When July 1st rolls around the entire sporting world will probably be wondering where LeBron James is going. But unfortunately the New York Rangersaren’t the New York Team that LeBron is supposedly very interested in.
The big name that NHL General Managers will be looking into is Ilya Kovalchuk. The big time, perennial superstar who’s 1-8 career playoff record doesn’t seem to raise any red flags. Kovalchuk will certainly gather a ton of attention, and no matter where he goes—to the KHL or if he stays in the NHL—he will command (and receive) a huge contract.
I don’t think the Rangers should go after Kovalchuk. They have their superstar, and honestly, Marian Gaborik is a better all around player than Kovalchuk is. Yes, Kovalchuk scored more goals, but keep in mind that he wasn’t on the offense starved Rangers; and even if Gaborik does score 10 less goals a year than Kovalchuk, his defensive play is worth its weight in gold. Kovalchuk doesn’t have that defensive frame of mind, and Kovalchuk hasn’t shown me that he has any desire to win.
So while teams are throwing millions of dollars at Kovalchuk; begging him to help their power play, drag them to the playoffs, map out a plan for world peace or whatever else a person who gets 8+ million dollars a year is expected to do; the Rangers should be looking at the other options on the table.
Join me after the jump for those other options ...
Alexander Frolov is a name that has crossed rumor paths with the Rangers multiple times over the past two years. But with his contract expiring, the whispers that have had him donning Ranger blue for the past two years may come true.
Like I said before, the Rangers have their superstar in Gaborik; they don’t need another one. What they do need, however, is some secondary scoring to help ease the pressure on the Rangers. Frolov may be the answer to those questions.
Now I know what you’re thinking: the 28 year-old left winger will be way too expensive for the Rangers. This very well may be true, but the Rangers do have one thing working in their favor: Frolov’s disappointing 19 goal 32 assist point total this past season. Because of his age I would have no problem offering Frolov a 5 year 25 million dollar contract. If he wants much more than that, then let him walk. But since he plays on Gaborik’s off-wing he would certainly give Gaborik some space; and he would also definitely help the Ranger have another threat on their power play.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of different options for the Rangers to choose from, but Frolov might be one of the younger and more talented ones. Obviously the monetary figures need to work out in order for this to work; but there is no doubt that the Rangers can use his talent. And yes, the Rangers would have to remove at least one of the Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival duo.
The Bruins have gotten stronger with Nathan Horton, the Flyers have gotten stronger with Dan Hamhuis and the Devils have even joined the party trading for Jason Arnott. The teams around the Rangers are getting better, especially the teams within the division. The Rangers need to have an answer to those questions, Frolov might be one of those answers.
Free agency isn't overly appealing--and with Tomas Plekanec off the market, options become more and more scarse.
So what are you thoughts guys? If it can work do you want Frolov? The floor is yours.