Avalanche Throwback Thursday: Wojtek Wolski – Shootout King


Wojtek Wolski was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round, 21st overall, in the 2004 draft. He played 302 games in an Avs uniform, posting 193 points during his five year run with the club.

Wolski was known as a flashy offensive player who just didn’t care about defense. Wolski was extremely frustrating to watch throughout a game because he often times put his individual skills above the team. So it wasn’t shocking to see him own the shootout.

In the 2008-2009 season, Wolski scored on 10 of 12 shootout attempts. His 83% success rate during the season remains the second best in league history among shooters who have eight or more shootout attempts during a single season.

Wojtek Wolski would beat goalies with a variety of moves. He rarely shot the puck, usually relying on his slick stick skills to force the goalie out of position before burying the puck behind them. His favorite was a simple backhand-forehand deke that goalies always seemed to bite on. Not only did he pull the move off quickly, but goalies were so afraid of his backhand over the glove that they would anticipate, allowing Wolski to put the puck into an empty net on his forehand.

The Avs won nine games via the shootout in 08-09 thanks in part to Wolski almost always getting them on the board. He may have been invisible for 65-minutes, but for the 10 seconds that the puck was on his stick in the shootout, fans knew that he would show up.

Wojtek Wolski was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010.

At 29, Wolski is out of the NHL, last playing in 2013 for the Washington Capitals. He had nine points in 27 games for the Capitals in 2012-2014. He currently plays for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL. While it appears that his NHL days are over, unless some team decides to pay him $1 million per season as nothing more than a shootout specialist, the memories Wojtek Wolski gave Avs fans during the 08-09 shootouts will last forever.

Next: Throwback Thursday: Matt Duchene's Hat Trick

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