For the past six seasons, the Capitals have counted on Alexander Semin to provide most of their offense from the wing, and he has obliged with 187 goals.
Now that they've cut ties with the enigmatic winger, the Caps are hoping free agent acquisition Wojtek Wolski will supply the missing offense. Ironically, Wolski has drawn less-than-flattering comparisons to Semin.
Like Semin, Wolski is a first-round draft pick who came into the NHL with great promise, only to fall short of expectations in recent seasons.
Semin's goal totals dropped from 40 in 2009-10 to 28 the following year and 21 last season. Wolski's goal totals dropped from a career-high of 23 in 2009-10 to 12 the following year and four last season.
That's why he was willing to sign a one-year contract with the Capitals for $600,000, just $100,000 above the NHL minimum. By comparison, Wolski just completed a two-year contract worth $7.6 million.
"I had one bad year, and this year was tough with the (sports hernia) surgery I had," Wolski said. "This upcoming year is a great time for me to bounce back and show I'm still a great player and I still have a lot of life left in me.
"I'm simply at a point in my career where I want to accomplish something. I've got to make it work, and I think I'm ready and able, and it's going to be a great year."
Wolski will battle Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, Jason Chimera, Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich for ice time on the Capitals' top two lines. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Ribeiro already have locked up three of the top six spots.
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