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Healthy again, Frk on verge of pursuing NHL dream

Friday, 03.23.2012 / 9:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Halifax Mooseheads right wing Martin Frk has a tattoo on his left forearm that provides all the motivation he needs before every game.

It reads: "With my life, I will prove that no dream is too big."

In the case of Frk, his dream of joining an NHL team soon might become a reality. The 5-foot-11, 204-pound right wing is No. 25 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term ranking of North American skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft.

"When I'm involved in something hard, I can always look at the tattoo and read this for motivation and it helps me," Frk told NHL.com. "Everyone needs a little pick-me-up, right?"

Martin Frk had 22 goals and 50 points in 62 games as a QMJHL rookie last season and 4 goals and 2 assists in three preseason games in August.
Frk needed some inspiration at the start of the season after sitting out the first 29 games and missing the 2012 World Junior Championship with concussion-like symptoms.

"That concussion was very bad for me because I had a big year ahead," Frk said. "But now I feel great. I have no symptoms or headaches, so I think I'm all clear. I can play and take hits without problems and I can practice hard."

Frk opted to sit out the WJC and not play for his native Czech Republic since he felt he wasn't 100 percent. He had 3 goals and 6 points in six games at the 2011 WJC in Buffalo despite being the youngest player on the team.

"I didn't want to come back 80 percent … I wanted to come back ready for sure and be 100 percent so that I can practice very hard and that's why I stay out longer," Frk said. "I was upset I had to miss the WJC; it's a great tournament for the best players in the world."

First-year Halifax coach Dominique Ducharme said Frk's best is yet to come.

"I think we should see the best of him in the playoffs," Ducharme told NHL.com. "That's where we're going to see him playing at 100 percent. I don't think his injury is playing any role in his head, though.

"He's not tentative and not playing in a way not to get hit. He's 100-percent back from his concussion and he's showing no signs that it bothers him physically."

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Halifax will start the QMJHL playoffs Friday, when they host Game 1 of an opening-round series against the Moncton Wildcats at the Halifax Metro Centre. Frk was sidelined the final game of the regular season with an upper-body injury but Mooseheads GM Cam Russell confirmed he would be in the lineup to begin the playoffs.

Frk, who had 16 goals and 29 points in 34 games this season, was selected third, behind Martin Marincin of the Prince George Cougars and Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting in the 2010 CHL Import Draft. He had 22 goals and 50 points in 62 games as a QMJHL rookie last season and 4 goals and 2 assists in three preseason games in August before his injury.

Ducharme pointed out three distinctive qualities in Frk that make him such a force on the ice.

"He shoots the puck really hard and accurate," he said. "Whether it's a slap or wrist shot, he really has a full shot there and it's a high-caliber shot. The second thing is he's really strong on the puck and it's really tough to get the puck away from him or knock him off the puck … he's strong on his legs. Third, he's got great hands and can always make special plays."

NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bourdeleau feels Frk has the talent to be drafted somewhere between the first and second rounds.

"In the slot, he has a good wrist shot," said Bordeleau. "I feel he plays with speed and quickness off the mark, and he passes the puck well. I just need to see it on a consistent basis."

Frk doesn't mind the North American game. In fact, he admitted that the hockey not only is tougher, but faster than in the Czech Republic. Prior to making the jump to the QMJHL, Frk played for HC Karlovy of the Czech Under-20 league. In 2009-10, he had 28 goals, 27 assists and 184 penalty minutes in 39 games.

"It's faster hockey and there are more hits, so I like the style here," he said.

"He doesn't mind taking it and giving it … he's not afraid of going through traffic and he's able to get pucks out of the corners," Ducharme said. "Now he's got a pretty complete game where he's kind of a mix between a European player and North American player."

Despite being from the Czech Republic, Frk seems to have a particular interest in Russian hockey players. He wears No. 91 in honor of former NHL star Sergei Federov, and has one other current player on his radar.

"I like Russian players," Frk said. "(Pavel) Datsyuk has so much skill, but he can also play defense and both sides, and that's good. I watch games on TV and that's interesting for me because he's like the best-skilled guy in the NHL, but he plays so well on the other side. That's interesting to me."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

 
2012 NHL Draft