Should The Blackhawks Call Anaheim?

Should the Blackhawks inquire about James Wisniewski's availability?
Should the Blackhawks inquire about James Wisniewski's availability?

A number of Canadian media outlets are reporting that the Anaheim Ducks, who are currently in last place in the Western Conference, are looking to become active in the trade market. Because of their poor performance so far this year, the Ducks appear to be ready to make some bold moves.

Perhaps the Blackhawks should give Ducks’ GM (and former Blackhawks player) Bob Murray a call.

Though the most popular names being rumored around Anaheim are Scott Neidermeyer and Bobby Ryan, one deal that could make sense for both teams would include bringing a fan favorite back to Chicago.

James Wisniewski, who the Blackhawks dealt to Anaheim for Sami Pahlsson last year at the deadline, is having a career year already in southern California. The 25-year old defenseman has 14 points (1 G, 13 A) in 24 games, and is averaging a career high 24:26 of ice time a night. He’ll be a restricted free agent when his contract, which has a $2.693 cap number, ends this coming spring.

In exchange for Wisniewski, the Blackhawks could send a younger defenseman to Anaheim that’s under contract for two more years. Cam Barker is two years younger than Wisniewski, and will make $3 million for each of the two seasons following 2009-10. Barker’s offensive production wouldn’t be much of a drop off for the Ducks from what they have received from Wisniewski so far this year (4 G, 8 A, 12 pts), so the Ducks wouldn’t be giving up a lot of offense to add Barker.

The benefit to Anaheim is that they would have Barker under contract for two more seasons. The 23-year old should enter his prime in the NHL in the coming seasons, and he could serve as a good point man for the Ducks’ power play, which currently ranks third in the NHL. The Ducks would also be getting younger by moving Wisniewski back to Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks would unload Barker’s $3 million cap number for next year and bring back a popular player with an expiring contract. Wisniewski was moved last year because of his injury history, but he’s playing more than four minutes per game more than he has at any point in his career. The Blackhawks would be able to cut Wisniewski’s minutes but also suck up some of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson’s minutes by bringing back Wisniewski.

I would be in favor of making this trade, and I think the benefits to both of these organizations could make this deal a real possibility.


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