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Is Wolski a fit with the Leafs?

Did I read (whether it’s true or not, I don’t know…) correctly the other day that young Wojtek Wolski won’t be re-signed by his current club, the Rangers?

If so, it presents an interesting opportunity/decision for a number of NHL teams, including the Maple Leafs.

He’s 25, has size (though he is not a physical player) and has some uncanny offensive tools.  Anyone who saw him as a junior knows the skill set he can bring.  Even at the NHL level, he put up 50 points in his first full season—at the age of 20.

But since being drafted in the first round by the Avalanche in 2004, he’s had an unexpectedly bumpy career.  He looked like a surefire offensive star in his early days with the Avs, but was traded suddenly last season (2009-’10) to the Coyotes for Peter Mueller, another skilled youngster.

He immediately put up big numbers with Phoenix, and added 4 goals in only 7 playoff games there.   But he was evidently less effective this past season and was moved to the Rangers half way through the year.  He started off with some big goals for New York, but flattened out as the season wore down, though he finished as a solid ‘plus’ player under Tortorella and chipped in offensively a bit in the playoffs this past spring, too.

I heard, as many of you likely did, an interview with Wolski a few days ago on TSN radio.  He’s working with ex-Leaf Gary Roberts to get ready for a new season.  He sounds as though something has ‘clicked’ for him.  He’s obviously looking for a new contract first, and while he doesn’t fit what some people think is the Burke “mold’, let’s not forget that Burke, like all GM’s, loves skill, too, not just physical play.

He gave up a lot to grab Kessel, who is hardly a physical force at this level, though he has size—just like Wolski.

The question is:  Is Wolski a guy who has (finally?) discovered what is really takes to be successful in the NHL?  Is he worth a gamble?  Is it even a gamble to sign a guy with that kind of elite skill?

I’m not an expert on Wolski, but the guy is still young and has that high-end ability.  He’s already played almost 400 NHL regular season games and managed almost 100 goals already in his career.  He can make plays.  Could he be a top-six forward in the NHL?

If you miss, you lose a bit against the cap.  If you hit, it could be a double—or maybe even a home run….

Just another consideration in the most important summer for the Leafs in a long, long time.



  1. I think I read somewhere after the initial report came out that the rangers will only be buying out drury and not anyone else

  2. Wolski also has plenty of family in Toronto.