Born: Oct 5th, 1993 (age 24)
Birthplace: Pelhrimov, CZE
Height/Weight: 6’1” / 205 lbs
Drafted: 2012, 2nd Round, 49th Overall, Detroit Red Wings
Contract: 1yr / $1.05M
Martin Frk was something of a pleasant surprise last season. Not like finding an extra chicken nugget at the bottom of the bag surprise, but like hey cool I perfectly toasted this marshmallow surprise.
Frk has flirted with becoming “Ex-Red Wing Martin Frk” but keeps finding his way back home. Not only via this new one year contract out of free agency, but you may also recall back in October 2016 the Wings waived Frk who was then claimed by Carolina. One month later, he was waived by Carolina and like Shadow appearing over the hill* he was back home and off to Grand Rapids.
*Only 90s kids remember Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
He fought for his spot and earned it, can he do it again?
Frky has a hard shot, it’s his thing. He’s kind of like a store brand Teemu Pulkkinen, or maybe Teemu Pulkkinen is store brand Martin Frk, but his rocket of a shot earned him a spot on the 4th line that he would hang on to despite a springtime slump after returning from injury.
With 11 goals and 14 assists, it was a solid performance for a fourth liner. For a guy who was on the verge of going back to Europe, he showed he wasn’t giving up on his NHL dream without a fight.
With shiny new prospects knocking on the door, Griffins grabbing battering rams, and ancient relics already on the Wings roster returning to a bottom line role is not a guarantee.
That shot. We saw it on display from his first goal in his first game, and throughout the first half of the season. He’s also a right-hand shot, of which there are very few on the team right now.
I’ll talk about the downside of his shot later, but one interesting upside is that he is becoming well known enough for his that he draws in opposing players to try and shut him down. This allows him to slip the puck to a teammate they’ve left open, and they can finish the job.
He’s a hard worker, which is another double edged sword I will mention later, but this has paid off in increasing his physical presence both giving and taking hits. He’s going to get the puck, and he’s not going to get pushed off of it.
Finding strengths outside of his shot, no matter how much he manages to get it locked in, is going to determine whether or not he holds his spot. You all know how much Blash loves #grit.
Accuracy. At times he was locked in and sniping, but he also went through stretches where he couldn’t hit the net. The Narrative, particularly after the Girardi fiasco, is that his shots are always uncontrolled to the point of being potentially hazardous.
I personally and mathematically disagree with the amount of emphasis on his inaccuracy, and you can tell me in the comments why I’m wrong, but it is fair to say he may consider dialing back the power to refine his aim.
Which brings me to my next point, he can actually take working hard too far. Hard to imagine a hockey player being considered too intense, but both in Grand Rapids and Detroit he’s had to be reminded to add about 10-15% more chill to his game.
Intensity is good, but it can narrow focus too far, so for Frk it’s important to keep it in check.
It seems likely this will be Frk’s last season with the Wings and, if he gets bumped out of the roster and back to Grand Rapids, it’s not too wild to speculate that he will return to Europe.
He absolutely has the opportunity to hold onto his fourth line role, but there is no room for error. He has to come roaring out of the gate like he did last year, and not lose a step, because there’s the perennial logjam of forwards in line for not only for top line minutes, but bottom line minutes too.
Do you agree with the ranking?
This poll is closed