32-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
James Wisniewski Contract Information:
Signed a professional tryout agreement with the Lightning in August 2016.
Wisniewski was released by the Lightning on Sunday, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
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James Wisniewski: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for James Wisniewski.
Traded to the Hurricanes in the offseason, it appears Wisniewski just canít find a place to call home. The 31-year-old blueliner has now been a part of five different teams since the 2010-11 season. That being said, he still carries some fantasy intrigue, as a power-play quarterback just two years removed from a career-high 51-point season. While he didnít fit in Anaheim after being acquired prior to last season's trade deadline, Wisniewski should have a larger role on a Carolina team that isnít blessed with big blue line talents such as Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, and Hampus Lindholm. Justin Faulk has emerged as a top offensive defenseman with Carolina, but Wisniewski could occupy the other point on the top man-advantage unit behind the Staal brothers and Jeff Skinner. Despite seeing inconsistent ice time, Wisniewski scored seven power-play tallies last season and will surely pile on some points behind a Carolina squad that desperately needs his offense. Additionally, Wisniewski isn't afraid to pile up the shot attempts, and with the rearguard expected to receive the green light to fire away in 2015-16, he may make for a reasonable bounce-back target.
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.
Wisniewskiís 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.