At this point in free agency, the focus shifts from the gems to flawed guys who can still bring some skill to the table. So, going forward, we’ll spotlight individual players who are flying under the radar.
Yesterday’s entry: Vyacheslav “Slava” Kozlov.
Today, I’ll take a look at Alexander Frolov.
Name: Alexander Frolov
Height: 6-2 Weight: 204 lbs.
Strengths: Two-way play, puck possession, size, goal scoring
Weaknesses: Motivation/confidence, consistency, over-passing?
It honestly boggles my mind that the teams who balk at Ilya Kovalchuk’s asking price aren’t barking up Frolov’s tree. Maybe they are and he’s also providing suitors with a little sticker shock, because the Russian left winger brings plenty to the table even after a considerable down year in Los Angeles.
You can’t totally discount that sour 2009-10 season, though. He had his lowest goal scoring total since his rookie year in 02-03 with 19 after scoring 32 in 08-09. Frolov found himself the subject of seemingly justifiable trade rumors and occasionally landed in coach Terry Murray’s doghouse. In an odd twist of fate, he would theoretically still be a decent fit for the Kings if it weren’t for that pesky falling out season.
Still, why wouldn’t a cap-challenged contender make a bid for his services?
At 28-years old, Frolov hit the 30-plus mark in goals scored twice and added three more 20-plus goal seasons in his seven seasons in the NHL. He’s generally hit the 50-60 point range in post-lockout seasons, with a peak year of 71 in 06-07.
Frolov is reasonably responsible in his end and has a knack for puck possession. Could he be a little more assertive and/or consistent? Absolutely, but as we’ve mentioned plenty of times lately, we’ve already passed the “dream players” period in free agency. Teams have to accept a few blemishes if they want to land some talent now.
Money dictates a lot of these situations, so it’s always possible that Frolov wants too much. Also, as a talented Russian player, there’s always the threat of a KHL defection. Yet, even though the Ilya Kovalchuk talks clearly inhibit the movement of other other free agents, it’s still a little startling that there hasn’t been more public interest for Frolov’s talents.
He could end up being the steal of free agency, if he came at a decent price.