2012 NHL Draft Profiles: Martin Frk, a Czech Who Needs No Vowels

Frk attained notoriety for 2011 WJC run-ins with Erick Gudbranson.

Two summers ago he was the most coveted import and a top candidate for 2012. Last summer he was still expected to be a top 10 pick. This summer he's endured the darkness of a concussion-limited season and some expect he'll still be on the board well into the second round.

His name is Martin Frk, and he will keep your seamstress from having to buy a vowel.

A point-per-game kid in junior tournaments for the Czech Republic, his goal-scoring abilities are his strength, skating his weakness. Penalty discipline has also been mentioned as a concern. With his severe concussion issues halving his season, the right-shooting winger did rebound and put up 11 points in 17 playoff games for Halifax in the QMJHL.

The question: Is Frk one of those prematurely hyped prospects whose tumble is a warning that his career is headed the wrong way, like an Angelo Esposito? Or are his injuries and tough luck a sign that some team will be wise to buy low on a top-end talent?

Rankings

Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus:

"... one of those names in the scouting industry who I've been hearing about for three if not four years already so it should go without saying that he has been highly touted for this draft class for quite some time. Frk is a very skilled player who has the ability that—if he pans out—to make a lot of highlight reels. He has excellent puck skills with a lot of flash to his game and looks very coordinated while handling the puck. Frk is also good at handling the puck while getting checked, driving the net, or getting his stick on loose pucks. He has one of the best shots in the draft with a one-timer that rockets off his tape that is equivalent to the shots of elite finishers. ..."

Grant McCagg, McKeen's:

"...scouts are not impressed that a high-end prospect could pay so little attention to his diet while recovering from a concussion. "He is fat and out of shape," noted one scout matter-of-factly. "He's good for about the first ten minutes of the game and then he's gassed. He is on a free fall... I bet he's there early in the second round."

Note: Given what we know about concussions and the depression-like symptoms that can accompany them, it's a little harsh to rip a teenager's fitness after missing 29 games with one.

The Scouting Report:

"Listed at 6’0" 198lbs, Frk isn’t huge, but he plays a lot bigger. Frk has the ability to finish checks and play with a high level of grit that makes him extremely versatile and valuable. ... [upon his return he] has shown some strong two-way play which will go a long way towards quelling some concerns over his game...."

The Hockey News Draft Preview:

When Frk is on his game, there is a lot to like. But there have been too few stretches like that. And while Frk has an abundance of skills, his skating is average at best.

"He's very, very skilled and he has great hands in tight," said one scout.

Update: And here's what Isles Player Development guy Trent Klatt will release about Frk:

Martin Frk is a strong player on his skates. He shoots the puck well and can also make a play.

Given his evident skills, some team will take the plunge on Frk and be excited to do so. Thanks to his unconventional season -- in addition to the serious concussion, he sat out the WJC as part of his recuperation -- the upcoming NHL Scouting Combine may help teams decide whether he's worth their late first-round pick.

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