Thursday, May 12, 2011

Alex Frolov Signs HC Avangard Omsk of KHL

In the least surprising news of the day category, Alexander Frolov has signed to play in the KHL.  The deal is reportedly for three years with HC Avangard Omsk, according to the team’s website.  While Frolov looking to get his career back led him to the KHL is not surprising, the fact that Omsk would commit to a three-year pact with him at this point is somewhat shocking.  Given both his declining play and shredded knee that he will be coming back from that seems like a gamble, though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Frolov’s time with the Rangers was a disappointment as he only recorded seven goals and nine assists in his 43 games for the Blueshirts.  He was expected to give them at least 20 goals and 50 points as a secondary scorer to pair with Marian Gaborik, but that never materialized before his season was ended by the knee injury.  The only thing that saved Glen Sather from more criticism with Frolov’s deal was the fact that he only had a one year pact with the forward.  The move was a low-risk, high-reward gamble for Sather and the Rangers and it just didn’t work as well as either side had hoped.
The more intriguing question now might be whether Frolov gets to play with Jaromir Jagr in Omsk next season or if Jagr is coming back to the NHL instead.  Check out this morning’s take on what Jagr could still bring to the Rangers.

Jagr Would Fill Rangers Needs If Price Is Right

Jaromir Jagr has not played a shift in an NHL game since the end of the 2008 season with the New York Rangers, but the nostalgia of bringing back 68 is rising daily right now.  During the 2011 IIHF World Championships he has five goals, three assists in seven games, including a hat-trick yesterday to eliminate Team USA.  While the hat-trick was great to watch for fans of Jagr yesterday, let us also put into perspective that is was scored against a very B type squad the USA had out there including Ty Conklin who is a backup netminder.  The Rangers are looking for someone who is a legitimate star type forward and while at 39-years-old Jagr is not what he was earlier in his career he still has something left in the tank.  The question with Jagr will be what it was when he left three years ago; money.

Jagr didn’t leave the NHL because he couldn’t play at a high level in the league anymore.  Rather he left because no one would pay him what he wanted to be here.  Having played three years with Avangard Omsk maybe he is willing to take less than he would have during the summer of 2008 to end his stellar career with one last run in the NHL.  That run would not be as the player who had 646 goals and 1,599 points in just 1,273 games in his career, or even the one who put up a 25-56-71 line in his final season with New York, but he could easily be a 20-35-55 player with the rules in the NHL today.

Jagr hasn’t committed to where he would like to play next season:
“It’s too early for me, I don’t really know what I want to do next year,” Jagr said Tuesday. “I don’t know where I want to play. Right now I just want to concentrate for this tournament, it’s not going to be more than one week.”
If Jagr does decide to return to the NHL the Rangers should be interested if the price is right.  He can add a veteran presence to the room, leadership and a voice for the young players who might never see half of what he has seen on and off the ice.  What he can bring on the ice is a skilled player that has chemistry with Dubinsky and can help to fix the struggling power play.  On a one year deal, especially if the Rangers don’t get Brad Richards, this is a stop-gap move that helps them next season and risks nothing from the future.