The Rangers need to get rid of Wojtek Wolski one way or the other. His presence may not be that of a locker room cancer but his salary, tantalising ability and mere presence make him a distraction and a temptation for the coaching staff.
Wolski clearly cannot play consistently in Tortorella’s system. A few good shifts here and there are simply not enough for someone with his skill set and contract. Erik Christensen is in a similar position to Wolski but doesn’t possess the same cap issues that Wolski does. Christensen’s ability, but above all his cap hit, are what give him a regular stay of execution. Wolski doesn’t have that luxury.
If the Rangers don’t intend (and nor should they at this stage) to give Wolski an extended run in the side – in a position that befits his skill set – then they should look elsewhere within the organisation. Wolski clearly doesn’t have a future in the organisation so it would make sense to have a guy like Christensen be the extra man and perhaps audition players like Zuccarello and Audy-Marchessault who have been excelling in the minors and who may, or may not have a future with the big club.
The Rangers can afford to try out a few players on the roster because of their record, because of the quality goaltending and defense keeping them in practically every game and because many players aren’t making themselves indispensible up front.
If Zuccarello finally fails to convince he has a Rangers future or Audy-Marchessault looks more minor league than major league then by ridding themselves of Wolski it at least gives the club manoeuvrability within the salary cap. Whether they can get something in return for him (unlikely at this stage) or by demotion or releasing him, the Rangers need to let go of Wolski for a variety of reasons.