MARCH 13: Wojtek Wolski #8 of the Florida Panthers attempts to pass the puck as he falls to the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 13, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals signed free-agent forward Wojtek Wolski (pronounced VOI-tehk VOHL-skee) to a one-year, $600,000 contract Wednesday, as they continue to shore up their offensive depth.
Wolski split time last season between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, scoring four goals and adding eight assists in an injury-shortened season (31 games).
When looking at possible destinations, the 26-year-old native of Zabrze, Poland, thought that Washington best fit his style of play. He also credited the hiring of head coach Adam Oates as a determining factor.
"I think the team is offensively minded," he said Wednesday. "I think there's a lot of very creative players. I think with the addition of Adam Oates as a coach is going to be good for everyone. I think there's a lot to learn from him. He was so gifted as a player that he can definitely teach you little things that you may not be able to learn from any other coach."
Wolski said that Washington has indicated that he will be a top-six forward, which means that he will be tasked with providing consistent offense.
But Wolski has been anything but consistent in recent seasons, which will facilitate comparisons to the man that he will be replacing, Alexander Semin. After scoring more than 20 goals twice in his first four full seasons in the NHL, Wolski has scored 16 total over his last two.
He's bounced around as a result; the Caps will be his fourth team in the last three years.
In New York, Wolski -- who saw time on the first line with the Rangers -- fell out of favor with head coach John Tortorella, and by the end of last season, Wolski was a regular healthy scratch for the Panthers.
Wolski said Wednesday that he feels as if his career is at a "crossroads" and he hopes that joining the Caps will revitalize his career.
"This upcoming year is a great time for me to bounce back and to show I'm still a great player and still have a lot of life left in me," he said. "I struggled the last two years, but I'm definitely highly motivated, very excited and very hungry. I look forward for the opportunity to play with some great players and think it's going to be a very positive year."
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