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Detroit Red Wings Top 25 Under 25: Martin Frk is #11

Don’t put a Frk in the Czech winger just yet

NHL: Preseason-Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Player Vitals:

Position: Right Wing
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 200 lbs
Shoots: Right
Birthday: October 5, 1993 (23 years old)
Birthplace: Pelhrimov, Czech Republic
Drafted: 2nd round (49th overall), 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Contract: 1 year, $650,000 AAV

Player Stats:

Table from hockeyDB.com

Strengths:

Frk’s biggest strength has always been his shot. With an exceptionally quick release and tremendous accuracy, Frk is a threat to score whenever he’s on the ice. At 6’0” and 200 pounds, he has the frame to force his way into the prime scoring areas of the ice - and the hands to finish in tight spaces too. AHL defenses have to respect Frk no matter where he’s at in the zone. More often than not, when Frk sends the puck towards the net, he’s either going to find twine or force the goalie to make a save.

Something that’s been a rather double-edged sword for Frk is his reputation as a bit of an agitator. His physical edge and forechecking ability lends itself to getting under the other team’s skin, he just has to work on limiting that bad penalties that he takes himself.

Weaknesses:

The rest of Frk’s game is not nearly as well-rounded as his work in the offensive zone is. He’s not a great defender, has had troubles with his skating and keeping his feet moving, and has shown that he’s prone to taking quite a few penalties. Each of these weaknesses sort of builds on the other; keeping your feet moving without the puck leads to defensive lapses. And Frk has a tendency to take bad penalties after getting beat on defense.

He’s shown improvement in each of these areas since his transition to pro hockey in 2013, but it’s not clear whether or not it’ll be enough to land a full-time NHL gig this fall.

Moving Forward:

While Frk has essentially resurrected his career ever since his disastrous transition to the pro’s four seasons ago, time is working against the soon-to-be 24 year old winger. He was waived by both the Red Wings and Hurricanes last season before being assigned to Grand Rapids in early November. And the next round of Red Wings prospects are already starting to make their way into the Griffins’ ranks.

Given Tyler Bertuzzi’s better overall game and Evgeny Svechnikov’s higher ceiling, I don’t think Frk will manage to push his way onto the final Red Wings roster to start the season. Anything could happen right now given the salary cap situation, but I think Frk will be waived at some point or another.

His future really depends on his training camp. Jeff Blashill said that if Frk wants to make it to the NHL he’s going to have to show that he’s a weapon on the powerplay and will fit into the formula the Wings plan to use this upcoming season on the man advantage. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see, anything could happen between now and opening night.