© JEFF HARPER/METRO
Halifax Mooseheads forward Martin Frk.
When Martin Frk signed a three-year entry level contract with the Detroit Red Wings last July he immediately felt the weight of the world on his shoulders.
“All I could think about was trying to get to the NHL,” said the 19-year-old Czech Republic forward. “I put so much pressure on myself.”
It translated on the ice.
The right winger struggled to find his offensive game, scoring just three times in his first 11 outings this season. After starting the campaign on the first line with Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, Frk also found himself demoted to second and third line duties.
Mooseheads’ head coach Dominique Ducharme and Detroit Red Wings management then reached out to the six-foot 203-pounder.
“They said don’t put too much pressure on yourself, smile and have fun and everything will come, and keep on working hard,” he said.
“Now I think only about Halifax.”
Frk eventually found his way back on the top line. He’s also gone on to set career highs in goals (23) and assists (36) this season. A 14-game point streak also just ended in Tuesday’s 7-0 win over the P.E.I. Rocket.
All along Ducharme knew he had it in him.
“He can skate, he’s got great hands, an unbelievable shot, he’s strong and strong on the puck,” said Ducharme. “He’s a world class player. He’s got a shot to make the NHL and to be a good NHL player.”
He’s focused solely on the Mooseheads now. By being his best every day, the NHL will come, he insists.
In the meantime, he admits it’s a blessing playing alongside Drouin and MacKinnon.
“I really like Jo because he likes to pass a lot so I can shoot,” he said with a laugh.
Frk will be in the lineup this weekend as the Mooseheads welcome the Shawinigan Cataractes at the Metro Centre on Friday at 7 p.m., and the Moncton Wildcats on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Andrew Rankin - Metro News