Islanders avoid arbitration with Moulson, Rangers sign free agent Frolov

NEW YORK, – The New York Islanders have avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a US$2.45-million, one-year contract with winger Matt Moulson.

The 26-year-old from Toronto led the Islanders with a career-high 30 goals last season, when he finished fourth on the team with 48 points.

“Matt is one of our young core of players and we’re excited to have him return this upcoming season,” Islanders GM Garth Snow said in a statement. “He was an integral part of our lineup last season, playing in all 82 games and hitting the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career.”

Moulson’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

The six-foot-one, 206-pounder was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ ninth-round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Moulson was also one of three Islanders to play all 82 games, leading the team with five winning goals.

The New York Rangers, meanwhile, bolstered their offence by signing free agent forward Alexander Frolov to a US$3-million, one-year deal.

The 28-year-old winger, who spent his first seven NHL seasons with Los Angeles, has scored more than 20 goals five times—including two 30-goal seasons—but is coming off a disappointing one in which he had only 19 goals and 32 assists in 81 games.

Frolov earned US$4 million last season when he scored his fewest goals since posting 14 in his rookie season of 2002-03.

By signing on for just one season, Frolov will look to have a bounce-back year with the Rangers and turn that into a longer more-lucrative deal next summer.

Frolov has 24 career multi-goal games, including three hat tricks. In 536 regular-season NHL games, Frolov—who can play on either wing—has 168 goals and 381 points. He is expected to play alongside Gaborik, the Rangers’ top offensive threat, who had 42 goals and 86 points in his first season with New York.

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“Alex is a highly skilled player who we feel will play a key role in improving our offence and play in all situations,” Rangers general manager Glen Sather said in a statement. “He is strong competitor and has the ability to play either wing position.”

The Rangers are banking on Frolov returning to the form he showed two seasons ago when he led the Kings with 32 goals—12 on the power play—and was second on the club with 59 points. It was the third time he topped Los Angeles in goals.

Frolov established career highs of 35 goals and 71 points during the 2006-07 season.

He has proven to be durable throughout his career as he has played at least 71 of 82 regular-season games in all but one season. Frolov played a low of 69 games during the 2005-06 season, but still managed 21 goals and 54 points.

The Edmonton Oilers also made a move, re-signing centre Gilbert Brule to a two-year deal.

Brule had 17 goals and 20 assists in 65 games with the Oilers last season.

The Phoenix Coyotes re-signed Alexandre Picard to a one-year contract. The 24-year-old left-winger played 16 games last season for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, after being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With files from The Associated Press