LATEST | Former NHLer says current GM is to blame for his exit from the league

Published April 13, 2023 at 11:27

Former defenceman James Wisniewski skated in 552 games in the National Hockey League for six different teams, Chicago, Anaheim, the New York Islanders, Montreal, Columbus and Carolina.

His NHL career came to a close in 2016 after only appearing in one game for the Hurricanes due to injury and on a recent edition of the 'Cam & Strick Podcast', Wisniewski blamed his former GM Ron Francis, who currently works in the same role but for the Seattle Kraken, for his exit from the league.

"I got bought out by Carolina and I was healthy enough to play the final five-to-eight games and they're like, 'oh, no no, why press it? Don't press it, just wait until next year, save it.' The reason I'm telling you this is because then I'm like, 'okay' and I kept doing my thing, training and skating by myself and whatever and then sure enough at the draft, I get a call from Ron Francis that they're going to buy my contract out." Wisniewski said.

He added, "And I'm like, 'You motherfucker', because the difference between buying my contract out if I played the last five games of the season, even if I look like shit, at least it shows that I'm healthy enough to play a game. Because then If I don't play those last five games and get bought out, other teams are like 'hmm, he's had four (ACL tears), I don't know if I want to take a chance. If I would have played one game, I guarantee if I was bought out, I would have signed a contract no matter what, instead of getting a tryout."

The Canton (Michigan) native then headed to the KHL in the fall of 2016 after an unsuccessful PTO with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In January 2017, he returned to North America, playing in 25 games for the AHL's Chicago Wolves before heading back to Europe the following season to close out his professional career.

It's tough to hear that from Wisniewski, especially since he felt that he was ready to return to game action and even if he was bought out, at least teams would have seen that he could still play at a high level. But from the Hurricanes side of things, it's a business and they felt that they needed to get his cap hit off the books.

April 13   |   229 answers
LATEST | Former NHLer says current GM is to blame for his exit from the league

Was Ron Francis wrong to not let Wisniewski play and then buy out his contract?

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No7934.5 %
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