The Tampa Bay Lightning have extended a Professional Tryout Offer, or PTO, to defenseman James Wisniewski. Even though Wisniewski is only 32-years-old, teams were hesitant to sign the veteran defender to a guaranteed deal due to injury concern. Wisniewski played in just one game last season, and 69 games in the 2014-15 season split between Columbus and Anaheim. Even worse is the fact that Wisniewski’s career-high in games played is 75, with most of his seasons being limited to 50 games or less.
James Wisniewski has signed a PTO (camp tryout) with the Lightning. Missed all but one game of last year with injury.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 10, 2016
When healthy, Wisniewski provides mobility, offense, and decent defensive awareness. Regardless of injuries, Wisniewski has recorded five 30-point seasons, two of which passing the 50-point mark. The Lightning are likely looking at this PTO as a low-risk, high reward deal that should, at the very least, provide some of the younger players on the roster some veteran leadership.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are right in the thick-of-things in terms of Stanely Cup contention in the league and moves like this by general manager Steve Yzerman make it obvious why. Teams are always looking to find a diamond-in-the-rough, and a proven player like Wisniewski could prove to be one of the better under-the-radar signings this offseason.
Only time will tell if Wisniewski will eventually get offered a contract or not, but other teams will likely take note of his time spent in Tampa Bay to monitor his progression and potentially take the opportunity to sign him, should the Lightning choose to pass.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.