Thu May 12 10:39am EDT
Alexander Frolov(notes), seen here canoodling with singer Julia Nachalova at Nellos Restaurant in Manhattan, is leaving the New York Rangers after one underwhelming season. In fact, he's leaving the National Hockey League.
Avangard Omsk of the KHL reported in its website that it's reached a deal with Frolov on a three-year contract. He made $3 million last season with the Rangers and is an unrestricted free agent.
Last summer, Frolov left the Los Angeles Kings, with whom he played from 2002-2010 after being drafted No. 20 overall in 2000. His market value dropped in his final year with the Kings, who demoted Frolov to lower lines and also made him a healthy scratch. When Los Angeles focused on trying to secure Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) as a free agent, their time with Fro was over.
His agent compared Frolov's deal with the Rangers to the one Maxim Afinogenov(notes) signed with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009, where he recaptured his offensive swagger with 24 goals before leaving for the KHL. "He made a decision that he will play one more year in the NHL," Sergei Isakov told SovSport regarding Frolov, "and then it will be clearer where he will continue his career."
Yeah, apparently so. Frolov's season ended in January after an ACL tear, but it wasn't much of a season to begin with: He had seven goals and nine assists in 43 games, on pace for a 13-goal season. He was brought on to juice Marian Gaborik's(notes) offense. It didn't work out.
So off he goes to the KHL, and the optics are as they've been for other defections: a non-North American player finds his numbers down on the stat sheet and in the contract offers, so he takes his disappointing game back home to be an all-star with a long-term deal.
It should have happened last summer.