Montreal Canadiens award one-year contract to forward Michael Frolik

MONTREAL | Michael Frolik found himself on an ice cream in Boca Raton, Florida on Wednesday morning. Allan Walsh, his lifelong NHL agent, was looking to speak to him to confirm the Canadiens’ contract offer.

Coming out of his morning training in the old arena in Boca Raton, Frolik quickly called his agent back. He said yes to Marc Bergevin and CH’s offer: a one-year contract and $ 750,000.

“We’ve been talking with Michael’s Canadian pretty much since the free agent began (Oct. 9),” Walsh said in a telephone interview with The Journal. There was a mutual interest. Bergevin knows Michael well from his days with the Blackhawks. “

“In 2013, Michael played an important defensive role with the Hawks in winning the Stanley Cup,” he continued. He was on the first unit shorthanded and Q (Joel Quenneville) liked to use him in the dying minutes of a game or period. He is a very responsible attacker defensively. He can also play on the left wing and the right wing. “

However, we are talking about a rather distant time. Frolik has worn the colors of the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabers since 2013.

From the depth

Claude Julien and Bergevin have often used the word depth to describe the 2020-2021 edition of the CH. The addition of Frolik is in line with this theme.

On paper, the 32-year-old Czech will likely end up in the 13th striker’s chair. Julien will have plenty of ammo on the wings with Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin, Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Joel Armia, Artturi Lehkonen and Paul Byron. He can now add the name of Frolik, an 850-game NHL veteran, to that list.

Last year, Frolik had 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in 57 games with the Flames and Sabers. Two years ago, he had a better season with 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 65 games in Calgary.

At 32, does Frolik still have gasoline in his tank? For Walsh, that’s a big yes. But it’s also an agent’s responsibility to sell their clients well. Beyond this factor, Walsh offered two strong arguments.

“Michael is a guy who keeps himself in top physical condition. He’s been to five camps with the Flames, his last five in the NHL. All five times he won the title of the fittest player. In the Flames gymnasium, there are five plaques where you can find Frolik’s name as the winner of this internal competition. “

“At his age, Michael still wants to play and get a part. He knows the NHL and its reality. He will push every day to earn his place, but he will respect the decisions of the coaches. He still has a great passion for his sport and has never suffered any serious injuries. We will see what will happen. “

Summers in Montreal

On a personal level, Frolik will not fall into a universe unknown in Quebec. He played his junior hockey in the QMJHL with the Rimouski Oceanic in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008.

And like the majority of Walsh’s clients, he has spent several summers training in Montreal.

“With the exception of this year due to the pandemic, he was renting a summer condo in Montreal. He had been doing this routine since he was 19. He lived in Old Montreal and on René-Lévesque Boulevard, near the Bell Center. He spent about eight weeks every summer in Montreal. He loves the city. “

Minimal risk

At a salary of $ 750,000, Frolik is not a major investment for CH. If he doesn’t earn a spot among the team’s top twelve forwards, he could end up on the reserve team (taxi squad). His salary would therefore not be counted against the salary cap.

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