*This post is purely summer speculation
UPDATE: Portzline says the Blue Jackets would only be interested in Wolski post-buyout and would have no interest in taking on his $3.8 million salary despite having plenty of room under the salary cap. Columbus also doesn't have many bad contracts it would be interested in moving with the possible exception of ex-Ranger Fedor Tyutin, who makes just over $2.8 million.
EARLIER: It’s still unknown whether the Rangers are planning to keep
Wojtek Wolski or get rid of him via trade or buyout, but if the Blueshirts are
hoping to maximize the return on Wolski the news out of Columbus last night will be welcomed with
Blue Jackets left wing Kristian Huselius was diagnosed with
a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the next four to six months, leaving a
gaping hole on the team’s scoring lines.
was very aggressive this offseason in adding Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski and
Radek Martinek. The loss of Huselius,
the Blue Jackets’ probable second-line left wing, is a major blow to the team’s
optimism about a playoff push in 2011-2012.
Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson told Aaron Portzline of the
Columbus Dispatch “that he's now in
the market for a free agent winger to help cover the first-half absence of
Portzline suggests the
team might be interested in UFAs Vinny Prospal, Marek Svatos and Cory Stillman and
would also be interested Wolski, should the Rangers buy him out in August.
Of that group, Wolski is the most attractive option and if
the Blue Jackets deem the loss of Huselius to be a serious long-term blow, Wolski
would appear to be an obvious fit in Columbus.
Again, we don’t know if the Rangers are planning to let
Wolski go in the near future via trade or buyout, but if
money becomes an issue following the re-signings of Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan
Callahan and Brian Boyle, Wolski may be on the way out the door.
If signs indicate the Rangers plan to buy out Wolski, the
Blue Jackets could wait and claim him off waivers or attempt to sign him as a
free agent later in the summer. However,
if Wolski is bought out he is likely to have at least a handful of suitors
given his age and ability, so Columbus
would be taking a risk by allowing Wolski to hit the open market.
If the Blue Jackets consider Wolski to be the best
replacement for Huselius, Howson might give Rangers GM Glen Sather a call
sometime in the next couple of weeks to try to arrange a trade.
This is purely speculation as of this moment, but the big
hole in Columbus’s lineup combined with Wolski’s
uncertain future in New York
and his appeal as possibly the best forward option remaining could make this a
Time will tell how highly regarded Wolski is by the Rangers
and Blue Jackets, but there could be a deal to be had that benefits both teams.
- Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank has some interesting
quotes from Brian Boyle, Adam Graves, Brian Leetch and Rod Gilbert on why
the Rangers want the Islanders to stay on long Island.
- Shane O’Brien, a suggested signing to be the veteran depth
defenseman the Rangers lack, signed
with the Colorado Avalanche yesterday.
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