Stay Or Go: Wojtek Wolski

The acquisition of Wojtek Wolski in January sure did make a lot of people happy, as it resulted in the jettison of Michal Rozsival to Phoenix.  At the time of the trade, Wolski represented three things: 1) a young, tremendously skilled forward who has the potential to be great; 2) another body to fill out injury-ravaged roster; and 3) some cap relief ($1.2 million to be exact).  The potential for Wolski was there and will always be there, but he was maddingly inconsistent in the half season with the Rangers.

He burst onto the scene in NY with eight points (3-5-8) in his first ten games with the Rangers, but quickly cooled off.  In his final 27 games of the 2010-2011 season, Wolski netted just three goals and 11 points.  His production wasn’t too poor, as was scoring at a 40 point pace, but it was the inconsistency that drove the fans –and coaching staff– mad.  Wolski’s effort seemed to disappear for games on end, and he failed to score a goal for 17 games, a span that covered late February to early April.

Wolski has tremendous talent, and has been a savior in shootouts, but he simply doesn’t play defense and is so inconsistent that it drives most people up the wall.  He wound up as a healthy scratch for a few games late in the year, and spent a significant amount of time on the fourth line of cast-offs with Erik Christensen and Sean Avery.  Once Chris Drury returned, he was bounced from the lineup on days were Christensen or Mats Zuccarello were in the lineup.

Even though Wolski was the team leader in points in the playoffs  with a goal and three points in five games, his future in New York is up in the air.  He has a year left on his contract at a $3.8 million cap hit.  However, he is under 26 years old, thus making his buyout ridiculously cheap.  In short, buying out Wolski saves the Rangers $3.4 million in cap space.  But, buying him out leaves another roster spot to be filled, either via free agency or with kids.  I find it unlikely that Wolski will be traded as there are few teams willing to give up much for an inconsistent player.  So if the Rangers decide to dump Wolski, it will likely be via the buyout.

I personally do not think the Rangers will keep Wolski around for next year.  They have enough spare forwards in Christensen, Avery, and possibly Drury that they don’t need Wolski and his $3.8 million cap hit to sit on the bench.  The question then becomes who will replace Wolski in the lineup?  Is Carl Hagelin NHL-ready? Are there potential free agents that can fill as a stop-gap?  In the end, the cap hit saved by buying out Wolski far outweighs any lineup questions the Rangers may have, as they need all the cap space they can get with the possibility of Brad Richards looming.

22 Responses to “Stay Or Go: Wojtek Wolski”

  1. The Suit says:

    Will be interesting to see just how much the cap rises. If it become $62 million, that certainly helps us with the whole Richards signing.

    Still I believe BR is going to have to take a pay cut to come to NY vs. his other options. The question is, what’s more important to him?

    Either way, I think Richards is a Ranger come July.

  2. Matt J says:

    Buy him out while you still can. I see hagelin or Thomas taking his spot next year. Would rather have an inconsistent rookie than a regular NHL starter.

  3. RangerSmurf says:

    I’m probably in the minority, but if we’re getting Richards, I think Wolski needs to stay.

    Sure Dubinsky fits on that wing, but then Tortorella will be inclined to use BD-BR-MG against other teams’ first lines, a situation that would potentially hurt the production of all 3, because BR-MG aren’t trusted currently to play firsts.

    Thus WW is the only natural LW in the system that would fit on the line with Richards. Wolski has been at his most successful with quality, playmaking centers (Stastny, Lombardi, and most of the time he was with Step)

    • Dave says:

      But the caveat there is that if they keep Drury, Wolski needs to go to create the room necessary for Richards.

    • Dave says:

      Also, you saw how well Fedotenko meshed with Gaborik, it’s possible he, or even Prospal, can fill that void temporarily.

  4. Brian SCS says:

    With Dubinsky already in the fold and MZA (RW/LW), Grachev, Hagelin and Kreider on the way Wolski’s days are numbered as a Ranger when his contract expires after next season regardless. Avery is still under contract for next year and Fedotenko may be re-signed. Wolski isn’t even guaranteed a spot.

    If Brad Richards becomes available, then I’d buy out Wolski over Drury. Drury, has some skills that will be beneficial to a young Rangers squad – faceoffs, PK, leadership whereas Wolski will be just another talented but underachieving forward.

    Unless Drury retires, Wolski is a goner.

  5. jerry says:

    buy him out and get rid of christensen and you get rid of 2 very inconsistant players to make more room for rookies and have 4 mill in cap space.

  6. jerry says:

    just a possible line up.

    FORWARDS
    Ruslan Fedotenko ($1.000m) / Brad Richards ($7.500m) / Marian Gaborik ($7.500m)
    Brandon Dubinsky ($3.300m) / Artem Anisimov ($1.850m) / Ryan Callahan ($3.300m)
    Sean Avery ($1.937m) / Derek Stepan ($0.875m) / Mats Zuccarello-Aasen ($1.750m)
    Derek Boogaard ($1.625m) / Chris Drury ($7.050m) / Brandon Prust ($0.800m)

    DEFENSEMEN
    Marc Staal ($3.975m) / Daniel Girardi ($3.325m)
    Ryan McDonagh ($1.300m) / Mike Sauer ($1.500m)
    Steve Eminger ($1.125m) / Michael Del Zotto ($1.087m)

    GOALTENDERS
    Henrik Lundqvist ($6.875m) / Martin Biron ($0.875m)

    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
    SALARY CAP: $62,400,000; CAP PAYROLL: $58,550,000; BONUSES: $1,487,500
    CAP SPACE (20-man roster): $3,850,000

    • steve says:

      if boogaard, avery, fedotenko and drury are all starting next season…not only will I not go to a game…I will give up my cable subscription and maybe my intenet access…that would be a friggin disaster

    • Dave says:

      Drop Boogaard, insert Boyle. Probably at the same contract too.

  7. ranger17 says:

    Just read article Alex Ruduluv could be coming back to the NHL . Maybe Rangers could work a deal with Nashville for him

  8. ranger17 says:

    Jerry are you trading or just forgetting about Boyle

  9. ranger17 says:

    Rudaluv led the KHL in scoring this year and Nashville has a bad taste about him for leaving . Worth looking into

  10. Section 121 says:

    Give Wolski a shot with more playing time. Perhaps playing with Gaborik? Let the skilled players play their game.

    Wolski’s got more offensive upside than Feds, EC, etc. – and if it doesn’t work out, it’s only one year.

    Wolski Stepan Gabby
    Dubi AA Cally
    Laich Drury MZA
    Avery Boyle Prust

  11. ranger17 says:

    RIP BOOGYMAN

  12. ranger17 says:

    Please no jokes Boogie man was real person and a loving son .

    • jerry says:

      rip boogie.94 will be missed ,and noone here will make jokes we all dissagree on stuff here and have fun with it but we all have enough class to be respectful.

  13. Baby baby says:

    Just a shock to hear about I liked watching him lumber on the ice he will be missed