Former Columbus Blue Jackets D-Man James Wisniewski Heading to the Olympics

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 28: James Wisniewski
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 28: James Wisniewski /

To many Columbus Blue Jackets fans there is only going to be one familiar face on the USA Olympic hockey team.  That name, former Columbus Blue Jacket defenseman James Wisniewski.

One former Columbus Blue Jackets player has realized a lifelong dream for all American hockey players and will put on the red, white, and blue for Team USA in the Olympic Games. That man, former Blue Jacket James Wisniewski.

James Wisniewski signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets after being traded for a fifth round draft pick in 2011. He played with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2011 until he was traded, with a third round pick, to the Ducks for Rene Bourque, second round pick, and William Karlsson.

In the 2012-2013 season Wisniewski was instrumental to the Jackets clinching a playoff spot with 51 points in 75 games. 51 points was good for second highest points on the team for the year behind center, Ryan Johansen. This beat out current team veterans such as Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, and Nick Foligno, which is beyond impressive for a defenseman in the 2012-2013 play style.

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Wisniewski played a total of four years in Columbus totaling 209 games played and 121 points. Not only was Wisniewski a great defenseman on the ice, but also allowed us to trade for two players that helped form the team that we have today.

Wisniewski tore his ACL (for the second time) playing for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2015, essentially ending his play time in the NHL. He has tryout with the Lightning as well as some AHL teams but nothing came from it so he decided to take his talents overseas in the KHL and DEL2 (Germany).

Despite the fact that Wisniewski left the Blue Jackets year ago, he has many friends left on the team and fans remember him fondly. Several players tweeted out their excitement after the surprise announcement of Wisniewski making the USA Olympics team. It is always good to see a friend and teammate complete a dream for any athlete.

It appeared that Wisniewski was not expecting to make the team after he tweeted out “Well…the Olympic dream won’t happen for this kid” in October. With the exclusion of all NHL players for the first time since 1994, this was the biggest chance that Wisniewski had to make the Olympics and it looked that it still wouldn’t happen.

I can only imagine the excitement that he must have felt, after believing that he wouldn’t make the team, to get the nod when the roster was announced at the Winter Classic. The excitement that a boy from Michigan, who blew out his ACL twice, would now represent his country on the international level must have been palpable. It is hard not to root for someone like that.

Make sure to tune in on February 14th, as the USA team takes on Slovenia to start the Olympics in Pyeongchang, and root for Wisniewski and team to bring home the gold.