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Numbers Game: Isles Acquire Wisniewski

Scott Cullen
7/30/2010 11:59:08 PM
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The Anaheim Ducks didn't want to pay the freight for a rugged defenceman, so the New York Islanders moved in to make a serious upgrade.

Numbers Game looks at the James Wisniewski trade.

The Islanders Get: D James Wisniewski.

Wisniewski, 26, was a workhorse defenceman for the Ducks last season, playing a career-high 24:21 per game. 

Though Wisniewski put up a career-best 30 points in 2009-2010, he has generally been a second unit power play defenceman to this point in his career. 

If he could get his right-handed shot on the Islanders' first power play unit alongside Mark Streit, then an offensive breakthrough could be possible; maybe not anything too dramatic, but 35-40 points is within reason.

As an added bonus, for those in fantasy leagues that reward it, Wisniewski plays with an edge that can result in penalty minutes. He had 103 penalty minutes in 68 games in 2007-2008 and 56 in 69 games last year, a season in which he missed eight games due to a suspension for running Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook.

So, Wisniewski will hold some fantasy value in deep leagues, but in terms of real hockey value, he'll be a major upgrade for the Islanders and, at the cost of $3.25-million next season, he's reasonably-priced for the significant role he plays.

For an Islanders team that is climbing to get to the cap floor, Wisniewski's salary is easily added to the payroll.

The Ducks Get: A conditional third-round pick in 2011.

The Ducks' decision to let Wisniewski go really puts the team in a rebuilding position, with Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman as the only Anaheim defencemen who have played at least 100 NHL games and averaged more than 15 minutes per game. 

Thus, barring any additional defence acquisitions by the Ducks, there may be room for young guns like Luca Sbisa and 2010 first-rounder Cam Fowler to step in and play this season.

The third-round pick isn't particularly valuable and is barely a token price to pay for a defenceman that can log the kind of minutes that Wisniewski did last season; to the point that it's difficult to fathom that there wouldn't be another team willing to offer more in exchange for a player that appears to have been vastly undervalued both times that he's been traded in his career.

Consider that, if the Islanders aren't in playoff contention next season and are willing to offer Wisniewski around the league at the trade deadline, there is no doubt that they would be able to get more than a third-round pick in return, which makes it all the more surprising that Anaheim couldn't get more now.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.



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