To say that Dennis Wideman's first two years with Calgary were disappointing is an understatement. After getting 22 points in the shortened season in 2013, he got injured the next season which limited him to only 21 points in 46 games. Considering that the Flames in general were not very good at the time and were not expected to do well for quite some time, it may not have seem all that bad having him take up a little over $5M of the cap.
Almost everyone was expecting Wideman to produce at the same rate in the 2015 season, but he surprised the Flames by getting a career-best 56 points. It was good enough for fourth among all defensemen last season.
The last time Wideman even hit 50 points? Back in 2009 with the Bruins.
Some say that it would be smart for the Flames to trade Wideman this season or the one after since it's not likely that he can duplicate his previous stats. It makes even more sense after the acquisition of Dougie Hamilton as it pushes Wideman down to the fourth/fifth spot, and the cap hit is just too much for someone that low in the depth charts.
However, the contract that the Flames signed him to in 2012 includes a no-movement clause which prevents Treliving from trading him and pretty much shuts down any sort of rumour regarding that. The only way that Wideman leaves is if he agrees to waive the clause, which is looking more and more unlikely with the direction the Flames are going in.
For the duration of his career, Wideman has made a living off of his offense and that's something that will stay the same next season, too. He has a really hard and somewhat accurate shot that he likes to use a lot, especially on the powerplay.
Wideman is also great at making pinpoint passes to set up a quick play, something that really came in handy when Mark Giordano went down and the Flames needed someone other than T.J. Brodie to create offense. You would have to be kidding yourself to think that Wideman is going to put 50+ points again, but he can still be used in powerplay situations or offensive zone starts.
Wideman's ability to stay consistent for most of this past season came as a surprise as well, considering it's something that he has struggled with in the past. Part of that may have been due to the fact that he was playing with Kris Russell for pretty much the entire season.
Even after all you look at all the positives that Wideman brings with his offense, it's hard to turn a blind eye on his defense. Simply put, Dennis Wideman's combination of offense and defense is like taking a bite into a raisin cookie while thinking it's chocolate chip.
At first if you simply look at his point totals and how well the team did, you may think that he's a really good defenseman who just had his best season. Then you actually start to watch him play, see his other stats and start to get a better feel for what he can do for the team.
That's when you begin to realize that there are more negatives than you originally thought there were and at times, they can outweigh the positives.
Like I mentioned before, Wideman will likely drop off in production this season and we're going to see him get noticed a lot more for his inability to play defense. His slow skating also contributes to his poor defense; something that most offensive defensemen excel in. It may not be as bad as someone like Deryk Engelland, but bad breakouts, poor skating and being caught out of position is essentially what they both do.
Thankfully we may not have to see Wideman on defense next season as much as we did last season. Mainly because with Giordano getting healthy and Dougie Hamilton in the mix, Wideman's ice time should drop and he will not be needed on the penalty kill or any sort of defensive zone start. If he's in the offensive zone however, then leave him there because he should produce a good amount of points.
2014-2015 Statistics: GP 80 G 14 A 41 P 56 +/- +6 PPG 6 PPA 15
Predicted 2015-2016 Statistics: GP 82 G 10 A 33 P 43 +/- +2 PPG 3 PPA 10
That 13-point drop may look bad, but 43 points in 82 games is not something to complain about either. As long as Wideman isn't put into a lot of defensive situations, then it prevents the chances of him being a defensive liability. Of course he still is liability regardless due to the fact that it would be impossible (though very nice) to take him off the ice as soon as the other teams pass the red line.
Forty-three points seemed a lot at first, but in Wideman's first two years in Calgary he was projected to get 39 points in 2013 and 37 points in 2014 had he played all 82 games. Keeping that in mind, it may not be an unrealistic expectation given he now has an overall better team and he will still be put into situations where he can be effective.
Trading Wideman would be a viable solution, but the problem is his no-movement clause and the chances of him agreeing to waive it, or lack thereof. With most contending teams currently cap crunched or expecting to give a payday to their superstar, it may not be the best time to trade Wideman and his $5M+ cap hit. Calgary would also be faced with needing someone who could replace his roster spot, depending on the circumstances of the trade.
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