By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
In an effort to find a replacement for the injured Mark Scheifele, Paul Maurice has opted to move Michael Frolik to the middle of the ice when the Winnipeg Jets welcome the Los Angeles Kings to the MTS Centre on Thursday night.
Frolik, who dabbled at the centre position during his time in Florida and Chicago, is projected to play minutes on the third line with Devin Setoguchi and Matt Halischuk. Jets head coach Paul Maurice said the decision for Frolik to make the switch came down to his skill set.
“He’s got some experience at centre ice and he has got a skill level there that fits what we are trying to do in terms of our play in our own end and how we move the puck and how we break out,” Maurice explained. “We want to make sure we have somebody that can handle it and make some plays.
“Because we are not looking for a game or two, we’re looking for a piece that can fit for long-term. He has done it, I think he has the highest skill level of the players considered to go in there.”
Frolik says he just needs to keep it simple out on the ice.
“(It’s) something a little bit different but I played it in the past,” said Frolik. “I know the mental preparation is going to be a little bit different but I just need to play the game and have fun, don’t think too much; just play the game and hopefully it is going to work out.
“It happened a little bit in Chicago, a couple of games, and more when I was a little younger. I know it is a little bit different, especially on the faceoffs, but I am not that bad at the faceoffs.”
Frolik has 12 goals and 19 assists on the season and is averaging 16:18 in ice-time per game.
Meanwhile, the Jets recalled centre John Albert from the St. John’s IceCaps on an emergency basis. Albert has 14 points in his last 11 games with the Jets AHL affiliate and 33 points in 51 games over the course of this season.
Albert was originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the sixth round, 175th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.