Here is a bit of unexpected speculation from Newsday Beat Writer Arthur Staple. According to him, Wojtek Wolski “will almost certainly be bought out.” Staple cites the fact that the players who are 25 and under can be bought out at only 1/3rd of the cap hit, as opposed to the buyouts of other players, in which 2/3rd of the contract counts. Wolski is signed for 1 more year at $3.8 million. According to Capgeek.com, buying out Woslki would penalize the Rangers $467K in cap space next season and $667K the season after.
On one hand, Staple is a credible source, and the confidence in which he states this, almost as if it is fact, makes this a significant rumor and one that probably has legs. At the same time, though, it’s important to understand his word choice, or lack of. He doesn’t say, “sources tell me” or “I’ve been hearing” or “the general feeling is” that Wolski will be bought out, so it’s impossible to confirm that he has anyone cluing him in on this information or if it’s just his own speculation. Still, the fact that he also doesn’t say “I think that” or “If I had to guess” also makes me lean away from believing it’s PURE speculation. One thing that can be said is that as much as Staple writing this catches me off-guard, it’s certainly not implausible by any means. Wolski was good at times and invisible at other times. He’s still young and has potential, but 3.8 million dollars is a lot to pay for a guy who doesn’t show up more times than he does. Combine that with the fact that the Rangers are going to need to open up roster spots if they want to add top line talent, and you can see why this would be one avenue Sather would take to open up both roster and cap space.