MZA was the best player in SEL next season, he could end up in KHL with a big juicy contract but he prefered sign in NY, i'm pretty much sure Sather assured him a spot with the Rangers. That's what convince him to play in NHL and not go in Russia.
Can add to this that MZA signed with the Rangers because he wanted to go to a team that would help him develop and which believed in him.
I cannot recall exactly, but there was at least two other concrete offers on the table (from the Red Wings and Maple Leafs), and interest from several others, including Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, etc.
@thread in general :
I sincerely hope that MZA will earn his roster spot out of merit, and not on "promises made during signing" or somesuch. As much as i'd love to have a Norwegian playing in the NHL again, it would suck (speaking personally) if he didnt get there because he made the grade, but because of something else.
IMO the Frolov signing just confirms that MZA will have to play out of this world to warrant a roster spot right out of camp, not sure why no one else seems to think that.
I actually don't think a Frolov signing means that at all. I believe that both MZA and Frolov are top 6 forwards... or at least Sather thinks so. If anything, this tells me a couple things:
1) Nobody in the Rangers organization believes that any of the skilled forward prospects (i.e. Grachev, Stepan) will make the team out of camp. They probably want them to light it up in Hartford on the same line for a season (or at least part of one).
2) Boyle is the guy that is in trouble. He has very little chance of being anything more than the spare forward.
3) The guy in the top 6ish that should worry is Eric Christensen. This team has plenty of centers and if Eric doesn't play well... he will be in the stands or in Hartford.
Erik Christensen traded to Florida for their 5th round pick 2011
Donald Brashear, NYR 5th round 2010 pick, Mike Sauer traded for Phoenix 6th 2011 pick and some AHL fodder
Matt Gilroy, Ryan Bourque, Washington 2nd round pick 2011 traded to Boston for Marc Savard
MZA starts the season in Hartford
Marian Gaborik ($7.500m) / Marc Savard ($4.017m) / Brandon Dubinsky ($1.850m)
* Alexander Frolov ($3.000m) / Artem Anisimov ($0.822m) / Evgeny Grachev ($0.817m)
Ryan Callahan ($2.300m) / Chris Drury ($7.050m) / Vaclav Prospal ($2.100m)
Brandon Prust ($0.800m)* / Sean Avery ($1.938m) / Derek Boogaard ($1.625m)
Brian Boyle ($0.525m)
Daniel Girardi ($3.325m) )/ * Marc Staal ($4.000m)
Michal Rozsival ($5.000m) / Michael Del Zotto ($1.087m)
Steve Eminger ($1.125m) / Ryan McDonagh ($1.300m)
* Anders Eriksson ($0.500m)
Henrik Lundqvist ($6.875m)
Martin Biron ($0.875m)
(these totals are compiled using the bonus cushion)
ROSTER: 22; CAP: $59.4m; PAYROLL: $58.530m; BONUSES: $2.000m; CAP ROOM: $0.970m
I know this is not going to happen...<too tight a fit. But I am bored. It is my birthday so I look fwd to a nice party tonight.
In theory with this roster - Stepan & Kreider would eventually replace Drury and Prospal, Werek and Hagelin (maybe) replace Avery Boyle, McIlraith takes Rozies spot (maybe with a stopgap UFA) and another youngster on D would replace Eminger. In theory...
Something in this vein could work. I'd really like to keep Prospal off the top two lines if possible as he really wore down last year playing with Gabby. One of Dubi and Frolov has to play with Gabby (maybe both?) or else that line is waaay too soft.
I really see the second line being more of a puck possession line. Lots of scoring opportunites coming off the walls - Frolov, Dubinsky, Anisimov are probably the best forwards at that. So, take two of them and throw in Callahan (for now) and you have a decent puck possession line. Heck, I'd even try Prust there just to keep Cally with Dru as one of the best 3rd lines in the game. Plus Prust has shown strong chemistry with Ani. Clearly though, you'd want a guy like Krieder or Grachev to be there down the road.
There's also a small chance Zuccarello finds his way onto the second line, but then i think that changes that line pretty drastically. He seems more like he's going to need more time and space in the NHL than he did in europe and i think that means more chances off the rush or playing PP. He's not really a puck possession dude - but maybe i'm wrong? Honestly, I'm not sure Zuccarello is a great fit right now, but you never know.
i know this is optimistic ... but i could see drury back to his old self playing with frolov... IMO all 3 players on that second line have the potential to put up 50+ points next year
last year drury was given a defensive role, frolov had a down season and was given less playing time and i have good things about mza
Anisimov needs another year of 3rd line minutes before he will be ready to play 20 minutes a night playing on the second line
people will throw tantrums because i put callahan on the fourth line ... the reason i did that is because him and anisimov do not have good chemistry and he is not good enough offensively to play on the second line ... if mza is a bust then we will be forced to put callahan on that line but other than that i like these lines a lot