The Montreal Canadiens have acquired defenseman James Wisniewski from the NY Islanders in exchange for a 2011 second round pick and a conditional fifth round pick in 2012. Wisniewski is 26 years old, carries a cap hit of $3.25 million and is a UFA at the end of the year. He was a star defenseman in the OHL and was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks. Montreal still has quite a bit of cap space due to Markov’s injury, and can add a player who has a full season salary of approximately $3.5 million.
Wisniewski made headlines earlier this year, when he made an obscene gesture at Sean Avery during a game and was suspended for 2 games because of it. He has 21 points in 32 games this year, but is also -18 on the year. While James Wisniewski is certainly not a #1 defenseman who can log 25+ minutes, he adds 3 dimensions that the Habs desperately need right now. He’s a right hand shot; he can effectively run a powerplay and move the puck up the ice; and he is a very physical player.
The speculation can begin now as to who’s time in the NHL is over for now. Is PK Subban’s risky style of play too much for the conservative Jacques Martin? Are Picard’s recent struggles an abnormality or is he finally being exposed? Is Yannick Weber too one-dimensional to be an everyday NHLer? I think Picard should be the one eventually sent down, but I have a feeling it will be one of the rookies. I think the D-pairings should eventually be Gorges-Wisniewski / Hamrlik-Spacek / Gill-Subban or Weber.
James Wisniewski is expected to make his Canadiens debut in Tampa Bay.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.