Despite an unlikely trip to the Stanley Cup Final, not every member of the 2020-21 Montreal Canadiens was thrilled with how last season went.
Former NHL winger Michael Frolik explained in an interview with TVA Sports, that has been translated from French to English, his discontent with the Habs and the way they handled him last year.
During the conversation, in which Frolik claims "the Canadiens have put an end to my NHL career altogether," the 33-year-old details what exactly went on during the season.
"It was an extremely difficult year for me," Frolik stated. "In fact, I still don't know why the Canadiens made me sign a contract. When the club submitted its offer, I was made to understand that there would be a position waiting for me. But executives signed Corey Perry right after. I already knew the team was tight in terms of payroll, so I was like, 'oh, that's not good.'"
On Dec. 23, Montreal inked Frolik to a one-year deal worth $750,000. The Czech forward had spent the previous campaign split between the Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres. Across the 57 games during the 2019-20 campaign, Frolik tallied just six goals and 14 points, albeit while serving in a more defensive role. Five days after he signed, on Dec. 28, the Habs reached a one-year agreement with Corey Perry for $750,000.
"Then it was the start of an endless merry-go-round," Frolik claimed. "A player was injured, then a skater was called up, but it was never me. I went to the coach's office a lot to make my case, but I was constantly told that I was not playing because of the salary cap. It was all they knew how to tell me, it seems! I said to them: 'ok, but trade me, in that case!' They didn't want to hear anything."
Even though Frolik pleaded for a trade, he never received one. The veteran ended up playing just eight games for the Habs during the 2020-21 campaign, recording zero goals, zero assists, and a minus-three rating.
He blames his lack of production on the few and sporadic opportunities he received at the NHL level.
"When you're not playing the season, it's hard to keep up the pace and find yourself a team the next season, by the way. I know what I could have done for Canadiens. I am an experienced guy and I arrived with good intentions and an interesting set of skills. But the team just never gave me any opportunities. Oh, [they] gave me eight games. But on a fourth line on the occasion of unimportant games. Yes, I can tell you that I am angry with the [Canadiens]. No one likes to be left out over and over again. The team ended my NHL career altogether. "
Frolik now plays for Lausanne HC in the Swiss National League. He has tallied three goals and six points through eight games.
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