The recent signing of Alexander Frolov has left the Rangers faithful divided. Many see the name, and declining stats the past two seasons, and instantly scream Nikolai Zherdev. Others see the 27 year old UFA as much needed secondary scoring to compliment Marian Gaborik, and a very shrewd signing by General Manager Glen Sather. Regardless of your personal opinions of Frolov, the fact is that he will be on the team next season.
So what can anyone really expect from the winger? When looking at his raw numbers, Frolov only failed to score 20 goals twice, with once being his rookie year. He also routinely puts up 50 points per season, which is something the Rangers are fairly hard pressed to find on their current roster. His point totals, and goal totals, slipped recently due to a drop in powerplay time. On the Rangers, Frolov will not run into that powerplay issue, as he will more than likely be placed on a powerplay unit with Marian Gaborik. The combination of Frolov and Gaborik gives the Rangers a potent 1-2 punch on the powerplay, and will force each penalty killing unit to spread themselves out. This creates more opportunities for both Gaborik and Frolov, and hopefully leads to more pwoerplay efficiency from the Rangers.
Looking past the raw stats, Frolov put up a 7.9 GVT, including a 3.0 DGVT, which means he isn’t just a one way player. He is at least competent in his own end, something that Ales Kotalik can learn from. Don’t get me wrong, Frolov is far from a defensive stalwart, but he can at least hold his own while providing good offensive numbers. Frolov also averages a fantastic 1.83 points/60. To put that in perspective, only three regular Rangers had a higher points/60: Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, and Brandon Dubinsky.
Is it unfair to expect a 25 goal, 60 point season from Frolov? I don’t think so, especially if coach John Tortorella puts him on the top powerplay unit with Gaborik. At even strength, it might be prudent to separate the two to prevent the opposition from stacking the defense, but on the powerplay, you can expect these two to shine. Plus, Frolov is fully capable of doing something like this:
Who knows, Frolov might just turn all those nay-sayer into believers come the end of the season. The fact that Frolov is playing for a big time NHL contract can’t hurt either.