Blackhawks

Blackhawks trade Skille to Florida for Frolik

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Blackhawks trade Skille to Florida for Frolik

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011
Posted 7:48 p.m. Updated 10:05 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Michael Frolik has had the Chicago Blackhawks interest dating back to when he was a first-round draft pick in 2006.

Now theyve got him and he will meet the Blackhawks in Dallas.

The Blackhawks acquired Frolik and goaltender Alexander Salak for Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan on Wednesday night. The move gives the Blackhawks a versatile player in Frolik, who has played all three forward positions.

General manager Stan Bowman, speaking via conference call, said hes been impressed with what Frolik has been able to do already. Frolik was the Panthers top selection (10th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

At this point its premature to say where hell play, but having a guy who can play either right or left or in the middle is a tool at coach Joel Quennevilles disposal, Bowman said. Well probably figure that out over the next couple of weeks once we see the chemistry he develops. Hes played second line, third line, hes a responsible player and hes trusted at a young age.

Bowman said the trade has been developing for a few weeks.

It takes time and it finally came to the point where both sides were ready to make it happen, he said. We feel like we want to improve our team. This certainly does that.

The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Frolik is in his third season with the Panthers. The 22-year-old native of the Czech Republic has eight goals and 21 assists in 52 games this season for Florida, but has gone without a goal in his last 23 games.

Frolik had 21 goals in each of his past two seasons with the Panthers. Hes in the final year of an entry-level contract that pays him 850,000 this season. With bonuses, his salary cap hit is at 1.275 million.

Skille, the Blackhawks seventh overall selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, has seven goals and 10 assists in 49 games this season. The fourth-line right wing said he was told he was being traded after taking initial warm-ups before the Blackhawks game against Edmonton tonight at Rexall Place.

It was sad to say goodbye to all those great guys in the locker room tonight. Thats a moment Ill never forget, said the 23-year-old Skille, who was flying to Florida Wednesday night. The Panthers host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. Its a great, tight-knit group of guys in Chicago. But Im excited about the opportunity Im being given in Florida.

Skille said he heard the rumors that he could be moved but he tried to put them out of his mind and focus on the Blackhawks. He wants an opportunity to move up among the lines and hopes he gets that with Florida, where hell be reunited with Dale Tallon -- the man who drafted him in Chicago.

I feel like Im better than a fourth-line player. But at the same time, thats the role youre given and you have to play it, Skille said. Now its a matter of seeing what the Panthers see in me and what role they want me to be at and hopefully I can fit in well.

Salak, 24, leads all Swedish Elite League goaltenders with a .925 save percentage and six shutouts. He also has a 2.04 goals-against average in 41 games with Farjestad BK.

The Blackhawks have got that versatile forward they wanted. There are a few weeks remaining before the Feb. 28 trade deadline and Bowman didnt rule out another move being made.

Well keep an eye on things, Bowman said. Were certainly looking to improve our team but thats probably common to every team. Were not going to shy away from another trade if its there to be made. Up until this point there havent been many trades. Were pursuing it daily. We have a lot of conversations and were not going to stop trying to make something happen. Hopefully itll work.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 189 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Kotkaniemi has been a top-six forward for his league team in Finland all season and had a very solid U18 season relative to his historical peers in the league. He has very good hands that are high-end, if not flashing elite. He can make very skilled plays off an entry, but what impresses me is how well he can control the puck and keep plays alive."

NHL player comparable:

Fit for Blackhawks:

There isn't a player that has climbed the rankings in such a short amount of time than Kotkaniemi, who was initially projected to go outside the top 10 but could go as high as No. 3 overall. It's likely because there aren't many high-end centers in this draft, and he's the top one.

If Kotkaniemi happens to slip to No. 8, it may be hard for the Blackhawks to pass up on him. He's versatile, too, which is always a bonus, especially when playing under Joel Quenneville. But if they view him as a center, here's how the Blackhawks would look down the middle: Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, Kotkaniemi and Artem Anisimov.

Um, yeah. That'll work.