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Frolik eager for fresh start with Sabres

Forward expressed optimism during conference call with media

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Michael Frolik expressed excitement about the potential for a fresh start with the Buffalo Sabres during a conference call with reporters on Friday.

The Sabres acquired Frolik from Calgary in exchange for a fourth-round pick, which they received from Montreal for defenseman Marco Scandella on Thursday. Frolik said a change of scenery was welcome after seeing limited playing time with the Flames this season.

"I'm really looking for a new opportunity there," he said. "I'm really excited. Like I said, it's a fresh start for me there and I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to meet the guys and meet the group and hopefully it happens sooner than later."

Sabres general manager Jason Botterill cited Frolik's 5-on-5 game and experience on the penalty kill as characteristics that made him an attractive addition to the team's forward group. The 31-year-old scored 14 even-strength goals last season. He's scored at least 12 goals at even strength in five of the past six seasons. 

Video: JASON BOTTERILL

Frolik has averaged 1:08 of shorthanded ice time this season for a Calgary penalty kill that ranks fifth in the NHL. He ranked third on the Blackhawks in shorthanded ice time during their Stanley Cup run in 2013, valuable experience for a Sabres penalty kill that ranks 28th. 

"I've been killing penalties for quite a bit," he said. "Hopefully, I can bring some experience in that department and I'm looking forward for that."

Frolik's average ice time dipped to a career-low 11:56 in 38 contests this season. Four of his five goals, however, have come since the beginning of December. 

The opportunity for ice time exists with Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson both recovering from injuries, though Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said it will take seeing Frolik in person before determining his role on the ice. 

"He's just a very smart player in so far as the way he manages his game on both sides of the puck," Krueger said. "He can make a play with the puck but without it he's very strong in his decisions as far as positional play is concerned, being responsible for the team. He'll be an excellent penalty killer for us and also somebody who can mentor this group in managing leads and dealing with in-game situations that we're still learning to get better at that in the end decide the scores. 

"We're excited about the wealth of experience that he's going to bring into our room and just the person that he is. I've spoken to a few of his coaches form the last few years and just nothing but compliments on the human being that he is, which adds another person of character into this dressing room."

Frolik, too, is willing to be patient and earn his role.

"I just heard great things about their group and about the coaching staff," he said. "I'm just really looking forward to go there and be myself and we'll see how it plays out. But obviously looking for a little bit more ice time than what I was getting here in Calgary and to prove to myself that I can be the player that I used to be."

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