After watching the Sharks torch the Kings Tuesday night behind Patrick Marleau’s two goals, I thought back to the trade rumor last September that had Marleau coming to L.A. as part of a three-way trade. Marleau, who seemingly has owned the Kings during his career, would certainly look good playing along side Anze Kopitar.
Marleau is having at career year (34 goals, 54 points) and is a better goal-scorer than Frolov but is he a better player? I would say yes and no. Marleau is more of a natural goal-scorer but this season is certainly benefiting from playing on a line with Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley. No one of the Kings can match either of those two in terms of playmaking ability.
Frolov is having one of his worst years. His projected 18 goals for the season would the lowest total since his rookie year while his projected minus-17 rating would be a career low.
On the plus side, Frolov is three years younger than Marleau and historically a better defensive player. (As an example, Marleau was a minus-19 in 2007-08 when the Sharks were plus-29 as a team; Frolov was plus-1 that season when the Kings were minus-35.)
Despite the numbers, I think it wouldn't have been a good move for the Kings (assuming there were some truth to the rumor despite Dean Lombardi's emphatic denial).
First, the trade would have cost Stoll, who I think is one of their most valuable and underrated players. Second, it wouldn’t have solved the dilemma that faces the Kings today -- that is what to do with Frolov as the trading deadline looms.
Marleau is also an UFA. He, like Frolov, would certainly like a hefty raise from the $6.3 million he’s making this year. If the Kings are balking at signing Frolov to a contract in the range of $5-6 million a year, then why would they pay more to keep Marleau? I don’t think Marleau is worth that kind of money and I definitely don’t think Frolov is either.
For $6-million per, the Kings should get a player who dominates games most of the time, not some of the time. For that kind of money, the Kings should get someone the caliber of the Sedin twins ($6.1 million) or Ryan Getzlaf ($5.325 million), each of whom are around the same age as Fro.
I, like everyone around the Kings, can be infuriated by the play of Frolov. I’ve also come to accept that he is never going to be the player we all want and think he should be. And if his career with the Kings is coming to an end soon, I think he should be traded. The sooner, the better.