32-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
James Wisniewski Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $33 million contract with the Blue Jackets in July 2011. Traded to the Ducks in March 2015. Traded to the Hurricanes in June 2015.
Wisniewski (knee) will be a free agent after his contract was bought out by the Hurricanes on Thursday.
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James Wisniewski: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Wisniewski finally had the kind of season the Blue Jackets envisioned when they originally signed him three seasons ago, scoring an eye-popping 51 points in 75 games, good for eighth in scoring among defensemen. He benefited from an improved Columbus power play, as 28 of those points came with the man advantage, and while his injury history makes it tough to bank on a repeat performance, the young roster around Wisniewski should continue to get better, which may help soften the blow of any regression in his production.
Wisniewski's second verse in Columbus was the same as the first, as the offensively-gifted defenseman just couldn't stay healthy and managed only 14 points in 30 games. He's now scored 14 goals and 41 points (with a minus-14 rating) in 78 games over two seasons with the Blue Jackets, which gives you a good idea of what he's capable of over a full campaign. Until he proves he can stay in one piece, Wisniewski's probably not worth the risk in most fantasy formats.
On a point-per-game basis, Wisniewski almost lived up to his big free agent billing, scoring at a pace that would have seen him finish with 10 goals and 46 points over 82 games, but, between a suspension to start the season, a broken ankle and a concussion (along with lesser bumps and bruises) he managed to suit up for just 48 games. Heading into 2012-2013 he's got a top spot on the power play next to Jack Johnson sewn up, but also a cast of forwards in front of him sorely lacking in proven goal scorers to bang home the rebounds from his big shot. Don't expect more than about 40 points as a result, and another dreadful plus-minus.
Wisniewski turned his career year into big bucks, but just because he's cashed in doesn't mean you should expect a big drop in his production. The Blue Jackets have long needed a booming shot off the point for their power play unit, and with Rick Nash and Jeff Carter around to smack home any rebounds Wisniewski should continue to collect plenty of assists with the man advantage. Wisniewski was fifth in scoring among blue liners last season, and another top-15 finish seems well within reach.
Obtained by the Islanders for a 2011 third-round draft pick this past July, Wisniewski will be looked upon to give the Isles a tough presence in front of their own net. In other words, the Islanders are hoping he can perform the duties that the departed Brendan Witt could not.
Wisniewski had 24 points in 48 games last season and should be able to come close to doubling that total if he plays a full schedule. He will be on the second defensive line with Anaheim.
Wisniewski showed the ability to be a quality rearguard last season, notching seven goals and 19 assists in 68 games. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL and underwent ACL in July. The 24-year-old started skating in mid-September and should be ready to go in late December. The best option would probably be to pass him up on draft day, but monitor his progress and steal him off waivers before his return.
Wisniewski’s season ended early with a torn knee ligament, but it was the most time with the Hawks for the young defenseman. He has a good shot at staying with the Hawks this season, but he is at least behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook in terms of scoring for Hawks defensemen.
Had some good numbers for a defenseman in his rookie year for the Hawks with two goals and five assists in only 19 games. Could be a future scorer on defense. Might need another year of seasoning at Norfolk.