Monday, August 4, 2008
Time is Now for Frolov
The numbers don't show it, but Alexander Frolov is coming off his best year as a Los Angeles King. After being plagued with a groin injury for the first 3 months of the season, a new and much improved Frolov showed up for the second half. Gone were the days of 10 goals in 5 games followed up by a disappearing act for 2 weeks.
After January 1, Alexander put up 19 goals and 25 assists in 42 games. The search for a 2nd line center was ended when Jarret Stoll was brought in. There is no reason to believe that a healthy Frolov could eclipse 40 goals and 100 points.
I expect new head coach Terry Murray to tinker around a bit, but when the regular season starts you should expect to see Stoll, Frolov, and either Kyle Calder or Ted Purcell playing left wing on the second unit.
Frolov is at his best in the corners and on the half wall. His size and strength allow him to get position on any-sized defender or forward. His head is always up, and if he isn't making the pass to the slot, he is out-muscling defenders to the far post for a wrap-around.
Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are really coming into their own and Patrick O'Sullivan was a great addition to the top line last year. If you add a 40/100 campaign in for Frolov the Kings will have two legitimate scoring lines with a bunch of youngsters chomping at the bit to make an impact.
The Kings are going to have their fair share of 7-5 wins this year, but if they want to compete past December they are going to have to learn to win the 2-1 games. The top 2 lines will be up to this task, but the question marks lie elsewhere. The back line has added some much needed grit and physicality, but the impact defensemen are still pretty young and will be prone to errors.
Jason LaBarbera is more than capable of carrying a 60 game load. If he doesn't, there are 3 young netminders who are prepared to show that they are.
One thing I am sure of, if Frolov is pushing for a 50-goal season you just might see the Kings in the thick of things come March.