Hawks miss Frolik's presence on penalty kill

Michael Frolik will play against his former team, the team he won a Stanley Cup with last season, when the Winnipeg Jets face the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

“I think it is something special,” Frolik said. “I am going to be (connected) with these guys the rest of my life on the Cup, so it is kind of special. (It is) nice to see the guys, and we know they are a good team, and obviously I want to beat them.”

One would assume Frolik would miss playing for the defending champions, but if you look at the stats, his former team just might be missing him even more.

Sure, the Blackhawks are off to a flying start. Sure, scoring hasn’t been an issue and Frolik was never looked upon for that kind of production. He was, however, a monster on the penalty kill.

In 2012-13, the Blackhawks owned the third-best penalty-killing unit in the league. Frolik spent close to one-fifth of his total ice-time on the penalty kill with 108 minutes and change. He averaged 2:24 a game with partner Marcus Kruger.

But after a trade sent him to the Jets in the offseason, the Blackhawks were left with a substantial hole on the penalty kill.

“He was very useful for us,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. “He didn’t even get that chance before and he took advantage of it and got some quality ice and had a big year on the account of that.”

This season, the Blackhawks own the league's worst penalty-killing unit. In 40 short-handed situations, the Blackhawks have been scored on 11 times. Their 72.5 percent penalty kill is a far cry from last season’s 87.2 clip.

“We have had a tough start,” said Quenneville. “We have been improving the kill, but the stats don’t reflect it. We think we are trending in the right direction and improving it.”