While Ilya Kovalchuk gets all the attention as this summer’s high-profile goal scoring Russian left wing (that’s a mouthful), former Los Angeles Kings forward Alex Frolov mostly slips under the radar. He shares a lot in common with Kovalchuk although he’s certainly nowhere near as dynamic, consistent or productive. Mean folks might even call him a poor man’s Kovalchuk.
The New York Rangers have had some experience when it comes to gambling on flighty, right-handed Russians. The team rolled the dice with the hot-and-cold Nik Zherdev, and although that experiment was mostly a failure, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the team might try again with Frolov. To be fair, Frolov has been a lot more productive in his NHL days.
Frolov can be a frustrating player, but he only truly hit a down note last season when he really fell into the Kings’ dog house. After putting up five seasons with 20 goals or more – including 35 in 06-07 and 32 in 08-07 – Frolov regressed to 19 goals and only 51 points last year. That’s the lowest total he’s had since producing 48 in 03-04.
So it’s hard to say what kind of price would be right for Frolov. My guess was (and, really, still is) that the mercurial Russian will end up in the KHL. However, if he wants to stay in the NHL, I believe he could still be a productive NHL player. In fact, he could be a person we look back on as one of the steals of the summer of 2010.
More on Frolov as information trickles in.