Sunday, August 1, 2010

Getting To Know The Newest Rangers: Alexander Frolov

Who is he? 
Alex Frolov is the newest member of the New York Rangers, signing a one year contract last Tuesday. Frolov is a Russian left wing who contemplated returning to Russia to play in the KHL after deciding against re-signing with the Los Angeles King. Frolov was drafted in 2000 by the Kings 20th overall. In 536 NHL games, Frolov has 168 goals and 381 points points.

What's his contract?
Frolov signed with the Rangers for one year at $3M. He will become a UFA next July. It was rumored that he was seeking more than $4.5M prior to signing the deal.  It was also rumored and later confirmed by Frolov that he was close to signing with a team in the KHL. The Kings wanted to re-sign Frolov, but only after they made a strong pitch to land Ilya Kovalchuk. Once Kovalchuk decided to instead sign with New Jersey, the Kings tried to get Frolov back in LA. Apparently Frolov wasn't too happy with the way the Kings handled the whole situation and immediately told them he wasn't returning.

What does he bring to the Rangers?
Frolov is capable of scoring 30 goals in a season, he's done it twice in seven sesaons playing in LA. He also has three 20 goal seasons, just missing a fourth last season when he finished the year with 19 goals.

The Rangers hope that he will slide in on the top line alongside Marian Gaborik. Don't forget, that was also the plan last season when Chris Higgins was acquired from Montreal as part of the Scott Gomez trade. However, Frolov has way more offensive potential than Higgins ever had.

Many Rangers fans are excited about the signing because Frolov does have the potential to have another 30 goal season playing alongside Gaborik. But, there are many fans who are upset because they see this as one less chance for a young Rangers prospect to get minutes. Many were hoping that Grachev would make the team this season, but it's unlikely that he will stay in New York unless he's on one of the top three lines.

The other issue that will have to be answered is whether Frolov can be consistent. That is the only knock that continuously appears in almost every article about the guy. There is no doubt that Frolov has the skills of a top-6 NHL forward. The problem is that he isn't always consistent.

What other bloggers are saying:

Scotty Hockey
I don't hate Frolov. I hate what he stands for. He is the latest mercenary that Sather has signed to maintain this mediocre team's meager reputation. I want the franchise to "Either go 4 the Cup or build a team that can win 1. Don't set the bar at 8th place." By bringing in another hired gun, that is all that they are doing.

Joe Fortunato - Blueshirt Banter
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.
Rangers Tribune
I think he will fit into the lineup nicely, though, most likely filling a slot on the second offensive line. Other than Gaborik no Ranger last year scored more than twenty goals so to have someone that is capable of doing so on the second unit will make a big difference. I know a lot of you are wondering if head coach John Tortorella will consider trying Frolov and Gaborik on the same line, and the answer is yes, I am almost positive he will.

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