I come to bury Jack Skille, not to praise him. And, unlike Marc Antony, I mostly plan to stick to that line.
Jack Skille was drafted seventh (yes, seventh) in the 2005 NHL Draft. The fact that he was drafted so high seemed strange then (he was nowhere in the top ten central scouting ratings), and looks completely ridiculous now (especially considering the fact that Anze Kopitar would be drafted 11th in the same year) — but the Blackhawks’ management at the time thought that he would eventually come into his own as a player.
And so, they waited. And waited. And waited.
Now, it’s not completely his fault that he had to wait so long to make the big club. Â When he left the University of Wisconsin, the team was right in the middle of their rebuilding and starting to add depth, and he just wasn’t quite there yet. So he toiled in Rockford for a few years. Finally, this year, he made it! He’s a Chicago Blackhawk! Now it’s time to see what he can do when he’s playing regularly!
What he was able to do: 7 goals, 10 assists. He was a plus-3 for the year.
Now, for a fourth-liner, that’s great! But for the guy who was drafted seventh overall in 2005? Not so good.
It’s not like he didn’t try. Oh, how he tried! He had 121 shots on goal. That’s an utterly ridiculous number of shots. But, as he became infamous for, he could not get a good majority of those shots into the back of the net. Seven goals. 121 shots. That’s almost 6% of his shots converting into goals. Not a good percentage, there. In comparison, his fourth-line teammate, Jake Dowell, has five goals in 56 shots.
But the major difference between Jack and Jake? Jake was drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 NHL Draft. The expectations were lower — and continue to be lower — for Jake. Jack, however, is now seen as another Blackhawks first-round bust, joining Mark Bell, Mikhail Yakubov, and, most recently, Cam Barker in the slush pile.
Jack, you’re a good guy. You always made time for your fans, and it was obvious that your teammates loved having you around. I wish you nothing but the best in Florida.
(As for Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan? Um. Bye?)
But wait — where’s the “elated” part of this post? Well, it’s because of what we got in return — Michael Frolik and (especially) Alexander Salak. After the jump, learn about the newest additions to the Blackhawks.
Michael Frolik was born on February 17, 1988 in Kladno, Czechoslovakia. He was selected tenth overall in the 2006 NHL Draft. Since then, he had two 20-goal seasons — but has been recently struggling a bit, with only 8 goals (and 21 assists) this season. Hopefully, a change of scenery will be just the thing he needs to get back to his winning ways. To get a taste of how good this kid can be, check out this video:
However, I’m not nearly as excited about Frolik (thought I am interested to see what he can do with the Blackhawks) as I am about this kid:
Alexander Salak was born on January 5, 1987 in Strakonice, Czechoslovakia. Currently, he’s currently playing for FÃ¤rjestads BK of the Elitserien (the “Swedish Elite League” — the highest level hockey league in Sweden). I can’t put into words how great this kid can be, so here’s a video.
After watching video of him play, I started tearing up a little. The Blackhawks have a real goalie prospect! If you know anything about the luck Chicago has had with goalie prospects, it’s been bad-to-terrible as of late. Signing Alexander Salak would be a huge boost to the entire organization. But don’t take my word for it — here’s what The Goalie Guild has to say about him:
What makes Salak such a quality prospect is his wild, fiery attitude and his extremely active butterfly style. He plays with a very wide stance and expels a lot of energy in order to stop the puck. He is the complete opposite of a “minimalistic” goaltender (think Tim Thomas as opposed to Niklas Backstrom or Carey Price) and relies on his quick reflexes to position his arms and legs behind shots. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, he wears his emotions on his sleeves and he works extremely hard in practice. In that regard, you might compare him to fellow Czech legend Dominik Hasek, but with a much more refined butterfly style.
I already love him. I hope we can keep him forever.
I leave you with a video of Salak being interviewed by FÃ¤rjestads BK (don’t worry, it’s in English):