After a tumultuous season of bouncing around the waiver wire, Martin Frk finally cracked the Red Wings roster in 2017-18. Frk was kept on as a powerplay specialist, so that he could unleash his bomb of a shot from the Alexander Ovechkin spot on the ice. As such, he saw limited time at 5-on-5, but actually had some decent underlying numbers. Let’s dig in.
As I said above, Frk didn’t get a ton of 5-on-5 ice time, but he got favourable deployment as the majority of his shifts started in the offensive zone.
Other than shots, his offense metrics were all above average. He put up a modest 1.72 points-per-sixty-minutes, despite his fourth line ice time. His shooting is a little low, but his shot attempts are high. He’s got a really powerful shot, but doesn’t have great aim. As such, he recorded less shots on net. That being said, he’s got pretty good shot assist numbers, which indicates that he’s got some good playmaking ability.
Defensively is where Frk’s game starts to fall apart. He was on the ice for too many goals against and doesn’t have a great exit rate. He got caught at his own blueline a lot, unable to break out of the zone. The times that he did break out successfully, though, he did so with possession of the puck.
Frk would have played in all 82 games this season had it not been for some small injury troubles throughout. His 25 points were more than anyone expected him to put up in his first full season. Less than half of these points were recorded on the powerplay, where he was supposed to thrive. As I said in my 2017-18 Red Wings Season Review, I would have liked to see where he would have ended up with more 5-on-5 playing time.
As I mentioned above, Frk’s underlying shot attempt numbers were actually pretty good for this team. He was one of four players who recorded a Corsi-For percentage of over 50%, leading to a positive relCF%. It’s quite impressive for the limited amount of ice time he was getting and the teammates he was playing with.
Frk was a real work horse, especially in the offensive zone. His forechecking was hard and forced turnovers deep in the o-zone that led to more shot attempts. He was a very good fourth line talent this year.
Frk’s goal based stats are not great. Because of his game lacking defensively, he was on the ice for more goals against than goals for. It was a big contributing factor as to why he got such limited playing time at 5-on-5.
That being said, I’m not sure why Jeff Blashill didn’t experiment with him more, playing him higher in the lineup and with better players. With the underlying Corsi numbers above, he may have turned his goal based stats into something more positive. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll have that chance next year.
The Wings have some young players banging on the door to play next season and they’ve also got some veterans on unmovable anchor contracts. Something is going to have to give to work Evgeny Svechnikov and Michael Rasmussen into the lineup and I think that Frk is going to be a victim of that.
As one of five RFAs this offseason, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Wings not offer Frk a qualifying offer and then letting him hit free agency. He’s proven that he can play at the NHL level and I’m sure another team could find use for his massive slap shot.
The real question is where Ken Holland can trade his negotiating rights for a late round draft pick. That might be a little too much to ask for, though.
Frk is a good player who had a good year on a bad team. Therefore, his moments were overlooked. If you think about Frk, you think about his big shot on the powerplay and how little it actually hit the net. Nobody thinks about how he had some good underlying numbers with limited ice time and bad teammates.
I’m not saying he’s the best player ever, but I think he can be better than the team gave him credit for.