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Ducks sign James Wisniewski to a one-year contract

The defenseman gave a boost to the club last season after he was acquired from Chicago. He says he'd like to stay in Anaheim for a long time.

July 14, 2009|Helene Elliott

James Wisniewski, whose physicality and offensive skills energized the Ducks' defense after they acquired him from Chicago in March, signed a one-year contract that will pay him $2.75 million next season.

If it were up to him, he would have signed for much longer.

"Sometimes it's rough going off a bunch of one-year deals, but I can see where the Ducks are coming from," Wisniewski said Monday during a conference call with reporters. "They want me to play a full season of injury-free hockey."

If he can do that, he said, "Hopefully, I'll be a Duck for a long time."

Wisniewski, 25, had three goals, 24 points, a plus-9 rating and 30 penalty minutes in 48 games last season. He has lost time to several mishaps, including a bruised lung suffered when he was hit in the chest by a puck during the Ducks' playoff series against Detroit.

Wisniewski, who earned $900,000 last season and was a restricted free agent, said he likes the Ducks' makeup even though they traded Chris Pronger to Philadelphia and lost Francois Beauchemin to free agency.

"People might question our defense, but I'd beg to differ," he said. "All six can skate and move the puck. We have two absolutely fantastic scoring lines, a grinding line and a checking line, and that's what you need. The organization put it into our hands and gave us the right tools to do so."

The Ducks also announced an eight-game exhibition schedule that will begin Sept. 16 against Phoenix at the Honda Center. Their other home games will be against Vancouver on Sept. 17, San Jose on Sept. 21 and the Kings on Sept. 27. They will play at Phoenix on Sept. 18, at the Kings on Sept. 19, at Vancouver on Sept. 24 and at San Jose on Sept. 25.

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helene.elliott@latimes.com

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