Every young player seems to go through it and Martin Frk is the latest.

Frk began this season looking unstoppable with that lethal shot of his. He scored three goals in the first four games – that one-timer in particular absolutely handcuffing NHL goaltenders.

But opponents quickly have learned to defend Frk more effectively. Suddenly that shot isn’t as easy to get off, and Frk is struggling to get himself open, to look as NHL-ready as he looked the opening week.

Heading into Tuesday night’s game in Buffalo, Frk hadn’t had a point in five games. Coach Jeff Blashill dropped him from playing with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, putting Frk with Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm, and there’s been an adjustment finding chemistry with those two veterans.

Frk has begun to look a bit more hesitant and guarded on the ice, maybe overthinking for one split second longer. He is not playing with the ease and confidence he showed that opening week.


“I’ve had conversations with Marty about it; he understands I have tons of belief in him,” Blashill said. “He belongs here, he’s an NHL player, and he has an NHL weapon with that shot.