The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings made a big trade last summer and I think there’s a chance to do business at the deadline.
The Kings are by no means out of the race and this would be a trade that would not involve impending free agents.
This is a trade for an actual left winger for the 1line. The completion of the “let’s get Hemsky a scorer on LW” search that began the day Ryan Smyth was traded and has been painful and expensive to this point.
It’ll cost a lot, because he’s durable, has size and can score goals. He’s good on the powerplay. He’s Alexander Frolov.
Dean Lombardi built the San Jose Sharks from the ground up during his time there. He was in on the drafting of Patrick Marleau, Brad Stuart, Scott Hannan, Evgeny Nabokov and Vesa Toskala among many others–I believe Ryan Clowe was a Lombardi-era draft–and he also brought in some quality veterans like Owen Nolan, Teemu Selanne, Mike Ricci and Vincent Damphousse. The Sharks were quality under Lombardi.
Now in Los Angeles (since June 2006) and the Kings are a team on the rise. The sheer number of quality players under 25 is astounding:
- 19: Drew Doughty
- 20: Wayne Simmonds, Oscar Moller
- 21: Anze Kopitar
- 22: Jack Johnson
- 23: Kyle Quincey, Jonathan Quick
- 24: Dustin Brown, Patrick O’Sullivan
That’s a very strong list. This is a quality team that is the youngest in the entire league. Why then would they trade Frolov?
- He’s a year from free agency (summer 2010) and the Kings have some of these young men coming along who are going to require big paydays soon (Kopitar just got a huge payday, with Johnson an RFA in the summer).
- I’ve not read much from Lombardi about Frolov being at the center of the future Kings and he chews up a lot of icetime for the results.
- He is not at this point the Kings best forward (Kopitar, Brown and maybe O’Sullivan) and the number on the birth certificate tells us that is unlikely to change in the future. He’ll be making 4M in 09-10, how much are you going to spend on your 4th best forward in the cap world?
I don’t think they can get him without giving up something significant but it’s also true there is very little out there at the deadline that can help this Oilers team short term. Frolov is an established NHL scorer (105 goals since the lockout, including a 35-goal season) and he may be available.
The cost? Young, cheap and very good.