The Jets first-round draft pick on Sunday, Josh Morrissey will get to Winnipeg around the fall of 2016. The team’s second pick, 43rd overall, Nic Petan out of the Portland WinterHawks might never get to the NHL.
But as the Jets continue to make a run for the Calder — not the Trophy, the Cup — at this year’s National Hockey League entry draft, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff did make a terrific move during the second round.
Chevy sent the Jets third round pick in 2013 (74th overall) and the club’s fifth round pick in 2013 (134th overall) to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for 25-year-old veteran rightwinger Michal Frolik.
Frolik was originally drafted No. 10 overall in 2006 by the Florida Panthers. Chicago acquired Frolik on Feb. 9, 2011 and then four months later, signed a three-year extension with the Blackhawks. The gritty winger who scored 21 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons (he had 10 points in 45 games during the lockout-shortened 2013 season), became one of Chicago’s top penalty killers and had three goals and seven assists during the Hawks recent run to the Stanley Cup.
The Czech checker who has a year left on that extension will be paid $1.9 million buy the Jets this season. It’s a brilliant move by Cheveldayoff who essentially dealt the draft picks he received in the Johnny Oduya deal back to the Hawks to acquire a player who can play in the NHL right now.
While the Jets were happy with their draft picks, none of them will get to Winnipeg before the 2015-16 season. Frolik, on the other hand, will step right in and play on a line with Olli Jokinen and Evander Kane this coming season. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward will also kill penalties for a team that was 24th in penalty killing in the NHL last season.
For Chicago, the Frolik dump (the Hawks freed up $2.3 million in cap space) came shortly after the Hawks sent David Bolland, the man who scored the Stanley Cup winning goal, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for more draft picks.
Chicago never takes long to drop players after they win the Cup. Frolik will now join Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien who left Chicago after the Hawks last won the Cup in 2010.