEX BURMISTROV RUMOURS: A Russian website quoted Burmistrov's agent as saying he was close to signing in the KHL on Sunday. Chevledayoff's response to the speculation offered a brief glimpse at his frustration.
"There's lots of rumours out there," he said. "I can't get into it too much. I guess if it's a choice of where he does want to go play in Russia, I can't compete with that. We'll continue to negotiate and continue to see how it goes from that point on."
-- with files from Gary Lawless
Ed.email@example.com Twitter: @WFPEdTait
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 2, 2013 C4