It looks like Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon remains on the Chicago Blackhawks’ speed dial list. Tallon sent former 20-goal scorer Michael Frolik along with the rights to goalie Alexander Salak to his former team in exchange for Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan.
This is the second trade of the day between organizations that are quite familiar with each other, as Brian Burke made a deal with his former team the Toronto Maple Leafs while Tallon traded for pieces he largely assembled as the ‘Hawks former GM.
Frolik is probably the centerpiece of this trade. He scored 21 goals in both the 2009-10 and 08-09 seasons. Although he only has eight goals and 29 points in 52 games this season, Frolik has definite “upside” playing on a team flush with talent like the Blackhawks. He only has a 5.6 shooting percentage this season, so it’s quite possible that his scoring slump might have had a lot to do with some bad luck.
Skille is the best player to go Florida’s way in the trade, even if Jessiman was a (comical) first round draft pick as well. Skille has a modest 17 points this season, a career-high for the slowly developing prospect.
Both Skille and Frolik’s contracts expire after this season, so the remaining games on the docket could serve as a crucial tryout for both players. This trade features three first round draft picks: Skille, Frolik and Jessiman. We’ll see which team ends up “winning” in this one; my gut reaction is to say that Chicago got the better of this trade, though.
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.