Having tried to upgrade on defense all summer, the Islanders made their most significant addition to their blue line Friday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman James Wisniewski from Anaheim in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2011 draft.
To begin his whirlwind day, the restricted free agent signed a one-year deal worth $3.25 million with the Ducks early Friday to avoid arbitration before receiving a phone call later in the day from Ducks executive David McNab telling him he'd been traded to the Islanders.
Wisniewski said he is thrilled to have a fresh start, especially after he said contract negotiations and relationships with the Ducks recently had "gone south."
"I thought, 'This is perfect,' " Wisniewski said. "I'm really excited to start a new chapter."
The native of Canton, Mich., is coming off a career high in points last season. He had three goals and 27 assists in 69 games.
"It was a strong year, but I still feel like I'm on the incline with my potential," Wisniewski said. "Hopefully, this organization can see that in me, the potential to be a top defenseman. That's my goal."
Said Islanders general manager Garth Snow, "I think he brings a lot to the table not only with his puck-moving and offensive categories but his ability to play physically. He's a player our fans are going to enjoy watching. He's a legit top-four defenseman. No doubt about it."
Wisniewski will join Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina as additions to the Islanders' back end this offseason, but he's probably the splashiest move of the summer for them.
Notes & quotes: The Islanders placed veteran defenseman Brendan Witt on unconditional waivers Friday. According to several sources, the team intends to buy out the last year of his contract.