Michal Rozsival Traded to Coyotes for Wojtek Wolski
In one trade, the New York Rangers moved the biggest target of their fans' derision, took a chance on a goal scorer, got younger and added $1.2 million dollars in pro-rated cap space.
The Rangers acquired forward Wojtek Wolski from the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival.
The 32-year-old Rozsival, who received loud boos at Madison Square Garden even on nights when he played well, has a $5 million salary cap hit this season and next. In the last year of his contract, the 24-year-old Wolski has a cap hit of $3.8 million. In addition, the Rangers will receive Long Term Injury salary cap relief with the season-ending knee injury to Alex Frolov, who has a $3 million hit and struggled offensively (16 points in 40 games) all season. Wolski will replace Frolov, and New York general manager Glen Sather still has the flexibility to make another move before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
"This gives us more opportunities to do things that may come up in the future," said Sather. "It was an easy thing to do for a lot of reasons."
Wolski was Colorado's first round pick, 21st overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He has six goals and ten assists for 16 points, along with 10 penalty minutes in 36 games with Phoenix this season. Wolski was 4-9-13 in his first 19 games to begin the season from October 9 at Boston to November 23 vs. Edmonton this season.
Last season, Wolski established career-highs in goals (23), assists (42), points (65), games played (80), and plus/minus rating (plus -21) while splitting the season between Colorado and Phoenix. However, this season he struggled with the Coyotes.
"He's a guy I've been interested in for a while," Sather said of Wolski. "We know it's a little risky, but to do something for a guy who's just 24 and has been a prolific goal scorer. We've got some young defensemen who have been progressing for a while. It's an opportunity to get younger and bigger, and give the young guys on defense an opportunity to play."
Wolski was on a flight to New York on Monday. He is expected to make his Rangers debut when they host Montreal on Tuesday. Sather said 14 of the Rangers' scouts met and watched tape on Wolski on Monday before he pulled the trigger on the trade.
Rozsival has three goals and 12 assists for 15 points in 32 games with the Rangers this season. In 10 NHL seasons, Rozsival has 60 goals and 181 assists for 241 points in 669 career regular season games with the Rangers and Penguins. The Czech signed as a free agent with the Rangers on September 6, 2005. He was originally Pittsburgh's fourth round choice in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
"He was a good player for us," Sather said of Rozsival. "He was the ultimate professional."