Looks like someone owes Don Maloney a nice steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris.
This is breaking news, as the New York Rangers have traded defenseman Michal Rozsival to the Phoenix Coyotes for left-wing Wojtek Wolski. This is a trade that is completely mind-boggling to me, at least from the Coyotes end as Rozsival is a struggling defenseman who has a cap-hit of $5 million dollars while Wolski is a young, sizable forward with a hit of only $3.8 million.
Wolski has been struggling this season as well, nearly as bad as Alex Frolov was. In 36 games this season, he has only six goals and ten assists for 16 points, but the 24-year-old will provide much more than that, he will serve as cap relief. The Rangers pick up an additional $1.2 million here, combined with approximately $1.5 million they lost due to Frolov’s injury. It’s funny that the Rangers lose these two players, but their needs stay exactly the same. The team sorely lacks a veteran defenseman who can eat up minutes, and a playmaking center. These were the same needs they had with both Frolov and Rozsival in the lineup. The Rangers now have some flexibility to try to pursue these types of players.
I do not know much about Wolski, but I would like to think that he can provide what Frolov didn’t, and that’s secondary scoring. His large six-foot, three-inch frame could be a welcome sight on the top line with Gaborik, or even on the second line. Chris Hoeler, a Coyotes fan, tells me that he is not a checker, so his is either a top-six forward or bust.
Just as a warning, do not expect much out of Wolski. He has already fallen out of favor on two different teams, and actually has only one more point than Rozsival, who put up three goals and 12 assists in four fewer games. In other words, see this move as cap relief and not the solution to an offensive problem.
As much as everyone loved to hate on Rozsival, he really was not that bad and if they cannot acquire a veteran defenseman at some point this season, trading his presence may cause more harm than good. He has his slip-ups, like we all do, but he was basically made scapegoat for some bad teams in the past few years. He had an excellent shot from the point which he did not use enough, and combined with his slower stride and susceptibility to giveaways, made him an easy target for the fan base. I won’t miss him, but it could come back to bite the team. In 432 games with the Rangers, he scored 42 goals and recorded 134 assists for 176 points; he was also a +44. Those are not bad numbers at all.
We will just have to wait and see how the deal works out. If the Rangers acquire a defenseman, then it is a win-win situation. If they don’t, then this may not be the amazing trade that we all think it is.
Glen Sather has now gotten rid of three of the four terrible contracts that people thought would forever plague this franchise. For a GM as smart as he is, in orchestrating such deals, it’s amazing that he even signed them to begin with.