Before you break out the torches and pitchforks, let me just state that this is purely a trade proposal on my part. It is not a rumor, nor is it speculation. So you have been forewarned that this is not being peddled as inside information in any way, shape, or form.
The bottom line is, the New York Rangers desperately need some secondary scoring if they are to continue this surprising chase for a post-season berth and develop some consistency. Alex Frolov, the one-time 35 goal scorer, was brought here to ride second fiddle to Marian Gaborik, and provide either scoring and stability on the top line, or depth on the second, but thus far, he has failed pretty horrendously at both, finding himself with time on the fourth line, and limited shifts in certain games. Though he and Tortorella insist there are no problems between them, and that all is well in the locker room, one must wonder what the general feeling towards Frolov is, after he told a Russian newspaper that he is not happy with his ice time. My response to that, what have you done to earn any significant ice time? In 31 games this season, Frolov has only five goals and six assists and has not developed chemistry with any teammates he has been paired with.
Meanwhile, in Ottawa, former and two-time Ranger Alexei Kovalev has complained to the papers that he feels he is not getting a chance to prove himself, and feels he is being made a scapegoat for the team’s struggles. This will not make him sit well with head coach Cory Clouston and Kovalev could be on the move soon if he does not pick up his game. The veteran 37-year-old has seven goals and seven assists in 31 games played. He has performed slightly better than Frolov, but only because he has played better on the powerplay.
My proposal would be an even swap of the two wingers. Neither fits in with their current team, neither is in a good light with their coach, and both are testing fans’ patience. Neither player had immense expectations coming into this season, but even so, they have failed to live up to what they were expected. Kovalev may have an excuse, after all, he is 37-years-old and has played in 1259 games. But Frolov has no excuse. One can argue that he is not getting playing time with Gaborik, therefore his point totals get deflated, but he did not perform particularly well when he played on the same line as him. He has played with every trio of forwards that could be possibly assembled in the last month and has only one goal in thirteen games, and no assists.
The only reason why I would advocate trading for Kovalev is because he is a free agent after this season, like Frolov, and perhaps, for the both of these players, a change of scenery would do them some good. Kovalev would definitely help the Rangers’ struggling powerplay and he may even be able to get some time with Gaborik, because he does have a pretty good passing eye. Frolov could then provide some size and strength up front for Ottawa who has been struggling in the goals-scored department.
Because Kovalev makes $5 million, and Frolov only $3 million, the Rangers would have to attach another player. Todd White makes $2.375 million and actually had success in Ottawa for four seasons, including hitting the 20-goal mark twice. He has only one goal in 14 games, but has not had much playing time to prove himself. Economically speaking, this deal would work for both teams, the only question is, would the Rangers and Senators be willing to deal struggling players hoping that a change of scenery will benefit the team? There really would not be any harm done for either team, because everyone I propose is an unrestricted free agent after this season.