Monday, July 26, 2010

Rangers interested in Frolov

They took a chance on one enigmatic Russian to start the Post-Jagr Era two summers ago. Now, the Rangers are reportedly interested in Alexander Frolov, who remains unsigned. Last night via Twitter, reliable Rycckuu Puck Daddy source Dmitry Chesnokov tweeted about the possibility of the 28 year-old King winding up on Broadway.

In seven seasons all spent in Hollywood, Frolov's tallied 168 goals along with 213 assists for 381 points over 536 career games. Solid but unspectacular for the gifted Russian who the Kings drafted back in '00 first round (20th overall). Out of the seven, he's scored 20-or-more five times and hit 30-plus twice, posting a career best 35 in '06-07 which turned out to be his defining year- playing all 82 while adding 36 helpers totaling 71 points, 10 power play goals, a shorthanded goal and six deciding markers.

Since, the streaky player from Moscow has seen production dip, going from 67 points in '07-08 to 59 in '08-09 to 51 last season. His 19 goals and 51 points were the lowest output dating back to Frolov's rookie year of '02-03 (14-17-31 in 79 GP). So, is this a player that can help the Rangers? Perhaps. He's got high skill and similar finishing ability a la Broadway flop Nikolai Zherdev. What to make of the recent decline? Who knows? Two years ago, he still lit the lamp 32 times including a career high 12 PPG. One thing which is shocking is that Frolov doesn't shoot enough, averaging a shade over 170-per-season. But also similar to Zherdev who signed with bitter nemesis Philadelphia, he's versatile- registering 30-or-more assists in four of the past five campaigns since the lockout. That included a career best 44 in '07-08.

The burning question is is he worth the gamble? Surely, Frolov shouldn't cost a ton, having earned four million this past year but at an average cap hit of $2.9 M. Combined with a down year and not much of a market, he could be forced to take a paycut. Something we're certain agent Don Meehan wants no part of. But if LA and New York are the only real players, then that doesn't leave much of a bargaining chip for the Frolov camp.

It's true that the Blueshirts lack high end skill and could use a player like Frolov to assist Marian Gaborik. However, they have little room. Glen Sather must still re-sign Marc Staal, virtually leaving no space. Of course, that could change once October hits if the Wade Redden to Hartford rumors are substantiated. If they do land Frolov, it better be for no more than two years after the Ales Kotalik debacle. Personally, I'd take him for one at $2.5 M knowing that if he struggles or the team does, they can always move him at the deadline.

If it were up to me, I'd advise Frolov to stay put on an emerging LA club that should only improve. We're not in his head.

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