Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Possible Trade Target: Wojtek Wolski?

It came up on last week's Ales Hemsky post that maybe the Caps could go after Wojtek Wolski. While the Pole is listed as a LW, he played some center for the Avalanche in 2008-2009 and won 48.2% of his 515 draws.

Basic stats courtesy Yahoo. Fenwick% and Corsi% courtesy Timeonice (07-08 08-09 09-10). Pts% courtesy Copper and Blue (ES PP). Everything else from Behind the Net.

What jumps out to me is that Wolski can play tough minutes and could be a really, really good penalty killer. He looks like he's gotten better and better with a crazy high Corsi% last season (especially considering he played on the Corsi-challenged Coyotes and especially Avalanche). Of course, he looks pretty solid offensively. While 40-50 points isn't terrific, give him a bit more TOI and more talented linemates and he's flirting with 70, methinks. He's one of the most skilled players in the NHL and, while inconsistent and liable to be a floater...you've heard of Alexander Semin.

Next, Scott Reynolds was tracking Avs scoring chances for the first half of 09-10, and got these results, which are posted at Mile High Hockey.

Wow. Wolski can play tough minutes and outplays his opposition, better than any Av at least. Slot Wolski in between Laich/Fehr and Semin and suddenly the Caps are icing two forward lines that are very good defensively and another that is good by playing offense (the top line).

Per Capgeek, Wolski has a contract that pays him $3.6 million this season and $4 million next year, for a $3.8 million cap hit (RFA at the end).

What would the asking price be? Well, the Coyotes don't have anything in the way of young RWs, so Francois Bouchard is one trade chip. Tomas Fleischmann of course is another. With the Coyotes looking to make the playoffs and probably needing goals, Flash could potentially be very attractive to the Coyotes. Wolski, while he does play tough minutes, is by no means the tough minutes forward in Phoenix, either. Eric Fehr would likely be able to net Wolski straight-up, I think, but Fehr is too valuable to a team which needs some cheap-yet-skilled players to round out its roster.

Would Tomas Fleischmann, Francois Bouchard, and a mid-round pick net Wolski? Maybe, maybe not. This season, Wolski, from what I gather, has looked fairly disinterested (think Tomas Fleischmann on defense, I guess). He still is though a positive Corsi Rel (with good zone start), playing with a variety of players, and is producing. At worst, Fleischmann-for-Wolski is a lateral move, and at best, the Caps get a much better all-around player at 2C who makes the second line even more of a threat and helps lock down the penalty kill to top-5.

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