Michal Rozsival for Wojtek Wolski is Good for Phoenix and New York

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Photo by bridgetds

Yesterday the New York Rangers traded defenseman Michal Rozsival for Phoenix Coyotes forward Wojtek Wolski, straight-up.

In addition to clearing cap space, the move brings some experience to the Rangers forward corp.

Decimated by injuries, the Rangers were in danger of starting to look like an AHL team.

Rozsival was a fan least-favorite, infuriatingly inconsistent, unwilling to take shots, and often extremely easy for opposing forwards to beat.

But lately, Rozsival had been solid, playing a simple-yet-effective defensive game.

Wolski is a bit of a reclamation project himself, struggling this season after last season’s 23 goal campaign. Which makes him the perfect guy to replace the injured Alex Frolov, who was also a Rangers’ reclamation project.

Adrian Dater says Wolski will thrive, at least at first, under Rangers’ coach John Tortorella.

Obviously, that remains to be seen, but I doubt Wolski will see much ice time until Tortorella knows exactly what kind of player he is and what he’s capable of accomplishing on the ice.

Rozsival should fit in just fine in Phoenix, where Dave Tippett tends to be system-oriented. Tippett also expects a lot of shots from his defensemen and Rozsival has a nice shot. He doesn’t like to use it, but he possesses it. If Tippett can get him to shoot more, Rozsival might create some offensive opportunities for the Coyotes.

The trade also sees the Rangers severing ties with their last Czech player. Five years ago, the Rangers were an annex of the Czech Republic national team. Now, they don’t have any Czech players on their NHL roster.

Rozsival-for-Wolski is typical Glen Sather magic, though. Once again, Sather’s managed to trade away a solid player with an bad contract and get something back in return, other than cap space.

And now flush with that cap space, you have to wonder if there’s someone specific for whom the Rangers are making room.