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In the last WingedPride article we talked about the transition into the NHL in regards to Brendan Smith and and Danny DeKeyser. Let's explore about the shift from junior to AHL, specifically Martin Frk.
Let's look at the skill set that Frk possesses. He is highly touted for his NHL quality shot and finishing ability. Last year Frk had an extremely productive junior campaign with the Halifax Mooseheads. He played on the top line and recorded 84 points in 56 games, with 35 of those points being goals. That's a good pace. However, he was the least productive player on his line, averaging a point and a half per game while his line mates scored 1.7 and a little over 2 points per game. In fairness to Frk, his line mates last year were Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, the first and third pick in the NHL draft last year.
Frk needs to work on his skating. He should work to clean up his stride and skate more efficiently. The way he skates is dangerous as he hunches his whole body over restricting his vision throughout the rink. This not only makes it harder for him to find the right passes and lanes but it leaves him extremely susceptible to being hit and hit hard. When he came up to play with the Griffins this year it was extremely hard for him to make plays happen due to his lack of vision. With the addition of Eaves and Tootoo to the Griffins Frk was sent down to the ECHL to work on improving his skating and to strengthen his play overall.
Struggling when you move up to the AHL is not uncommon. Just last year Tomas Jurco struggled quite a bit with the team until finding his stride late in the year. Ironhook struggled in limited time with the team at the end of the Griffins season as did Pulkkinen. All of these players are extremely productive now for the Griffins despite the latter 2 being healthy scratches at the end of the year.
Legitimate expectations for Frk by the end of the year will be for him to make it back on the Griffins in a consistent role. It would be great if his game could improve for him to be able to grab a top 6 spot. You would have to assume that Nyquist will be with the Wings permanently now which leaves a spot open in the top 6. Frk should aim to grab that spot by finding ways to use his cannon and be a more consistent two way player.