This just in: the Rangers are in pursuit of a goal-scoring
Russian winger in the middle of his prime.
No, it’s not Ilya Kovalchuk. Multiple reports Tweets last night suggested that the Rangers
were hot for Alexander Frolov and that Frolov’s choices may be limited to
Broadway, a return to Los Angeles,
or the KHL.
GM Glen Sather has repeatedly said that he is not done
tinkering with the Blueshirts roster, but there has been little news to report
in recent weeks. Now it appears that the
Rangers may be trying to acquire Frolov, 28, who has spent his entire seven-year
career with the Kings.
If what you’ve heard about Frolov reminds you of another Rangers
experiment, ex-Ranger and current Flyer Nikolai Zherdev, you’re on to
something. Like Zherdev, Frolov oozes
with offensive talent but can’t seem to put it all together. Like Zherdev, Frolov has been the subject of
trade whispers for ages. And like
Zherdev, many around LA have been less than thrilled with Frolov’s dedication
It’s a bit surprising that Sather is so interested in
bringing in such a similar player to Zherdev, but perhaps the thinking is that
John Tortorella’s style of coaching is more suited to bring out the best in a
player than Tom Renney’s. While it’s
possible Tortorella’s iron fist could scare Frolov into compliance, it’s
probably more likely that Frolov and Tortorella would be at each other’s
throats before training camp is over.
Frolov’s talent is undeniable. He has scored 50+ points in each of the last
five seasons, something no Ranger other than Marian Gaborik can say.
He has also demonstrated an annoying pattern of 30-goal
season, huge drop-off, 30-goal season, etc. over his career (14, 24, 21, 35,
23, 32, 19). But as was the case with
Zherdev, it’s tempting to see only the gaudy numbers and hope that a
still-young player like Frolov can meet them consistently as he matures. Frolov scored only 19 times this year, the
lowest total since his rookie season. That is alarming, especially considering the inspiration he should have
had during a contract year, but part of the equation is that the Kings were so
much better and deeper this season than at any point in Frolov’s career and as
a result he saw less time on the power play.
His contract demands are reportedly in the neighborhood of
$5 million annually, a shocking expectation for a guy who scored only 19 goals
last season. Of course, if Frolov’s
agent told him that there was any team that would meet that request, you can be
sure the Rangers were at the top of the list. As with all of the high priced players we’ve heard the Blueshirts might
be interested in, the only way the Rangers could fit Frolov under the Salary
Cap is if they’ve decided Wade Redden is heading for Hartford.
Frolov would take some of the scoring burden off Gaborik and
bring the Rangers closer to having a legitimate top two lines. But unless the Rangers can sign him to a
shorter and much cheaper deal than Frolov desires, they should stay away. At 28, Frolov is still young enough to
develop into a consistent NHL scorer. But committing a spot to the enigmatic winger when the Rangers have a
host of top prospects nearly ready at the same position could be a major
Arthur Staple just Tweeted that Frolov is mulling a four year offer to play in the KHL and a two year
offer from the Rangers for less money. He
believes that the KHL offer is close to meeting Frolov’s demands but the
Rangers offer is not. Sounds like a
resolution could come quickly.