Nothing has come easy nor normally for Martin Frk.
A European playing in the LHJMQ, he ranked second in scoring on the Halifax Mooseheads in his rookie season in Canadian Juniors, playing his way to being drafted 49th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 2012. The following season, he helped the Mooseheads to the Memorial Cup, finishing tied for second in team playoff scoring with Nathan MacKinnon, behind Jonathan Drouin.
He seemed to have adapted greatly, but the Wings have a tendency to take their time developing their prospects, oftentimes using a hard-line approach that has led Frk to the ECHL in two consecutive seasons, finishing third in goals on the Toledo Walleye last season (with 23) despite only appearing in 29 games.
The way the CBA is written, however, Frk had to go through waivers when the Wings cut him from their roster this October, and he was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes, who had him appear in a pair of games over a one-month trial during which they mostly kept him as a healthy scratch to not lose him in the same way.
When they concluded that he needed seasoning and assigned him to the AHL, he was re-claimed by Detroit, appeasing the team's fanbase, who had been vocal with their criticism of GM Ken Holland's handling of waiver wire losses in the past two years.
I've seen Frk play in summer camps and shinny games, and he does have talent, but he's shy - both on the ice and in person. I'm not surprised his first pro season in 2013-14 left some underwhelmed; he was basically still a teenager, in a new foreign land (for the second time in three years), surrounded by men who had been playing the game forever and weren't going to just give him their position. He was going to need some time to settle in.
In terms of Wings prospects, I believe Anthony Mantha has a higher ceiling and Tyler Bertuzzi can help out in more different ways, but Frk can play a middle-six, producing forward role, like Oleg Petrov in his day, or perhaps Martin Hanzal or Radim Vrbata nowadays; he's definitely not someone you can build around, but rather someone you hope will bring secondary scoring two out of every three years.
Here's a card he signed in blue sharpie (with his uniform number, 91, tagged at the end), showing him wearing the Mooseheads' red (away) uniform:
In The Game's 2010-11 Heroes And Prospects set.