Defenseman James Wisniewski signed an tryout deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The right-handed Carolina Hurricanes defenseman was bought out of his contract ahead of free agency and became unrestricted last month.
Wisniewski signed his last, and largest, contract to become a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 1, 2011. He signed a six-year, $33 million contract that included no-movement and limited no-trade clauses. The limited NTC did not limit his movement: he was traded twice before finally being bought out with $5.5 million remaining.
James Wisniewski Signs Camp Tryout Deal With Lightning
James Wisniewski has signed a PTO (camp tryout) with the Lightning. Missed all but one game of last year with injury.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 10, 2016
The offensively minded Wisniewski battled injury issues throughout his 11-year NHL career that included stops with the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks (twice), Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets. He possesses an excellent shot and skating ability, but annual injury issues and lack of defensive prowess have limited his effectiveness.
Wisniewski’s posted a career-best 51 points in 75 games twice, most recently with the Blue Jackets during the 2013-14 campaign. He’s been a power play mainstay throughout his NHL tenure, posting 116 of his 274 career points on the man advantage including 25+ in a single season twice.
Production With limited Games Played
The Blackhawks selected Wisniewski in the 5th round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Wisniewski’s appeared in 552 NHL regular season games, scoring 53 goals and 221 assists to go with 147 penalty minutes. He has been a positive possession player as well with a Corsi-for percentage of 51.3 during his multiple stops in the NHL.
At the end of the 2014-15 season, his second tour with Anaheim, Wisniewski was traded to Carolina for Anton Khudobin last June 27. The swap opened needed cap space for the Ducks just ahead of the July 1 free agency frenzy.
Signing Wisniewski is a low-risk, possible reward move at best for Tampa Bay. The 32-year old Canton, Michigan native has only averaged 50 games played per year, and he has not played since his ACL tear 47 seconds into his 2015-16 season. It remains to be seen of the smooth-skating rearguard will suffer any ill-effects of his latest injury.