Martin Frk ready to battle (again) for a Red Wings roster spot

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
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Martin Frk, 24, signed a one-year deal worth $1.05 million in June with the Red Wings.

Detroit — Martin Frk sees this training camp as being similar to last year.

Frk wasn’t guaranteed a spot last year but had an impressive training camp, made the Opening Night roster (had a goal and assist, and stayed with the Red Wings the entire season).

As the Red Wings head to Traverse City next week for camp, Frk is in a similar spot.

The Wings re-signed Frk, 24, to a one-year contract worth $1.05 million in June, after debating whether to qualify him or make him an unrestricted free agent.

There’s no guarantee Frk will be on the Opening Night roster. Like last season, it’s going to be a battle.

“I have to show them I deserve to be here,” said Frk on Friday, after another informal team workout. “I worked real hard in the summer to make sure I’m ready for this season. I was kind of in this spot last year. I had to come in here and earn a spot, and I stayed the whole year.

“I don’t think I have a spot here. I have to work real hard for it and make sure I show them I can play here. I want to do everything I can for it to make sure I start the season here.”

The fact Henrik Zetterberg (back) will not start the season — Zetterberg’s career could be in jeopardy — gives Frk a better chance of landing a roster spot that is suddenly open.

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But forwards Evgeny Svechnikov and Dominic Turgeon are looking for NHL jobs. Then there is Luke Witkowski, who is a versatile player and can play either forward or defense. He's also the team’s physical presence and Witkowski’s spot is uncertain.

There’s the slim chance the Wings could keep eight defensemen and only 13 forwards. Many variables are in play.

So Frk, who had 11 goals and 14 assists with the Wings last season, understands his job is hardly guaranteed.

“Hockey is a business,” Frk said. “Coaches and the staff will make the decision in the end, whether I deserve to be here or not. I will do everything for it to stay here because I want to be here.”

Frk has, arguably, the hardest shot on the team, and maybe one of the hardest in the NHL. But he needs to find other ways to score, as well as strengthen other areas of his game.

“They (coaches, front office) told me I did good but they want to see more,” said Frk, of the message after last season. “Hopefully, I can do way better, score a few more goals, and as a team, push for the playoffs.”

Green healthy, happy

There’s a reason defenseman Mike Green is smiling these days.

Green re-signed with the Wings on a two-year contract worth $10.75 million before the start of free agency, but he also had neck surgery that alleviated discomfort he’d been dealing with.

“It’s just one of those things that was going on for a long time,” Green said. “Basically I was playing not ot get hit and you can’t play the game effectively like that.

“It’s night and day (difference).”

Green will see the doctor who performed the surgery next week to be cleared for contact. Green is on schedule to be the Opening Night lineup Oct. 4 against Columbus.

Ice chips

Red Wings missing from the informal skates the past few days were Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Thomas Vanek.

Larkin was in Chicago for the NHL media tour.

… Forward Dominic Turgeon said he’s ready to compete for a roster spot after undergoing surgery in April for a blood clot in his right arm.

Turgeon, 22, missed the end of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ season and first-round playoff series when the clot developed.

... In Traverse City, the Red Wings opened the prospects tournament Friday with a 4-2 loss to Minnesota.

Filip Zadina (power play) and Jared McIsaac had goals, with Joe Veleno and Dennis Cholowski assisting on both goals.

The Red Wings play Dallas at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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