From the head-scratching healthy scratches department: the Columbus Blue Jackets are sitting James Wisniewski, with Jordan Leopold taking his place on Sunday.
No reason was given for why he is a healthy scratch, but the team is labeling it as such (which is relevant since the occasionally pugnacious defenseman has had his injury hiccups in the past). It’s difficult to argue that it’s strictly performance-related, as the Rob Mixer of the Blue Jackets’ website pointed out some strong possession performance very recently:
Does that sound like a guy who doesn’t deserve to be among your starting six defensemen?
It’s almost tempting to throw the word “trade” around, even if there are no rumors as to such. If you want to pass a little time kicking around hypothetical situations, Wisniewski’s contract carries a hefty $5.5 million cap hit through 2016-17, the highest mark among Blue Jackets skaters as of this season.
Anyway, it’s an interesting situation to watch, even if it was just a matter of a simple coach’s decision for one game against the New York Rangers tonight.
Update: Here’s the first mainstream media bit of fire to go with the smoke:
This obviously doesn’t mean a trade is imminent … but it’s interesting, at least.