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Countdown 18: Frolik's Next Step

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
The Panthers 2010-11 season is quickly approaching and with that, floridapanthers.com is taking a look at the top ten questions, players to watch and games of the season on a countdown to the home opener on October 16th against Tampa Bay. We'll unveil one of the top ten on a rotating basis each day to help fans get ready for what hopes to be an exciting season.



Florida Panthers forward Michael Frolik, left, celebrates his goal with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (43) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)
In today's topic, we take a closer look at forward Michael Frolik in our Top 10 Players To Watch this season.

Turning pro two years ago, Michael Frolik was a pleasant surprise for the Panthers brass.

The rookie forced his way into the lineup and then forced his way up the depth charts by showing a much needed offensive flash. Recording 45 points in 79 games, Frolik became just the third rookie in franchise history to score at least 20 goals (finished with 21). Mark Parrish (1998-99, 24 goals) and Kristian Huselius (2001-02, 23 goals) were the others.

Fast forward a year and Frolik was looked upon to make a jump and help the Panthers even more.

Unfortunately that didn't happen as Frolik finished with 43 points in 82 games while registering his second straight 21-goal campaign.

"It was a hard year last year," said Frolik. "It was a disappointing season. We can't be happy with the way we finished, especially me.

"You always want to (take a) step forward and I really stayed the same or even a little bit back."

Going into year three, big things are once again expected of Frolik. He's skated on the top line with Stephen Weiss and David Booth all throughout training camp and with that makeup, one can't but wonder how this season might go for the Czech.

"It's a big year for Michael," predicted head coach Peter DeBoer. "He's already accomplished a lot for a young player but I really think he can establish himself this year as a top end NHL forward. I really think he's capable of doing that.

"He could be a thirty goal scorer. He's getting bigger and stronger every year. He's always been confident with the puck but there's no reason he shouldn't be."

Disappointed in last year's output, Frolik changed up his routine over the summer, hoping it will be the difference springboarding him to that next level.

"I found a new guy in the Czech Republic and did some different things than in the past," said Frolik. "I think it was a good experience. I also went to Montreal again for training a month before the season started.

"Hopefully this year is going to be that step forward...You can't think about it much but it's going to come naturally so that's what I'm focused on."

BY THE NUMBERS
3 - Had a season-high three game goal streak (four goals) from March 3 until March 9 last season.

5 -
Frolik had five power play goals in his second season. The season before he had just one.

12 - Recorded 12 different multi-point games. Two of those were multi-goal games.

21 - Scored 21 goals in each of his first two professional seasons.

22 - Still growing and getting better at the age of 22, Frolik won't turn 23 until February 17th.

219 - Told to shoot more after finishing with 158 shots in his first pro season, Frolik led the team in shots with 219.
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