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Your Weekend Wisniewski Recap

"It really reminds me of being in Chicago about three years ago when I was part of that young group growing up," he said. "We had a core group of young kids that didn’t know any better except going out and having a great time. ... Hopefully that’s the kind of team that I’m going to. One that just loves to hang out together."

>>New Islander James Wisniewski to the OC Register. Hopefully the "going out" part is within reason. But seriously, the young guys on the Isles do give off the vibe of a tight group. He may be a good fit.

I wasn't going to return to the Wisniewski well again, but then I remembered some dear readers are strictly M-F, 9 to 5 types who checked out before the trade news Friday night (the Islanders give up a conditional 3rd-round pick -- either theirs or Colorado's, to be determined). So here's a recap and link colossus, with some additional thoughts throughout:

First of all, lots of discussion of the deal in the FanPost by MTBVibe. (Ideal use of a FanPost, by the way. If you're going to break news in a FanPost, add some insight/opinion to the news the way MTB did -- otherwise post the news link as a FanShot.) For some initial reactions to the deal, check that post and its comments.

My initial impression is this is a great deal, value-wise: Garth Snow spent some of what he has that other GMs don't: Cap room (or "budget" room, take your pick), with an immediate defensive upgrade coming our way. Oh, and at the lovely market price of peanuts, otherwise known as a 3rd.

NOTE: Please recall this price, as well as the price fetched for Chris Campoli, the next time you channel rage that more was not acquired for two-month rentals of Billy Guerin or Andy Sutton or the non-rental of Martin Biron. It's not that I don't want more too -- it's that sometimes the market is devoid of buyers (or worse, your product has a no-trade clause that limits him to the northeast), and sometimes the only buyers are trying to do what Jules said Brett tried to do to Marsellus Wallace. We try to set this stuff in stone in the video games in our head, but reality is much more volatile.

Different Values in a Cap World

Anaheim certainly sees Wiz as overpaid at $3.25 million, but that doesn't mean the Ducks didn't want him at any price -- they'd previously offered him a four-year deal. I'm inclined to think the Blackhawks and Ducks knew what they were doing when they dumped him rather than pay him (or use him) in a role that is above his ceiling, but that doesn't mean I'm not grateful to have him bump some guys down the Isles depth chart. Those teams have salary issues at forward and D that the Isles do not have. Plus, you never know -- maybe he'll become as good as he believes he can be.

For me the key is that the Islanders are afforded a year to evaluate Wiz -- just as the Ducks had a season plus to evaluate him and determine he was not a top-pair defenseman (Arthur at Anaheim Calling notes his career year for assists had a disproportionate number of secondary assists -- playing with Scott Niedermayer, no less). If he hits his stride as a second or third pair guy, hopefully the Islanders can lock him up at a commensurate rate -- maybe hearing that from three out of three teams would be persuasive. If not, hopefully the Isles make the right decisions with the guys that can be top-pairing guys in the future. (I should probably use "top two" instead of "top pair," since the Mark Streits of the world can anchor with complementary guys like Andrew MacDonald, who is not a "top two" guy but knows how to excel next to an anchor like Streit.


  • If you want to know why there is a disparity in belief of how valuable our new defenseman is, check out this post at Anaheim Calling, which captures his history in Anaheim succinctly.
  • Here was the reaction at Second City Hockey in March 2009, when the Hawks dealt him to the Ducks:

For me, you have to separate the idea of James Wisniewski from the reality.  The Idea of Wiz is he's a head-banging, forward crashing nutcase who can join the rush with a big shot and is a tough guy.  The reality is that Wiz is a smallish d-man, who's had multiple knee operations, who does have a big shot but takes forever to get it off and isn't all that accurate when he does, who's been way less physical this year and hasn't fought once.  He was playing on the 3rd pair and had a tendency to be a fire drill in his own end.  So you essenitally gave up a 5-6 d-man.  I love the guy, but I'm not going to be writing heartbroken songs with sing-along choruses at his departure. 

So Long, Warrior, Survivor of SUVs and Sharks and Surely Other Forces

Finally, unrelated (no way he was on the roster, with or without Wiz) but worth marking nonetheless: As expected, Brendan Witt was officially bought out, which means instead of paying him $3.5 million next season (at a $3 million cap hit) they will pay him $833,333 for the next two seasons. With Shawn Bates' $400k off the books, the Islanders will have Witt and Yashin collecting buyout checks during 2010-11 (and 2011-12, with Yashin going to 2012-13).