The Montreal Canadiens have obtained a draft choice in next year's draft and future considerations from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for exclusive negotiating rights to pending free agent James Wisniewski.
The 27-year-old defencemen impressed for the Habs after coming over in late December from the New York Islanders in a trade, but with Andrei Markov recently signed to a three-year deal and Josh Gorges a restricted free agent, his return seemed questionable at best.
He will likely join his fifth team in just under three years, having also played for Anaheim and Chicago in his NHL career.
Wisniewski scored seven goals and 23 assists with the Canadiens, and finished with a career high with 10 goals, 41 assists and 51 points overall in 2010-11.
Columbus, meanwhile, is trying to head in the right direction after just one playoff berth in over a decade of play in the league. They added sniper Jeff Carter from Philadelphia last week, and have long been in need of a power-play quarterback.
Of Wisniewski's 148 career points, 56 have come on the power play.
He earned $3.25 million US last season and will be available to negotiate with all teams at noon ET on Friday.
Montreal will receive a fifth round choice in the 2012 draft if the Blue Jackets sign him, or a seventh rounder if he opts to sign with another club.
Also Wednesday, the Canadiens signed defenceman Yannick Weber to a two-year contract. He had 11 points (1-10) in 41 games last season.
He will make $800,000 next season and $900,000 in 2012-13.