That’s how long James Wisniewski played for the Carolina Hurricanes before tearing his ACL. He was subjected to two trades before, coming from the Ducks via the Blue Jackets. He wasn’t able to stick at either club and various reasons were given to why he didn’t stick. His contract was a bit of an albatross due to his 5.5 million dollar cap hit, which given his production wasn’t as terrible as it sounds. After being bought out by the Hurricanes, where exactly does Wisniewski go next?
The Red Wings are into the reclamation project right now. The signing of Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott show as much. They are willing to take a chance on someone who needs to prove/show their worth. Wisniewski is a perfect candidate for a team looking to add some scoring from the back end. Over the past few years, Wisniewski has been close to over a half a point per game. That is hard to find in the NHL, let alone a depth signing.
He found himself in the dog house with both Todd Richards and Bruce Boudreau, a couple of forward thinking coaches that like to activate their defense. Jeff Blashill isn’t particularly forward thinking with his usage of defensemen, that could be attributed to Ken Holland or just his coaching style. The sample size is too small to criticize Blashill’s coaching decisions just yet.
Wisniewski found success with a young, up and coming defenseman in Ryan Murray, together they formed a paring that combined for over 70 points on the year. It is the type of scoring they have hoped to get from Mike Green. The jury is still out on his time with the team but shouldn’t players like this be approached as quickly as possible? Alexei Marchenko and Brendan Smith could form pairings that would leave teams shaking in their boots.
He wouldn’t require term or a lot of money. This would be a “show me” season for the American. Extensions still need to take place for the Wings but taking into account their LTIR money as well. They could fit him on the team in a minimalistic deal.
Heck, even over at “The Leafs Nation”, our sister site, they are excited about the possibility of getting a player of his caliber onto their fledgling team. His possession numbers since the beginning of the decade have been well over 50% and show no signs of dropping off.
Acquiring players and flipping them at the deadline doesn’t need to be a lottery team move. Middling teams like the Red Wings should be trying to take advantage of the market inefficiency as well. The Vanek and Ott signings are a step in the right direction. Bringing in Wisniewski would be the proverbial cherry on top of an already successful off-season. Does Holland have it in him?