A first look at…Frolov

By the narrowest of margins — 33 votes, as of this typing — you picked Alexander Frolov to be the Kings’ first-line left wing, completing a first line of Frolov, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams.

The trouble with analyzing Frolov is, what more can be said? After the departures of Patrick O’Sullivan and Jason LaBarbera, Frolov probably became the player who inspires the most debate among Kings fans.

Frolov has been a 30-goal scorer in two of the past three seasons, although his point totals have decreased from 71 to 67 to 59. Roughly half of fans look at those numbers and scream for a contract extension. The other half will sigh and wonder if Frolov will ever reach his full potential.

It’s a safe bet that Frolov’s goal total will remain consistent, although the assist total needs to be higher for a first-line winger. The main drama for Frolov figures to be off the ice, since he’s due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. If the Kings don’t lock up Frolov before the start of the season, his name will be mentioned roughly once every 34 minutes in trade rumors, which could turn into quite a distraction.

What might be a more relevant question here is, what do you make of this potential first line? Given the options, it seems fairly realistic, and would likely also create a realistic second line of Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown. But is Frolov-Kopitar-Williams the correct fit for the Kings, in terms of their styles meshing together well?

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  • Quisp

    Given the small morsel of chemistry between Frolov and Kopitar at the end of last season (after a year of saying that they couldn’t play together because they’re both puck possession “types”), I hope that Frolov and Kopitar are paired together to start the year, unless some brilliant other combination occurs. Frolov/Kopitar/Williams makes sense to me. One crasher/shooter, two finesse guys. I have more of a problem with Smyth/Stoll/Brown, since they seem like three variations on the same guy. Not exactly, but that’s a line that’s missing soft hands. Relatively.

    I think Frolov needs to score 35-40 goals. Or he’s not worth the big contract he’s going to want.

  • variable

    frolov…

    considering i’ve spent hours of my free time writing about him on this site, i’ll spare everyone…including myself…the diatribe…(but i reserve the right to break it out at anytime if needed)…

    i’m a fro supporter…

    so there…!

    both lines we (& rich) suggest…ko/fro/jw…stoll/brown/smyth…should be given a good, long training camp look…and then we should go from there…

    but regardless of how it turns out, terry murray has never been one to keep his lines together for a long time…let alone three consecutive shifts…so, even when times are good, i still see t.m. tinkering “on the fly” more than the average coach..

  • anthonyy

    Frolov did score over 30 goals last season, but his point production took a dump last season. As did Browns and Kopitars. Terry Murray took more of an interest in punishing and benching Frolov, than anything else. Frolov was benched twice by this guy, and he took great pleasure over it.

    On paper, the Kings have a pretty good roster. But the black mark is Terry Murray. He just doesn’t have what it takes to take a team far. And I don’t care what this old guy did for the Florida Panthers 75 years ago. I’m talking about now. He just doesn’t have the ability to get the best out of an athlete.
    Get rid of Terry Murray, then the team has a chance.

  • dtownmbrown

    I think Smyth and Brown should be on separate lines so that the top 2 lines both have a guy that can go hard to the net and punish the D, as well as have that scoring touch.

    I voted Frolov/Kopitar/Brown as the #1 line

    The second line should be Smyth/Stoll/Williams, in my opinion.

  • stevebone

    Williams and Frolov are the question marks this year. With Williams I’m hoping for 25+ goals and Frolov I think will be at 35+ because he has something to prove.

    Smyth can play on any line. Which gives us alot of option so that we don’t hsve to have right wingers playing left wing.

    The thing I worry about is our health. Brown was hurt for the last third of the season, Williams has a history of health problems, Smyth, Handzus, Johnson all have pass health problems. It will be hard enough for us to make the playoffs if we stay healthy but almost impossible if we have a couple of our key players go down.

  • Tompa

    I wouldn’t spend too much time pondering different lines. Terry Murray will no doubt be moving most players around.

  • Chris Bond

    I know I will get a Anthony comment, But here goes….I LOVE FRO but I would like to see him go to get Heatley. Just sayin.

  • macdup

    OK, so the real question:

    What clever name could this line have?

    Justin Williams – Anze Kopitar – Alexander Frolov

    Maybe the name will come naturally once they start getting hot. Maybe it is too soon for a clever name.

  • nykingfan

    Fro for Heatley? I’d give nothing for Heatley and I still think we’re giving up too much. The guys a cancer wherever he goes. He’d poison the locker room and quickly.

    Fro needs to get off to a huge start and keep it going throughout the season. He needs to be one of the Kings best players every single night. He has the talent, but does he have the heart or desire to be THAT guy?
    I wouldn’t sign him to an extension until after the season. Depending on how things are going, he’s the guy who can bring the most back in a trade..if necessary.
    He’s the definition of an enigma…
    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’ll ever see what Fro really can be…I don’t think anyone will,but if there’s ever a year that he’d do it, it would be this year..his walk year.
    For the Kings sake, lets hope so because if Fro plays to his true potential we’d have an incredible line with Kopi and JW.

  • Otto Ped

    macdup said:

    OK, so the real question:

    What clever name could this line have?

    WilKoLov……. It just rolls off the tongue

  • http://hbshakes.blogspot.com Shakes

    Great Anthony comments in Human History:

    1) at the Great Wall of China – “This could’ve been longer”

    2) the moon landing – “The moon has been there for years…what took Armstrong so long?”

    3) The 10 Commandments – “They couldn’t come up with 11?”

    4) Wayne Gretzky’s retirement ceremony – “He wasn’t half the man that Kris Kontos was”

    5) at Juraj Mikus’s birth: “Juraj should’ve delivered himself”

  • jet

    good stuff Shakes

    How about “will fro kop”? not real intimidating, but rather apropos?

  • Ziggy

    Give Fro a chance to play on a team that doesnt suck and see how he does. As I recall, last year when the Kings were actually competitive, Fro really stepped up his game and was a dominating force. Last year was the first time the Kings were actually a good time in a long time. You would be dragging too if you knew your team was gonna lose anyway.

    I know some people will yell about this as a character flaw but get off your high horse and think about how you would react in the same situation.

    Give Fro a year to show what he can do with good teammates and reward him for sticking with this team for so long.

  • stang

    Frolov holds on to the puck almost every time he gains possession. He’s really not a great playmaker because he’s always grinding with the puck with his back to his teammates. Frolov is more of a second liner for me…he doesn’t do enough offensively with other players to warrant first line play.

    Smyth/Kopitar/Williams

    Frolov/Stoll/Brown

  • uknojata

    Fro scores a career high 42 goals and 41 assists this season for two reasons. The first is obviously his contract situation, no brainer. This year will define his career, elite left wing or bargain boris. The second reason Fro has a career year, the olympics. He has the chance to play a pivotal role on a gold medal contender. With so much on the line, Fro will dig and find his heart.

    Quisp, you bring up an interesting point about the lack of hands on our second line. Lets be honest, Stoll is not a second line center. Zues is probably better suited for that spot, but you hate to break up him and Simmonds who make up 2/3 of what could be one hell of a good 3rd line. You never know, maybe Moller refuses to be denied coming in to camp, although unlikely, the kid has the potential.

  • Quisp

    uknojata –

    Yeah. Stoll is not a second line center, I agree. This would be why I keep thinking Brown should be on the “third” line with Moller as his center. I don’t put much stock in line numbers, really. I also agree with you re Handzus; but, again, with Simmonds on his wing, those guys could easily get hot, and then what number do you give that line? And Moller, he is going to be second line center sooner or later. A lot can happen during a season. Hard to know how it’s going to play out.

    I love Moller. But as I’ve said before, I think, I can see a version of reality in which Moller starts the season in manchester and plays on a line with loktionov. I would love to see those two together. I will be trying to find pay-per-view webcasts of Monarchs games if that happens. I might anyway.

  • Saevel

    I DEFINITELY think this would be the way to go.

    Frolov Kopitar Williams

    All hard workers, all responsible defensively and Williams is apparently a little physical as well. They are all skilled enough to hold onto the puck long enough to create something offensively. I feel last year, our skilled lines often lacked flow and rythm because Stoll, Calder, or Brown play a very different style of hockey than our two best offensive players; Kopitar and Frolov. Also, all 3 have very good shots.

    Smyth Stoll Brown

    Hard nosed, hard working, dump/chase line, all have good shots and I feel this line could play a crease-crash kind of hockey very very well.

    These 2 lines can’t go wrong imo. When putting together lines, you HAVE to consider the style of hockey the players play.

  • TB

    I personally want to see Smyth/Kopi/Williams.

    I think Smyth will be rejuivenated this year with the fresh start. He put up great numbers for a horrible team last year.

    Frolov on the other hand wasn’t the sharpest for the duration of the season. We all know that. Let him outplay Smyth first. In regards to the chemistry, I agree with Quisp. He and Kopi did show some chemistry, but the top 2 lines still needs the balance of a puck possesion guy, a shooter, and a grinder. My issue with Fro is that although his board play is his greatest asset, he’s not a grinder. He’s the possession guy on any line he’s with. With Stoll and Brown…you have the posession guy (Fro), the shooter (Stoll), and the grinder (Brown) My 2 cents.

  • PakiFro

    Maybe his potential IS a 30 goal guy? Which by all accounts, is hard to find, especially in LA over the past several years. Plus, given that he “loafs”, he’s really really good if he scores 30 goals by half-@$$ing it.

    I don’t see anything wrong with giving the guy a 3.5-4M cap hit contract over 3+ years. If he’s asking for 6M or some outrageous number, then he’s gotta be that dominant guy for 70 games, not 50.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/kings smokiemcpot

    I think Kopi is gonna play with Smyth personally. Last year Kopi didn’t really look like he had any heart (apparently due to the fact that he wasn’t properly in shape to play a two-way game). Smyth is a pure heart and soul guy who battles. Last year Kopi learned defense. This year he learns heart.
    Smyth-Kopitar-Williams
    Purcell-Stoll-Brown
    Frolov-Handzues-Simmonds
    Moller-Lewis-Harrold/Ivanans or Westgarth (depending on who we play)

  • Chuck

    I don’t think this is the right line configuration. To score 5 on 5, you really need a banger that can go to the net to run interference, create havoc, and get the garbage/rebound goals. Smyth and Brown both fit that bill, and both are top 6 forwards. Frolov needs to drop to the 2nd line, Brown moves up to the first line. Having to go-to-the-front-of-the-net guys on the same line (Brown/Smyth) is a little redundant. I’d go with:

    Brown-Kopi-Williams
    Frolov-Stoll-Smyth

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Sorry for the re-post, guys…

    The one point within this conversation that has not been made is this:

    We are talking about TWO scoring lines this year. That is a huge improvement over the beginning of last year, and in hockey terms the splitting of defensive coverage between these two lines will have a huge effect. There will be more mis-matches, blown coverages and hopefully, more garbage goals for us instead of the opposing team.

    This point is completely seperate from the POS-Williams debate. Oh, and I agree with Anthonyy–it should be about goals, not points. POS<

    Hey, Anthonyy: A side bet. Will Edmonton outscore the Kings, 82 games, straight up?

  • CUP4LA

    Hey Rich,

    I think you really hit the nail on the head with this post.

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Just my two cents:

    Fro and Ko, Smyth and Stoll…
    Just watch for goals!
    You wait and see.

  • 54FIGHTING

    Since this is all ‘fun and games’ since we know TM likes to shuffle his lines, I did vote for the Frolov/Kopitar/Williams 1st line. Does it matter? No.

    I just want to see the Kings win.

    Question for you all, what do you do with Moller if he’s bulked up this summer? Do you still send him down? He was good enough to make the team last year, what about now? If Bernier outplays Ersberg in camp do you keep both Quick and Bernier up with the big club?

  • Skebo

    I don’t really see the Kings moving Fro to the first line after him being in TM’s doghouse multiple times last year, unless he comes into camp and just shocks TM with his play. I’m also pretty sure the Kings went after Smyth with the intention of pairing him with their #1 center. Kopi obviously was missing some drive and grit last year. Expect to see Smyth & Kopi together until either Smyth proves he can’t hang on the #1 line, or Kopi shows some Smyth-like grit.

  • Mike in Oregon

    Hey MacDup, How about the Wakof line? I hope Moller gets a chance on one of the two top lines. I really think there is gonna be some surprise chemistry, and not from the predictable people. Moller is so explosive and it would be great to see him get a real shot at the five other guys from those two lines dishing to him. Last year, Fro spent a lot of time on weird line combos and defensive play but still scored consistently. No less than Pavel Datsuk stated Fro is most underrated player in NHL. He’s still young and learning. I’d really hate to see him on another team, especially in the West.

  • Mr. Nuff

    Hey Rich,

    This is my response to your quote:

    Frolov has been a 30-goal scorer in two of the past three seasons, although his point totals have decreased from 71 to 67 to 59. Roughly half of fans look at those numbers and scream for a contract extension. The other half will sigh and wonder if Frolov will ever reach his full potential.

    It’s a safe bet that Frolov’s goal total will remain consistent, although the assist total needs to be higher for a first-line winger.

    Those of us fans that look at those point totals and scream for a contract extension do so with the understanding that he put those declining numbers up the last two years while missing time and playing with injuries. Doesn’t DL talk about the importance of players doing this? He also put them up playing on the PK and on all line situations from 1 through 4.
    Want him to put up more assists? Play him on a line where guys can finish with regularity. Like say for example, 1st line players.
    I’m not saying the guy’s game has no room for improvement, but lets measure all players equally. There is a lot more scrutiny and talk about Frolov’s numbers than say Justin Williams for example, even though Alex has much better numbers over the past three seasons and done it for less money.
    One other thing I’d like to mention about Frolov is that down the stretch when the Kings were fighting for a play-off spot Frolov was one of, if not THE best forward on the team. Everyone seems to forget that. Williams finally broke out in a game against Phoenix for 3 points when they stuck him on a line with Frolov.
    IMO Frolov gets a lot of undeserved negative scrutiny and criticism.

  • Quisp

    54Fighting said, “Question for you all, what do you do with Moller if he’s bulked up this summer? Do you still send him down? He was good enough to make the team last year, what about now? If Bernier outplays Ersberg in camp do you keep both Quick and Bernier up with the big club?”

    Moller will be bigger and stronger. Because he’s a hard worker and because that’s what happens when you’re 20.

    Of course, Moller has to outplay the other waiver-exempt players in order to make the team, just like last year, when he outplayed Purcell, Moulson, Boyle and Lewis. Two of those guys are gone, and the other two get another chance. Will either one be better than Moller next month? It could happen. Purcell was getting ice-time at the end of the year when Moller was (unfairly, if you ask me) a healthy scratch. On the other hand, Boyle and Purcell were outstanding the season before last and that meant absolutely nothing when it came time for last year’s camp.

    Frolov, Kopitar, Williams, Smyth, Stoll, Brown, Handzus. Those seven forwards are going to be on the opening night roster.

    Richardson, Zeiler and Ivanans are each hanging by a thread, but have to clear waivers to be sent down.

    Moller, Simmonds, Purcell, Lewis, Westgarth and (less likely) Mikus, Cliche, King, Azevedo, Clune, Elkins, Segal and (much less likely) Schenn, Loktionov, Clifford, Wudrick all will be fighting for the five spots to fill the first four lines.

    The odds are quite good that four of those five slots will be filled by the most obvious names: Moller, Simmonds, Purcell and Lewis.

    Frolov/Kopitar/Williams
    Smyth/Moller/Brown
    x/Stoll/Purcell
    Lewis/Handzus/Simmonds

    Or swap Stoll and Moller, either way. Zeiler and Westgarth can be your healthy scratches.

    Who of the other prospects might unseat one of the Moller group? MEE KOOOSH has a shot of being the x on the third line, as does King. Wudrick is a long shot this year, who will be fighting it out with King and Clifford (super long shot) to be the big body LW3. I don’t really know anything about Elkins or Segal, so that’s a bit of a wild card. Loktionov probably needs a full season in the AHL, as does Clune. Cliche? Who knows. (I don’t know if I’ve given up on Parse yet; no, I will hold my breath for one more year.) Azevedo has proved people wrong at every level so far, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the surprise of training camp. If that happens, I hope TM fulfills my dream of building a third line speed unit, a la Donnelly and Millen: x/Moller/Azevedo. Azevedo/Mikus/Moller? Throw Lewis in there? I don’t know. It’s possible.

    But Moller is a cut above all those guys, and is only going to get better. He’s not going to get man muscles and a beard and suddenly be worse. He’s probably here to stay.

    That could change if DL brings in some veteran third line dudes in the next month. And that will probably tell us all we need to know. But I expect Moller is here to stay, and I look for him to score 15-20 goals this season.

    Re Bernier:

    If Bernier outplays everyone at camp, you send Quick down to Manchester (he’s waiver exempt), start Bernier and see what happens. If he keeps it up, trade Ersberg and bring up Quick, and they can share the spotlight. Or, if you’re feeling bold, trade Ersberg ASAP and start the season with Bernier and Quick.

  • variable

    prime ticket is showing kings vs. oilers when gretzky breaks gordie’s points record…

  • pobo the hobo

    Hmm…WilKoLov?

    Heh, kinda sounds like a swiss cough drop…

  • Quisp

    Luvwilka

  • danny bizzler

    for everyone getting down on frolov for his numbers, doesnt anyone remember that frolov did not play on the two top lines (which would be considered scoring lines) for probably half the season and he still scored 30 goals. i dont know that there are any players on any team in the NHL that scored 30 goals not being in a permanent first or second line role. if frolov plays on a scoring line for the entire season he will put up 40 goals. also there is no better player on the kings nor the NHL that has better puck possetion that frolov, watch the guy in the offensive zone with the puck and you will see. frolov needs to be on a line with some skill if he is going to be able to put up assists, he cant dish the puck to guys without the ability to get into a scoring position.

  • macdup

    I like the suggestions for the line names… I am hoping for a pre-season bar room brawl or something the media latches on too. Maybe they can be dubbed The Triple Sec line or something. Probably what will happen is the lines will be mixed and matched so much that one line will not see a lot of action for a long enough time to capture a name.

    Remember the LaPD line?

    Here is a list of other famous line names:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_hockey_line_nicknames

    -Dave

  • JT Snow

    For those that may question my statements. I seem to be the only one to agree with Anthony. I have played hockey for 24 years in Canada. Allan Cup (highest)
    Terry Murray is the key to this year. We have the line up to advance to 2nd rnd playoffs . Kopitar is legitmately an 80-90 pt scorer. As is Frolov if used properly.
    Terry Murray has his defence that he wanted. If the offence appears to be much like last years then DL has to make a move quickly(bye bye TM) or he is gone as well at the end of season. I Think this team is better off without TM as coach and I still cannot believe DL made this pick.
    If we use our top 6 as our top two lines we are done. (Smyth Kopitar Frolov Brown Williams Stoll). These guys cannot be our top 6. Please remember this post!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jet

    macdup — how about for Symth/Stoll/Brown “the Front line”, because you know you are going to get hit on the front line. Actually, Stoll and Brown have been in the top 10 in hits/season in past years.

    how about for Ivanas/Nolan/westy “The tree line” as they are all pretty big boys. although, some may think there is too much muscle, it would still be fun to see in a Ducks preseason game.

  • iansez

    Frolov is to the Kings this year as Lamar Odom was to the Lakers last year. Under-appreciated guys who make a real difference to the overall team result, in the last year of their contracts. Keep him somehow DL, he’s a King.

    **So nice to see Anthonyys asinine age discrimination BS largely ignored…)

  • Duckhunter

    iansez,

    Fro and Odom are a good comparison. They are both under-appreciated for the same exact reason, neither of them have played to their high potential. You are right about Odom last year, he finally pulled his head out after all those years and finally made a difference. Where has that Odom been the last ten years?

    I too, hope Fro makes a difference like that this year. Even though his numbers were down last year, it’s the best hockey I’ve seen him play. I hope he continues to build on that and become the total package he’s capable of being. I’ve always been on the fence with Fro, but I really liked what I saw last year so I’ll be rooting for him all the way this year.

  • JT Snow

    Until our coaching staff use our best players appropriately we will never be as good as we can be. Example. After Frolov’s best year in the NHL he was utilized on the third line, despite being our top goal scorer. TM is no different. Brutal head coach

  • nykingfan

    JT

    Last year was Fro’s best?
    He may have been our top goal scorer, but he was far from being the player he needs to be. I’m not ok with a player taking shifts and games off…as long as he scores 30 goals…btw 30 goals translates to 1 goal every 2.7 games…what’s he doing during the times he’s not scoring..or that doesn’t matter?
    He played outstanding at times…and played like horsesh** other times…typical Fro as a King.

    Stop blaming the coaching staff. The players are paid to play no matter what line they’re put on. If we have a player who can only perform if he’s on the top line…we need to get rid of that player.

    I’m rooting for Fro to be the player we all know he can be…if he becomes that player, we’re that much better a team….TEAM being the operative word. I root for the logo and whoever wears the logo.

  • jet

    JT — TM is by far the best thing that could of happen to the Kings last year. NY hit the nail on the head with his comment regarding players need to play on a line that is best for the team and not what is best for the individual (ala, Cammi).

  • Lead Feet

    The best points made in all of these posts are – Fro scoring while on the 3rd line, and the fact that the kings will have two skilled scoring lines! Excellent, encouraging points.
    But also remember, as is the case in every pro sport, playoff experience is important. Lets face it the kings dont have that. Sure,any team can have a great run in the playoffs – experienced or not – but Im curious to see how the boys react going into another building during the playoffs.

    My nick name for the J Williams / A Frolov / A Kopitar line:

    JFK !!!!

  • JT Snow

    No last year was not Fro’s best. I said when he had his best year he was used the following year on the third line. Marc Crawford was the coach at the time. My point is our last two coaches have not used him properly. With our offensive potential on Defence and up front we do not have the proper coach. I would love to be proved wrong

  • Quisp

    Lead Feet:

    And we have a winner! JFK! Excellent.

    Re Frolov:

    In a way, it was Frolov’s best year. He led the team in scoring while playing on several different lines and while playing against the toughest competition of any Kings forward. He was used in a defensive role by Terry Murray and he largely succeeding in it. I suspect he was given this assignment because TM believed he could do the job (the other candidates, on the LW, were POS, Ivanans and…Calder? I forget). Frolov deserves some credit for being part of the defensive system that was so successful last season. And it also partially explains why TM appeared to signal him out for discipline. He was/is not only an important piece of the defensive puzzle, but a role model. If Frolov isn’t going to be consistent on both sides of the puck, why would we expect (for example) POS to, or any of the kids?

    I’m not saying he didn’t take a few shifts off here and there, or he couldn’t have put up better numbers. I just think we need to factor in that his assignment was harder than everyone else’s.

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