When you ask scouts about James Wisniewski
, they give you a pretty straight-forward description: "Skates well, heavy shot, competes, too often makes poor decisions with and without the puck." That last part is the biggest reason why he's been with five different organizations since he entered the League with the Blackhawks in 2005-06.
The Blue Jackets, desperate for an offensive-minded defender who could help their struggling power play, were hoping the good would outweigh the bad when they signed Wisniewski to a bloated six-year, $33 million free-agent contract in July.
It didn't take long, however, for Wisniewski to live up to his reputation, taking a reckless run at Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck
during a preseason game this past Friday. As a result, he was slapped with an eight-game suspension. This marks his fourth suspension since March '08 and his second of such length.
In this case, he's really put his new team in a bind.
The Blue Jackets' defense isn't to be confused with Canadiens' blue line of the late '70s. Columbus needs Wisniewski to work on its power play. More importantly, the Jackets need to get out to a good start if they're going to make the playoffs in the ultra-competitive West. Now, they'll have to find that good start with their big-money summer acquisition watching from the press box.