January 10, 2011
Wouldn't you love to climb into the DeLorean and relay this information to a New York Rangers fan in 2009 just to hear how loud they'd shriek?
Wolski, 24, was originally selected as Colorado's first round pick, 21st overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He has registered six goals and 10 assists for 16 points, along with 10 penalty minutes in 36 games with Phoenix this season.
The Coyotes, whose blue line is still feeling the defection of Zbynek Michalek(notes) to the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer, get a defenseman that could potentially help their power play, which is currently in an 0-for-14 funk heading into tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues. Keith Yandle(notes) is the only defenseman in their top eight power-play ice time players (4:05 per game).
As for the Rangers ... well, the fans won't have Michal Rozsival to kick around anymore. And we imagine they're cool with that.
In 2008, the Rangers signed Rozsival, to a four-year, $20 million dollar contract hours before giving Redden that elephantine six-year deal worth $6.5 million on average annually. Since then, Rozsival's game has been maddeningly inconsistent for the Rangers, leading to chatter about contract buyouts and the like.
As for this season, Larry Brooks of the NY Post had this assessment last week:
[Rozsival's] game has been slipping the last few weeks following a strong start, and dramatically so over the last handful of games.
Rozsival has not dipped to the point where he was early last season, but he has been passive, his reads and coverage have been wanting, and he has committed far too many unforced turnovers.
He's signed for next season with a $5 million cap hit but only a $3 million base salary, which no doubt appealed to the Coyotes on both fronts. Rangers GM Glen Sather said today that the move was made to deal that contract and give the Rangers' young defense "a chance to play."
Sather told reporters today that his interest in the 24-year-old Wolski predates the season-ending injury to Alex Frolov suffered over the weekend, having spoken to GM Don Maloney a month ago; in fact, he was surprised Wolski was traded by the Colorado Avalanche last season for Peter Mueller(notes).
Wolski has another year on his contract with a base salary of $4 million and a cap hit of $3.8 million, so there are some cap savings there for the Rangers.
Wolski averaged 14:41 time on ice this season, but that average had fallen dramatically to the point where he was under 9 minutes per game in each of the last three games.
He was a sensational point-per-game player for the Coyotes in 18 games last season. Maybe another change of scenery ignites his game ... or maybe his struggles continue. He's been enigmatic. Sather wasn't sure if Wolski would be slotted with Marian Gaborik(notes), but "the opportunity is there." We wonder how the Tortorella treatment will affect him.
Of course, Rangers fans by and large don't care about this. Rozsival is gone, and Wolski isn't named "a bag of pucks."