The issues surrounding Alexander Frolov might be the most pressing for the Los Angeles Kings off-season. To be sure there are quite a few issues that the Kings need to handle, including locking Doughty up long term, examining the free agent pool, determining their goaltending future and much more. Despite all of those issues, Frolov is perhaps the most important issue to be resolved. That’s true for a couple specific reasons:
- Frolov is currently the longest tenured Los Angeles Kings player on the roster. He’s a part of the consistency that the Kings have been building, and certainly has given much of his playing career to the fans in Los Angeles.
- If Frolov is going to be under contract by July 1st, the Kings are going to need to get moving. There’s not a lot of time left to negotiate, and I tend to think that if Frolov hits the free market he may get priced out of the Kings budget.
Who is Frolov? Drafted in 2000, he’s been playing for the Kings since 2002, and has demonstrated himself as an incredible possession player. There may be no better player in the league at holding the puck and protecting that possession deep in the offensive zone. He has a tendency to focus on the pass more than the shot, but has put up respectable numbers throughout his career. There’s no question that as a 27 (nearly 28) year old, he’s probably at about the top of his ability. He’ll be able to perform at the level he is at for several more years, but is unlikely to make a big jump in skill level.
Realistically, Frolov is probably a 60 point player who will occasionally net 70 or so points. He’s not going to anchor a top line, but he is an excellent addition to most second lines around the league and despite the criticism he gets from some fans, he would be a welcome addition to any team in the league. His skill is undeniable, although so is his frustrating inconsistency. While he has skill in delivering nice passes to teammates after holding the puck behind the net, he is regularly (and justifiably) criticized for not shooting nearly enough. No doubt Kings fans (and coaches) would appreciate it if he put the puck on net more regularly.
So what do the Kings do with Frolov? Well if they’re going to resign him, it needs to be for a reasonable price. I wouldn’t give him much more than $4M annually. I’m not sure if that would be a sufficient raise for him to stick around the City of Angels, and we may have to say goodbye to a long-time Kings player. While it would be bittersweet, and I’m hopeful he’ll decide to stick around for a reasonable price, it wouldn’t be a heart breaker. The Kings have a bright future for the first time, and as long as they use the cap space that would be freed up by letting him walk, I’m ok with it. It’s nice to know that the Kings did finally manage to give Frolov his first taste of the playoffs. Like the fans, after eight years, he certainly deserved his shot in the post-season.
Regardless of what happens in July, I think I can say with confidence that Frolov will have a strong rest of his career. A few more years with the Kings would be great. If he leaves, good luck to him (unless he goes to the Ducks)…
What do you think? Should the Kings resign him? If so, for how much?