Kings replace Frolov with Ponikarovsky

So Frolov has signed with the Rangers at $3m for one season. As a replacement the Kings sign Alexei Ponikarovsky also at $3m for one season.

Is this a sensible choice. Off the top of my head I’d say no – Frolov is a much better option but let’s look at some stats to see if they agree.
Frolov 168G 213A 318Pts (or an average of 0.31G per game, 0.40A per game, 0.71pts per game)
Ponikarovsky 116G 150A 266Pts (or an average of 0.23 per game, 0.30A per game 0.53Pts per game)
Well on those numbers it is a bit of a no brainer to me. You keep Frolov. Let’s look at a few more.

Best season:
Frolov 35G 36A 71Pts in 06/07
Ponikarovsky 23G 61Pts in 08/09
Again, this goes to Frolov but his was a couple of years earlier than Ponikarovsky.

Last season
Frolov 19G 32A 51Pts
Ponikarovsky 21G 29A 50Pts
Very little in it but Ponikarovsky did play a few games less. All in all I’d call this a wash.

+/- (not a stat I like much when assesing forwards)
Frolov is a lifetime +23 but is a combined -7 in his last 2 seasons
Ponikarovsky is a lifetime +50 but is +5 in his last two seasons
Well, this one has gone to Ponikarovsky. Given how bad the Leafs have been recently this probably does indicate a better all round game.

Frolov has played 536 regular season games and 6 playoff games since 2002
Ponikarovsky has played 493 regular season games and 34 playoff games since 2000
A slight edge to Ponikarovsky again I suppose with the additional playoff experience.

Height/Weight: Frolov is 6ft2in & 208 / Ponikarovsky is 6ft4in & 229. So a bit of a size advantage to Ponikarovsky here.

Age: Frolov is two years younger at 28 than Ponikarovsky at 30. OK, so both are still fairly young so there isn’t really any difference here for a player on a one year contract.

So what does that all tell us. Well, I’m rather surprised that the stats are as close as they are. I’ll say that I would still go with Frolov. Sure he didn’t have a great year by his standard but he topped 50 points for the 5th year in a row, a mark Ponikarovsky has only reached twice, and that’s what these guys are paid to do – score.

8 Responses to Kings replace Frolov with Ponikarovsky

  1. mojo19 says:

    Frolov is definitely flashier and has it in him to put up better numbers than Poni. But Poni on the other hand is a tenacious back-checker which fits in better with Andy Murray's style, and he'll be more reliable.

    Even for those who "don't believe in +/-" its hard to ignore Poni's team ranking in that category each year. He would either lead the Leafs in +/- or be a top 3 on the team, that can't be a coinicidence when it happens every year for 7 or 8 straight seasons. Clearly he is a solid guy in his own end.

    Poni is not a flashy player and doesn't have the skillset of Frolov but he drives to the net, has a heavy shot, and is a decent up and down his wing type of guy. This is probably an upgrade for LA given the make up of their team.

  2. hockey_lover says:

    I was disappointed that the Pens couldnt make it work with him but thems the breaks I guess. It obviously didnt work out as his play did suffer but I would have liked to see it go a little further.

  3. mojo19 says:

    He's not a super skilled guy, he's just what he is, an up and down his wing hard, drive to the net type of guy.

    He won't score 30, but he'll get 20. And ya, he seemed like a good fit in Pittsburgh, I was surprised with the results.

  4. leafmeister says:

    Ponikarovsky is a good addition for the Kings, but just a warning. He is perhaps the worst hands of any non-enforcer in the league. He has an uncanny ability to miss an open net from five feet out every time. If he drives to the net and picks up rebounds, and shoots whenever he gets the puck he will score 25.

  5. hockey_lover says:

    Yeah me too.  People often say, myself included, "oh Poni should do amazing things playing with Malkin. I mean, who couldnt?"  I guess sometimes it doesnt matter how talented the other linemates are .. if you dont mesh,  you dont mesh.  They obviously didnt have any chemistry at all, which is a shame.

  6. leafy says:

    Totally agree. If Poni had hands (or natural scoring instincts), he'd score 50 goals because he's an excellent skater with great size and balance.

  7. leafy says:

    He's always played well defensively. And even offensively, some nights he looks like an all-star.

    The problem with Poni has always been consistency, although his year-to-year stats are fairly constant. He's an enigma.

  8. mojo19 says:

    yep, no hands, streak down the outside and let a good hard shot go low. Sometimes he gets lucky and beats the goalie short side or something. Sometimes he gets lucky and the puck rolls out to him in the slot and hammers it. The guy can definitely shoot but he's not deking any d-man out.

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