Hurricanes buy out Wisniewski’s contract a day before NHL Free Agent Frenzy

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Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

RALEIGH, N.C . – The Carolina Hurricanes announced on Thursday that the team had bought out the remainder of defenseman James Wisniewski’s contract.

Wisniewski appeared in only one game with the Hurricanes in 2015-16 as he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the first period of the team’s opener against the Nashville Predators.

To date, the 32-year old blueliner had appeared in 552 career National Hockey League (NHL) games with Chicago, Anaheim, New York Islanders, Montreal, Columbus and Carolina, totaling 274 points (53g, 221a).

The buyout came a day prior to the league’s July 1st free-agent signing period, also known as Free Agent Frenzy.

Though having been relatively conservative in recent years in making big-ticket signings on the day, Wisniewski’s buyout could signal a more active day of news-making announcements that will come out of the Carolina front office led by executive vice president and general manager Ron Francis.

After qualifying seven restricted free agents (RFAs) earlier in the week, the Hurricanes have only announced terms for one of them, Patrick Brown, while it is expected that signings for the others – Victor Rask, Ryan Murphy, Keegan Lowe, Dennis Robertson, Brody Sutter, and Brendan Woods – will be made on Friday and into the weekend.

During the offseason, forward Joakim Nordstrom’s signing, as announced on Apr. 22nd , was the only movement made by Francis until he signed prospect Sebastian Aho to a three-year entry-level contract (ELC) on June 13th, and followed that up three days later with a two-year deal with netminder Cam Ward who was due to become a UFA as of Friday.

However, the most significant personnel move announced this offseason came in between the Aho and Ward signings as the Hurricanes acquired forwards Bryan Bickell and Tuevo Teravainen in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

If the compilation of those transactions made in such a short period of time is any indication, Carolina fans could be in for a very interesting signing day to see what direction their team will be headed for the upcoming season.