The New York Rangers and Alexander Frolov agreed to a one-year $3 million dollar contract yesterday, seemingly putting an end to the Rangers off-season moves; aside from re-signing RFA Marc Staal. The 28 year-old Russian sniper was drafted 20th overall in the 2000 NHL entry draft by the Los Angeles Kings, and thus, spent all of his seven NHL seasons with the Kings.
While the Kings were intent on bringing back Frolov, they put his negotiations on hold as they tried to sign Ilya Kovalchuk; and didn't make any secret about it. Frolov was understandably upset about the way he was treated and as a result, began taking offers from other teams. Among the offers he received was a 4-year $20-million dollar lure from the KHL. But instead he chose to remain in the NHL, and join the New York Rangers.
Before we get into what Frolov means for this upcoming season I want to make a point about his character. Frolov turned down $5-million dollars a year from the KHL in order to play with the Rangers. So for those of you who think that the Rangers were the only team that came calling, they weren't. He wanted to be a Ranger, which means something in my book, and it should resonate with you all as well.
Join me after the jump for more analysis.
Now back to Frolov. Last year was a rough season for Frolov, with him notching only 19 goals and 32 assists for 51 points in 81 games. The goal total was the lowest of his career excluding his 14 goal rookie season (that's saying something right there).
Frolov is a natural goal scorer, who also has the ability to find his line-mates constantly throughout the game. In his seven seasons he has eclipsed the 30 goal mark two times, and the 20 goal mark five times. He is also basically a guaranteed 50+ point guy. Starting from last season to his rookie year he has put up 51, 59, 67, 71, 54, 48 and 31 points respectively.
For those of you who are worried about his decrease in numbers, it's because of two reasons. The first reason is that the Kings have forced Frolov to become a better two-way player, and now he is a very formidable two-way guy. The second reason is that his power play time has been decreased - mainly because of the addition of Ryan Smyth, who plays a similar style of play as Frolov. Expect Frolov to get big time power play minutes under John Tortorella.
So let's look at what he brings to the Rangers themselves. For starters he will help the power play dramatically, and see tons of time on the unit. Want to know the best part? His style of play is scoring the dirty goals in front of the net, which should help Ranger fans stop ripping the hair out their heads.
Aside from the power play help he will take a ton of scoring pressure off of Marian Gaborik. Teams can no longer just play a blanket defense against Gaborik, because Frolov can easily score with the best of them. Frolov will also make more space for Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and whatever forward prospects end up making the team.
In the end, you can't be upset with the deal. It's for one year, and it allows the Rangers a ton of flexibility. Say that the Rangers are tanking, and won't be making the playoffs come February. Frolov will be a nice bargaining chip for playoff contending teams whoa re looking for some experience and scoring help.
At best - and this is my opinion on the situation - he makes the Rangers a very dangerous team to play against. You might not think that this addition makes a huge difference, but I do. This team and last year's team are basically akin, and adding a 20-30 goal scorer to last year's team (along with all of the increases we can expect from last years youngins') would have made some nice changes.
Anyway have at it guys the floor is yours. What do you think of the situation?