Wolski packs his bags for Russia

Wolski packs his bags for Russia
May 20, 2013, 9:30 am
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In a move that should surprise no one, Capitals 27-year-old left wing Wojtek Wolski has signed a contract to play for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of Russia’s Kontintental Hockey League.

The signing was announced on the club’s website.  

Wolski’s time with the Capitals was brief and his impact was minimal.

Signed to a one-year, $600,000 contract last July, well below the $4 million he earned the year before with the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, Wolski managed four goals and five assists in 27 games with the Capitals.

He was a healthy scratch in 19 of the Caps’ final 23 games of the regular season, as well as all seven playoff games.

A first-round pick [21st overall] of the Colorado Avalanche in 2004, Wolski had a strong start to his NHL career, averaging 19 goals in his first four seasons. But after signing a two-year, $7.6 million contract with the Phoenix Coyotes following the 2009-10 season his production, and his value, dropped dramatically. He managed 12 goals [six with Phoenix, six with the Rangers] in 2010-11 and just four with the Panthers in 2011-12.

When he signed with the Caps last summer Wolski acknowledged that his NHL career was on the line and general manager George McPhee later said the same, but a slow start under new coach Adam Oates sealed his fate.

Wolski scored a goal in the Caps’ season-opening loss to the Lightning, but managed just one more in his first 19 games, despite averaging more than 15 minutes of ice time.

Wolski scored goals in back-to-back wins over Boston and Florida on March 5 and 7 but in the next game, a 5-2 loss on Long Island, he saw just 7:05 of ice time and was a minus-1. After that loss to the Islanders Wolski played in just five games and never logged more than 9:50 of ice time.