Thursday, September 2, 2010

Can Gaborik and Frolov be a Top Tandem in the NHL?

By Eric Bancker

The New York Rangers were one of the lowest scoring offenses in the NHL last year, Glen Sather came into this off-season looking to improve on that. Sather added Todd White, Mats Zuccarello Aasen, Derek Boogaard, and most recently Tim Kennedy to the forward corps. He also re-signed Vaclav Prospal and Erik Christensen. The biggest addition to the forward corps was Russian sniper, Alex Frolov.

Frolov is coming off a bad season with the Kings where he tallied his lowest amount of goals in his career (19). Frolov has scored 30 goals twice, once in 2006-2007 (35), and 2008-2009 (32). Frolov found himself benched multiple times last year and really fell out of favor in Los Angeles, he was allowed to walk via free agency and was considering going to the KHL next year. Glen Sather was able to swoop in and sign Frolov to a one-year/$3 million contract, giving Frolov a chance to prove he can still be a star in the NHL.

Frolov will find himself opposite of Marian Gaborik this season. Gaborik is one of the top players in the NHL and when healthy he has the ability to be a game-changer. Gaborik had a great season his first year on Broadway, scoring 42 goals which tied his career high. He had 86 points total which was a career high. Gaborik did all of this without a true center or another legitimate sniper on the other wing.

Now, can Frolov and Gaborik give the Rangers the one-two punch they have been looking for?

Its seems like the two could combine for roughly 70-80 goals this season. Now I'm not going to jump to conclusions and say that Frolov will score 30 goals, he may score 20-25, but he is a nice compliment to Gaborik. Now there's no way these two will rival the production of a Crosby and Malkin but these two give the Rangers a chance to win every night.

For the Rangers to be successful they will need Frolov to not be lazy and selfish like he was in LA, which is the reason why he is no longer a member of the Kings. If he goes back to his old ways then this will be like Nikolai Zherdev all over again, another Russian who didn't completely pan out for the Rangers. Frolov may feel more at home since his old roommate, Sean Avery, is a member of the Rangers. Now maybe Avery isn't exactly the best guy to help Frolov transition into the John Tortorella system since Avery is a bit of rebel himself, in case you didn't already know that.

Sather has also brought in players to make Gaborik feel a bit more comfortable, Todd White and Derek Boogaard, both played with Gaborik in Minnesota. Its kind of like when Sather brought in Nylander and Straka to play with Jaromir Jagr. But we all know White and Boogaard aren't on the same level as Nylander and Straka but its good to see him providing familiar faces to help Gaborik feel more comfortable. I'm also getting off topic but its still an interesting point.

The Rangers aren't ready to make a run at the Stanley Cup, but they are taking some positive steps to give Rangers fans more faith in the team and in Glen Sather. Maybe Frolov will pan out, maybe he wont but either way its a smart signing by Glen Sather, boy you don't get to say that often.

No comments:

Post a Comment