Michael Frolik (Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Calgary Flames will be without Michael Frolik for at least the next three games, but it could be longer. Frolik was injured Tuesday, returned to Calgary Wednesday and could be out until the holiday break.
Just as the Calgary Flames are heating up, they’re going to have to be without one of their key players. The Flames learned Wednesday they are going to be without right winger Michael Frolik for the final three games of their current four-game road trip after he fell injured in Calgary’s 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
Frolik left Tuesday’s game against the Predators after taking one shift in the third period. His only time on ice during the third frame was a 29-second skate that ended in a Mikael Backlund penalty. Frolik, who’s normally one of the Flames top penalty killers, didn’t see the ice during the Predators’ power play. He didn’t return to the game due to an upper-body injury. Frolik’s agent, Allan Walsh, announced Frolik had headed back to Calgary for further evaluation.
“We don’t have more (information) to give, but obviously if he left the team, he won’t play on this road trip,” Flames coach Bob Hartley told the Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak.
The injury appeared to occur on Frolik’s final shift of the second period when he attempted to hit Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Frolik missed the hit and ran into the boards, and played the rest of his shift seemingly nursing his left shoulder:
The remainder of Calgary’s road trip sees them in Dallas, St. Louis and Detroit before returning home, but if Frolik isn’t back before the holiday break it calls into question whether or not he’ll be available for three important games against Pacific Division opponents to close out December.
Losing Frolik means the Flames are without one of their big off-season signings and one of their best play-driving wingers. Frolik has the highest shot attempts for percentage, 51.6 percent, of any Flames regular even though he starts the seventh-highest percentage of his shifts in the defensive zone. He also regularly faces some of the toughest competition, yet still manages to drive play for Calgary. Without Frolik, there will be an increased pressure on Backlund and Sam Bennett to take heavy defensive zone minutes and turn the puck up ice for Calgary.
Frolik hasn’t been injured often in his career and has missed just five games to injury since entering the league in 2008-09. He has suffered a shoulder injury as recently as 2011, but his other ailments that caused him to miss time were all illness or flu-related.
In 30 games this season, Frolik has seven goals and 16 points while averaging 15:32 in ice time per outing. The 27-year-old signed a five-year, $21.5-million deal with the Flames in the off-season.