Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wisniewski Dealt to Montreal

2010/2011 NHL Statistics
To MontrealPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
James WisniewskiDefense2632318211$3.25 million
To Long IslandPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
2011 2nd Round Draft Pick
2012 Conditional 5th Round Draft Pick

A little bit of a surprise deal fell down the way on Tuesday afternoon, as the Montreal Canadiens acquired defenseman James Wisniewski from the New York Islanders for a couple of draft picks, including a compensatory pick the Habs received for not signing a former 1st round pick.

The biggest surprise was really that Wisniewski has been arguably the Islanders' best player in the 2011 season to date, but already being 18 points out of a playoff spot just after the Christmas break has given the team ample opportunity to start selling and picking up assets, like a 2nd round draft pick, in return for his services.

Wisniewski is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July, so this deal does have the makings of being a rental agreement, since the Canadiens do have some young talent developing for their blueline, but obviously, the development of PK Subban or Yannick Weber has not been up to their standards, so some more immediate help was needed.

Salary CapWith Andrei Markov on the Injured Reserve for the remainder of the season (or better part thereof), the Canadiens should be just fine bringing Wisniewski into the fold, likely sending Subban or Weber down to the minors to also give them some breathing room against the cap ceiling.  The 23-man roster that the Canadiens had last night against the Capitals, which included Wisniewski, is only worth $55.8 million annually, tack on Markov's value for seven games, minus the time in the minors for Weber and then some buyouts.

ImplicationsWisniewski was one of the last picks in the draft this year and Larry D. cannot be more thrilled with how well Wisniewski had played with the Islanders, but a step up to playing with the Canadiens should benefit him just as well. Wisniewski is ranked 21st in scoring among defensemen in the league, better than all the other Canadiens defensemen so far this year.  With Markov out and Subban struggling, Wisniewski could provide some quality offense for the Habs, something that they have been lacking  from the blueline.

After Tuesday night's action, Larry ranks 10th in the pool, 28 points out of the money.  I don't think Wisniewski could cut that lead down himself, but he might be able to take a chunk out of it, if he meshes well with his new team.

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