The Washington Capitals have announced the signing of unrestricted free agent left winger Wojtek Wolski to a 1-year contract worth $600,000. This is a significant pay cut from his previous contract (2 years, $7.6 million).
Wolski, 26, spent last season split between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, posting a combined 4 goals and 12 points in 31 games. The 6'3, 215 lb winger also played a 6-game conditioning stint with the AHL Connecticut Whale, posting 3 goals and 5 points, as he rehabbed his ailing groin. Over his career, Wolski has scored 95 goals and 258 points in 424 career NHL games, plus 8 goals and 17 points in 29 playoff games. A native of Zabrze, Poland, Wolski grew up in Canada and played his junior hockey in the OHL. He started his NHL career in 2005 with the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted him 21st overall in 2004. Wolski posted four straight seasons of at least 28 assists and 42 points beginning in 2006-07, culminating in a 23-goal, 65-point season in 2009-10 split between Colorado and Phoenix. He spent 2010-11 split between Phoenix and New York, posting 12 goals and 35 poitns in 73 games.
At this price tag and term, Wolski looks like a bridge to Stanislav Galiev on the second-line wing. Wolski should be expected to be an effective offensive player when he can stay healthy. At $600,000, Wolski does not need to score much to be worth the money, but this contract means he has a lot to prove to get back to seven figure money. He should be well-motivated to produce. This is also reminiscent of the signings of Jeff Friesen in 2005 and Richard Zednik in 2006, second-line wingers who get hurt.
In other news, the New York Rangers have signed Capitals unrestricted free agent defenseman Sean Collins and the Phoenix Coyotes have signed Capitals unrestricted free agent forward Joel Rechlicz.
Follow Andy Green on Twitter here.