The Battle of Alberta gets more interesting by the hour. The Edmonton Oilers have made drastic changes to start the off-season, but the Calgary Flames have been just as active. They made a massive splash last week by acquiring blueliner Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins (and subsequently signing him). On Wednesday, they added an important piece in right winger Michael Frolik on a five-year, $21.5-million deal.
Frolik commanded a pretty penny for someone who has never topped 21 goals or 45 points in a season, but he couldn't be a better fit for this team. The Flames are loaded at defense, and they have plenty of speed and skill in the form of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler, Sam Bennett and Mikael Backlund up front. Two things that eluded them this season: size, grit and puck-possession play. Frolik, 27, plays a heavy enough forechecking game at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. He can slot in anywhere on a team's first three lines. Most importantly, he's been arguably the Jets best two-way forward the past couple seasons. He posted the sixth-best Corsi Close rating in the entire NHL last season, trailing only Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thornton, Patrice Bergeron, Marian Gaborik and Tomas Tatar.
Frolik makes the Flames more well-rounded, as does the late-season emergence of hulking winger Micheal Ferland. The more GM Brad Treliving adds players like Frolik, the less likely Calgary is to regress after a breakout season that was boosted by "puck luck." This team now looks poised to ascend or at least match last season.