Now, before you go and laugh at me for even writing a post about this, let me say that if Alex Frolov hadn’t torn his ACL, I think he would have found his game and had a good second half. That said, you can’t go on “what ifs”. Frolov was a bit of a disaster of a signing for the Rangers, who signed the LW to a one year, $3 million deal last offseason. Brought in to help the powerplay and take some of the pressure off Marian Gaborik, Frolov did neither. Until he tore his ACL in January, he had a measly 16 points (7-9-16) in 43 games. His ice time went from first line to fourth line almost instantly, and then he tore his ACL and was lost for the season.
That said, Frolov’s play was definitely effected by the Gaborik injury in October. Playing with Gaborik in his first two games, Frolov notched an assist in each contest (ironically, so did Gaborik). Once Gaborik went down with his injury, Frolov cooled considerably, notching just two goals and an assist in the 13 games Gaborik missed with his shoulder injury. It’s not just about missing an elite talent on his line, it’s also about top defenders concentrating on him, rather than Gaborik.
Frolov never succeeded as a primary scorer, one who would face top defenders alone. While he was in LA, he had Dustin Brown and Mike Cammalleri during his career best 2006-2007 season, and again in 2007-2008. Following that, it was Anze Kopitar and other young LA talent that drew top defenders, leaving Frolov to deal with significantly less competition, where he benefited. That’s not a slight against Frolov by any means, he is an effective secondary scorer, which is what he was brought in to be. Unfortunately, when Gaborik went down, he was thrust into the primary scorer role, a role which does not suit him.
When Gaborik came back, the chemistry just wasn’t there. The team success didn’t really take a hit, thanks to Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, but the faith in Frolov was lost, and he saw most of his time on the fourth line with less skilled teammates. People will hate on Frolov for not producing, and hate on Glen Sather for making this signing, but in the end, it was a low-risk, high-reward signing that didn’t pan out. It’s not like he’s committed to the Rangers for next year too. He won’t be back, and while some will say good riddance, I will say it’s sad it didn’t work out. Frolov-Stepan-Gaborik could have been great.