The Capitals have signed Wojtek Wolski to a 1 year, $600,000 deal, because apparently GMGM has started listening to me and is signing players based on how fun it will be to hear Locker try to say their name. Wolski is Polish (though he grew up in Toronto and in fact played against one of Bob McKenzie’s sons), and his name is pronounced “VOI-tek VOL-ski.” In the words of The Jam, that’s entertainment.
His career stats are 95-163-258 in 424 games, for a .608 PPG, though last year he went 4-8-12 in 31 while spending 6 games in the AHL. He scored the majority of his points in his 5 years with Colorado, before having 2 lackluster seasons where he bounced from Phoenix to the Rangers to Florida. His season highs are his first full season with the Avs (50) and his season split between the Avs and Coyotes (65). He went on to score 35 points… then 12.
That brings him to us. We got him heavily discounted (his last contract was 2 yr/$7.6 mil) and with low expectations. It looks like he’s had a monkey on his back for the last two years — resulting in his being scratched and therefore looking worse and worse. What could be the source of this scoring drought? Could he be, dare I say, enigmatic?
Wolski has been thrown around as a sort of replacement for Semin. Superficially it seems he’s not — for one thing, Semin has 408 points in a comparable number of games, as well as a $6 mil price tag — but at his very best, he could be compared with an average Sasha year (like the last two seasons). I don’t know what he needs to be great: his time with the Avalanche didn’t overlap with their awful dark years, but I’m not sure they had any spectacular talent, either.
The other best description of Wolski is as a gamble, but this isn’t perfect either. If he’s a gamble, he’s an extremely safe one. His upside is 65 points and his downside is 12, but at $600,000 if he doesn’t perform, we haven’t lost very much, and we can stash him in Hershey if things get too awful. Or maybe he’ll go absolutely bizonkers with Mojo and vindicate McPhee’s signing. According to Neil Greenberg:
For #Caps to get fair value for Wolski’s contract, he needs to put up 4G/5A/minus-2 in 36GP.
Which isn’t asking a whole lot. We play the Blue Jackets and the Oilers, right?
Wolski seems like he wants to turn over a new leaf, and the Caps are a pretty good team to do it with. For once he’s joined his new team at the beginning of a season, with a new coach, hoping to install a new style. He’ll be playing (or at least practicing) with an extremely high-caliber and, perhaps more importantly, offensively-oriented talent. Maybe that will be enough to kickstart his scoring touch.
Wolski in the Caps-Rags playoffs, 2011, poor dear (c/o bridgetds)
(As always, numbers from CapGeek, NHL.com, or Hockey-Reference.)