Frolov Surprises.

Fresh from the oven, another Frolov rumors from Eklund.

Well, I guess this time, it makes more sense. Back in August, I reported a false rumor regarding Frolov for Demitra, O’Brien and a 3rd. Although that rumor did not materialize, the need to sign or trade Frolov is ever more imminent.

The Kings, under Head Coach Terry Murray, was having one of their best starts in recent history. The team, at one point in this season, led the entire Western Conference, something they haven’t done in many seasons. The spectacular play of their young goaltender Jonathan Quick, sophomore sensation Drew Doughty  and instant chemistry of newly-acquired Ryan Smyth with Kopitar and Williams made the L.A. Kings one of the most feared teams in the entire league.

The top-line played reliable and responsible two-way hockey, amassing both point-production and excellent +/- stats. However, this only last less than a month, when Justin Williams suffered a lower-body injury and missed five-games. Williams returned to action on Nov 2nd, and the trio played another eight games together, putting up 23 points in eights games amongst the three forwards.

Then on Nov 16, Smyth went down with an upper-body injury, and will miss the next 15 games!!! During which Kopitar and Williams combined only for 16 points in 15 games. In fact, Kopitar only had two goals and 6 assists for 8 points in the 15 outings without Smyth on his wing. A sharp contrast from the 31 points in 22 games playing along-side Smyth.

During this 15-games stretch, Murray gave Frolov a great opportunity to redeem himself, be it for contract-negotiation or open-market value. However, Frolov was only able to produce 8 points playing mostly on the top-line night-in and night-out during Smyth’s absence. This is perhaps the last chance Murray and Lombardi had for Frolov.

With Smyth back, and the team still able to win games without their big star, there wouldn’t have been any urgency to trade Frolov. But luck would have it that, four minutes into the reunion of the top line, Justin Williams suffered a broken leg after a check by Coyotes Ed Jovanovski. Williams had surgery this Monday, and the recovery time is expected to be 11 long weeks!!!

So what now???!! The Kings have lost three in a row, their top right-winger is out of the line-up for three months, and their top scorer Kopitar having only scored twice in the last TWENTY ONE games. The Kings now sit seventh in the West with 47 points, tied-up with both Calgary and Vancouver. With 43 games left, the Kings are only 8 points shy from the top spot, but leads Dallas, Detroit and Minnesota by either 4 points or less.

With just some 60 days away from the trading deadline, this is perhaps the best time to trade Frolov. With just 24 points in 38 games, on pace to his worst production ever since 2003, I seriously doubt the Kings will offer anything close to his previous contract of an avearge $3M per season. In fact, Frolov’s salary for this season is US$4-million.

But even if the Kings are willing to extend Frolov’s contract as it was, I would think Frolov would only consider the offer if the Kings are able to make the playoffs this season. If, after an amazing start to the season, the Kings still fail to make the playoffs or exit in the first round, Frolov at 27, will likely try the open market, and I am certain that many teams will be willing to offer him a big contract.

Of course, the dilemma GM Dean Lombardi has is this, Frolov being an under-performing imminent UFA, won’t be worth a lot in terms of trade value. The Kings now, still very much in the midst of a playoff run can’t afford to trade Frolov for future prospects. But if Lombardi doesn’t trade Frolov before the deadline, he may lose him for nothing.

The longer Lombardi waits, the lesser value Frolov will have, because with more games played, teams out of the playoff picture will start selling their players. With increase in supply and demand remains the same, the price/value will drop.

So I think that Lombardi is probably very busy on the phones right now. The deal will probably not just involve Frolov, but perhaps another young prospects or two. In return, the Kings will probably get a top-six winger.

The Canucks doesn’t fit the description as a trading partner. In fact, this has been an interesting season in terms of Canucks’ roster.

During about the same time last year, the Canucks are still looking for that perfect third-wheel to the Sedins line. We seem to be always on the look-out for a top-six forward. The arrival of Sundin, and eventually the development of the Sedins-Burrows, and RPM lines seem to solved the problem.

But this year, with Burrows again fitting nicely with the Sedins, and the Raymond/Kesler/Samuelsson line providing the much need secondary scoring, we are not in need on a top-six forward. Our defensive units would’ve been excellent as well, so deep that we had to put Matthieu Schneider on waiver, if Bieksa didn’t injure himself today.

Although I don’t think the Kings would be interested in the Canucks at all in terms of trying to get rid of Frolov, I will still give it a try and propose something:

Steve Bernier

Alexander Frolov
3rd Rounder

The Kings will get a talented RFA for two years in Bernier. Bernier is bigger, both 6’2″, Bernier weighs 225lbs vs Frolov’s 204lbs. Bernier is tougher, and has more goals (10) than Frolov (9) playing on a third line role. Bernier is cheaper in terms of salary hit, and is three years younger than Frolov.

The Canucks picks up an extra $0.9-million in terms of salary cap, but gets a potential top-line winger with risk. With a change of scenery, Frolov MIGHT get back to his 30+ goals per season form. The Canucks will need to be sure that Frolov intends to sign with Vancouver. The 3rd rounder is compensatory for the extra cap hit and the risks that comes with the trade.

Now that I proposed this, I actually think this makes sense for both teams.

Let’s wait at see, according to Eklund, we should have an answer to this in the next 24 hours. LOL.


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