Is Alexander Frolov Leaving the Los Angeles Kings? If So, Who's Headed West?

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Is Alexander Frolov Leaving the Los Angeles Kings? If So, Who's Headed West?
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A former 35-goal scorer, Alexander Frolov was a healthy scratch for Monday night's game in Dallas. Kings Head Coach Terry Murray said he has been very unhappy with his play this season and has had 10 meetings with him about it, and is not getting any feedback from Frolov.

I have been very critical of Frolov dating back to last season, but this season with the energetic play of nearly all other Kings' forwards, Frolov has stood out as a completely flat presence, contributing nothing defensively and very little offensively.

Granted, he does not have the offensively gifted linemates that he has had in the past, currently skating with Michael Handzus and Wayne Simmonds, but he just does not fit in on that line and seemingly, anywhere else on the team. In my estimation, he is realizing this fact and his effort is a product of that realization.

In addition to the above facts, these comments made by Kings GM Dean Lombardi in another interview with Rich Hammond after the benching of Frolov further implies that a trade is looming: "He’s either going to get on board or we’ll go in another direction with him. It’s as simple as that."

He did say that he thinks the situation is progressing, but what is he going to say? Frolov is useless and he is done with him? He has to say that he should be one of his better players because that is true and he wants to increase his value on the trade market.

Now, which teams could use help at the Wing position from a player like Frolov, that might be in a position to make such a deal? (He has played both RW and LW, right handed shot)

Among those teams, I will address three questions: can they afford him ($2.9 mil cap hit this year), do they have anyone the Kings (or I) would want that would also be a fair trade, and what is actually likelihood of the deal happening?

In my opinion, the Kings could use a gritty, energetic, physical forward who is also offensively capable, or at least not useless with the puck and likes to get into the tough area in front of the opponent's net. Of course, every team could use someone like this, but the Kings would definitely benefit from some secondary scoring as well as a guy that mixes it up.

With that, here is my Alexander Frolov trade situation speculation spectacular:

 

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks are really struggling with their top 6 this year, especially with the loss of Joe Pavelski to a foot injury.

That said, it doesn't matter all that much when the top line of Thornton-Heatley-Setoguchi scores four goals per game.

But realistically, they can't keep up that pace all year. They could use the help of another offensive-minded winger, and I could see Frolov fitting in there.

Can they afford him?

Not unless they give up someone of similar salary.

Do they have anything to offer?

I would love to see Ryan Clowe in a Kings' uniform. He hasn't produced much yet playing on the second line, (one point in nine games) and perhaps he simply doesn't fit with his linemates.

I speculated that he might play on the top line alongside Heatley and Thornton, considering Heatley and Setoguchi are both shoot-first players, but that line is playing as well as any line in the league, and is not likely to be split up any time soon.

Clowe is exactly the type of player that I think the Kings need: he's not afraid to mix it up, goes to the dirty areas, and has a decent scoring touch, notching 22 goals last season. At a $3.625 mil cap hit, the Kings could afford him and he would clear more than enough room for Frolov.

Likelihood?

30 percent. I think Lombardi would prefer to trade him to an Eastern Conference team, and would definitely be weary of trading him within the division.

I also know that despite his slow start, the Sharks organization is pretty fond of Clowe. That said, my gut tells me that this trade would actually help both teams so I wouldn't rule it out completely.


Colorado Avalanche

Oddly enough, the Avs and the Sharks are both among the highest scoring teams in the league, but on paper, their top 6 forwards both seem a little thin.

The Avalanche, unlike the top-heavy Sharks, are getting help from everyone, including defensemen, and their goaltender Craig Anderson.

Because they are currently in contention, I could see them looking to bolster their offensive corps.

That opinion is supported by the fact that they have been included in the Forsberg return rumors. If not, Frolov could possibly be a help to them.

Can they afford him?

Absolutely: Cap space = $6.5 mil.

Do they have anything to offer?

The Avs already traded the Kings the player they wanted most in Ryan Smyth, and so far that is paying off deliciously.

I would say that Darcy Tucker or Cody Mcleod would be the closest thing to the type of player the Kings would want (except Matt Duchene but he's not going anywhere) but I am not in love with either of them and I think the Kings could get something better for Frolov.

Likelihood?

15 percent. Nothing seems to make sense here, but the fact that the teams have completed a deal in recent past cannot be overlooked.


Minnesota Wild

The Wild are among the last in the league in goals scored at 15 in seven games. They could definitely use an offensive boost and I assume they would probably take a chance with any 30+ goal scorer they could get their hands on.

Can they afford him?

Yup: $3.39 million cap space.

Do they have anything to offer?

Eh. Nothing enticing. Former King Eric Belanger is off to a good start this year, but I hate going back to the same well.

Likelihood?

15 percent. Truly I don't see anything the Kings would like in return but the Wild could really use the help.

 

Vancouver Canucks

Talk about needing help at winger. The Canucks have employed the use of a known agitator in Alex Burrows on their top line. Sure, he scored 31 goals last year but he was playing with the Sedin twins who put up points like there's no tomorrow.

Now, Daniel Sedin is out with a broken foot and Steve Bernier is also playing on the top line. Vancouver is actually one of the few teams I could see using Frolov on the first line.

Can they afford him?

Where they currently stand - Just barely.

Do they have anything to offer?

Depends on how badly they would want Frolov. I am a big Ryan Kesler fan but at the very least the Kings would have to send a pretty juicy draft pick in conjunction with Frolov. Doesn't make too much sense for Vancouver.

Steve Bernier could be a nice addition for the Kings third line, and with a $2 mil cap hit, makes some sense for both teams. I would not be in love with this trade, but it could work.

Likelihood?

40 percent. The Canucks need scoring help and have been known to deal players. I could see Dean being stingy with what he gets in return, however, as the Canucks only have a few intriguing pieces.


Detroit Red Wings

There were a few rumors over the summer involving Frolov to the Wings, and Detroit has been off to a rocky start. Losing Hossa, Hudler, Samuelsson, and Kopecky has been rather detrimental to the scoring in Detroit.

The new young guns are not sufficiently picking up the slack and Johan Franzen is out for an expected four months with a knee injury.

Can they afford him?

Not quite, they'd have to deal some salary.

Do they have anything to offer?

The options here are interesting. Dan Cleary is the type of guy that I think would help the Kings a lot, but he signed a five year deal last year and is probably staying put, especially after a terrific playoff performance last season.

Jason Williams and Todd Bertuzzi are new additions that I could see the Wings parting with, but the question of whether Frolov is a significant enough upgrade would be an issue. I think he is, but there would be a lot of pressure on his shoulders. I am also not in love with either player in return.

Likelihood?

20 percent. The Detroit brass does not easily panic, and there does not seem to be a great fit for either team.


Nashville Predators

Nashville could desperately use some scoring assistance, tallying a league-low 10 goals in seven games. Not going to get it done. I think they would take anything at this point.

Can they afford him?

You bet. Current Total Cap Hit = 45.36, among the league's lowest.

Do they have anything to offer?

They can't really afford to give up much which could be the problem here. I like the play of Joel Ward last year, but he has not proven as much as Frolov in the NHL and would not be enough. I like J.P. Dumont, but I doubt they would part with his services. Maybe Ryan Suter?

Likelihood?

35 percent. They, too, desperately need help, it would just be a matter of putting an attractive package together on Nashville's end good enough to entice Lombardi.

 

Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens are always under much scrutiny in the hockey-crazed city in southern Quebec. They had an active offseason, acquiring some talented forwards including former King Michael Cammalleri.

The Canadiens have been struggling, however, and could use some help at the wing position. The fact that Frolov and Cammalleri have played together in the past could be an enticing option.

Can they afford him?

Actually, no, unless they move someone of equal or more salary. They are right against the cap.

Do they have anything to offer?

A guy like Maxim Lapierre would be intriguing, but wouldn't work financially since he's making under a million this year. Same with Guillaume Latendresse.

Travis Moen could be paired with one of them at $1.5 million and that would be a nice package, but I don't think it would make sense for Montreal to give up that much, especially considering that they need Moen to protect their tiny forwards.

Likelihood?

25 percent. I don't see anything that makes much sense for either team.


New Jersey Devils

The Devils will be playing a defensive minded game all year, under the reigns of Jacques Lemaire once again, but that doesn't mean they couldn't use some scoring assistance.

They are struggling to fill out their top 6, especially with a and Frolov could actually be a viable option.

Can they afford him?

He fits just under their cap, and I'm sure moving someone would create more than enough space.

Do they have anything to offer?

Yes. I really like David Clarkson and he is the type of guy that I think the Kings really need. I doubt they'd be willing to part with him, however. Jamie Langenbrunner would be ideal in return but that is even more of a stretch than Clarkson on New Jersey's part.

Likelihood?

20 percent. I think a deal could be arranged that would actually make sense for both teams, but GM Lou Lamoriello does not make big deals very often, and they certainly aren't panicking.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are obviously coming off their Stanley Cup victory, and have had some cap issues causing them to not be able to afford to hold onto some players.

The main problem is that they have two franchise players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and actually three if you count Marc-Andre Fleury.

They have, however, struggled to find players to play along side their star centers, and only recently found some help in Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin.

Still, I think Frolov would fit nicely on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko. Obviously, not all Russians gel together all the time, but Frolov really is great in the corners and having a guy to do that would help Malkin be able to play more in the middle of the ice where he needs to be.

Can they afford him?

Not really, so they'd have to move someone who already has a contract that would make room for Frolov.

Do they have anything to offer?

Before Jack Johnson signed, I discovered a rumor that involved trading him for Jordan Staal. I love JJ, but that rumor made me salivate. They do need to clear some salary and since Frolov is a free agent next year, this move does make some sense.

I know Pittsburgh fans would not be happy about it, but the fact is that Staal will never be more than a third line center in Pittsburgh, and he deserves a chance for more. Even though the top two lines are pretty much set in LA, I'm sure he would get a shot to at least center the second line.

He is the type of defensive-minded yet offensively capable forward that would fit in very well with Terry Murray's system and the type of personality that Dean Lombardi consistently pursues.

Likelihood

50 percent

This makes sense, but Staal is coveted in Pittsburgh and has been a terrific playoff performer. For the Kings to acquire him for Frolov, they would probably have to send at least a prospect as well. It could happen.


Wish List

This is my list of players who would be an ideal return for Frolov, in that they are the type of player that I think is the missing piece in the Kings' lineup, but are not likely to be going anywhere, yet they would not be a huge stretch in a 1-for-1 deal:

T.J. Oshie : I think this one is obviously, but if you aren't familiar with his play in St. Louis, he is basically the 'Mike Richards' type of player that fans absolutely love: he scores goals, lays people out, and skates every shift like it is his last. So much so, that there was a campagin by fans calling for "T.J. Oshie for mayor of St. Louis."

Milan Lucic : Basically, the same situation as Oshie. He is a fan favorite, and an organization favorite as well. What he lacks in offensive ability in comparison to Oshie, he more than makes up for in size and toughness.

Ryan Callahan : He is a young, high-energy player who also has a nose for the net. He is also a part of the young core in New York and is staying put.

Scott Hartnell : Dean Lombardi has been reported to have been trying to acquire him from the Flyers for about a year now. He does represent the type of player the Kings need and that any player would want on their team: big, aggressive, fast, loyal, and able to bury it.

He is actually the only player on this list that could possibly be moved, mainly do to the team's salary cap issues. I just don't think Frolov fits into the teams high speed/energy style of play.

Brooks Laich : He was an integral part in what success the Capitals have had in the post-season as well as regular season. He is seeing time on the top power play unit and is definitely one of Bruce Boudreau's favorite players. He plays a style that is high energy, likes to hit, and always seems to get the put to the net.

Ryan Malone : He has great size, great, and hands in front of the net. He seems to be fitting well on a line with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.

 

Another long one, thanks for reading if you got through it. As always, please weigh in with your thoughts.

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