James Wisniewski clutches his left knee. (via YouTube)
After skating just 47 seconds in his debut with the Carolina Hurricanes, defenseman James Wisniewski left Thursday’s game with an apparent leg injury. Wisniewski had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game.
Carolina didn’t make many big moves in the off-season, but one deal Hurricanes GM Ron Francis did pull off was the acquisition of defenseman James Wisniewski from the Anaheim Ducks. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Francis and Wisniewski, the blueliners time in Carolina hasn’t started so well.
In Thursday’s season-opening contest against the Nashville Predators, Wisniewski went down with an apparent leg injury little more than three minutes into the game. For Wisniewski, the injury occured after he had spent a mere 47 seconds on ice for the Hurricanes and it was his second shift of his tenure with the team.
It’s uncertain how long, exactly, the 31-year-old will be sidelined, but at first glance the injury didn’t appear to be a minor one:
Wisniewski was later ruled out of the contest by the Hurricanes and judging by his on-ice reaction, he could be sidelined for a significant amount of time. Post-game, Hurricanes coach Bill Peters didn’t have an update on the defenseman, saying only that he hoped the injury wasn’t serious.
Throughout his career, injuries have plagued Wisniewski. Never has he played a full NHL season. Since 2007, Wisniewski has gone down with three injuries to his right knee, a broken finger, broken ankle and multiple non-specified upper- and lower-body ailments.
With Wisniewski out of the lineup, the Hurricanes will need to slide someone in to fill his spot alongside John-Michael Liles. In last night’s contest, Liles saw time with both Ryan Murphy and Ron Hainsey, but this could be an opening for 2015 fifth-overall pick Noah Hanifin to earn some more minutes and some time on the power play.
Wisniewski has been a power play specialist over his career and has notched 27 of his 53 career goals with the man advantage. Hanifin didn’t get a single second of power play time in his debut against Nashville and only skated five seconds on the penalty kill. If Wisniewski’s injury is significant, though, and has him sidelined long term, Hanifin could benefit from the unfortunate situation.