James Wisniewski's rights traded

The Montreal Canadiens traded the negotiating rights to James Wisniewski to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft and future considerations.

The defenseman is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent Friday. He earned $3.25 million last season.

The seventh-round pick will become a fifth-round selection in 2012 if Columbus signs Wisniewski prior to the 2011-12 season.

Wisniewski, 27, was among the league leaders this past season with 51 points (10 goals, 41 assists) in 75 games.

In 2008-09, Columbus had 41 wins and 92 points, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time. They have not been back since, finishing below .500 in each of the past two seasons, with 79 and 81 points, respectively.

The Blue Jackets acquired center Jeff Carter from the Philadelphia Flyers last week.

The Canadiens obtained Wisniewski from the New York Islanders on Dec. 28 for a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection. The power-play specialist had 51 points (10 goals, 41 assists) in 75 games last season.

Montreal was not expected to try to retain Wisniewski after it made a contract offer this week to veteran Roman Hamrlik, who can also become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.