The name of Dennis Wideman is starting to creep up again as my little birdy told me the Oilers are in talks to acquire the 33-year-old defenseman from the Calgary Flames. I guess Chia Pete REALLY wants to have three pairs of righty/lefty dmen.
Initially, the Wideman chatter started when Elliotte Friedman mentioned it in his 30 Thoughts column here and that resulted in some compelling arguments from such writers as:
Wideman had the worst on-ice Fenwick rating of any Calgary defenceman, though it should be noted that there’s a caveat here: He played in mutually destructive pairings with Deryk Engelland and Kris Russell in which both partners dramatically underperformed their results elsewhere. Wideman was good when with Mark Giordano (even by Giordano’s standards).
Unfortunately, this isn’t a new thing. Wideman’s Fenwick numbers have been bad for three years now and they weren’t great before that. He’s had ugly results with Engelland, with Russell and with Ladislav Smid (and, yes, the bottom end of Calgary’s defence hasn’t been great); if he wasn’t playing with Giordano the Flames were generally getting hammered on the shot clock. (source)
Yes, the Oilers recently paid a hefty price to add 24-year-old Adam Larsson. Nevertheless, their blueline is still lacking in RH defenders who can play on the PP. The rest of their backend includes:
- Andrej Sekera (LD)
- Adam Larsson (RD)
- Oscar Klefbom (LD)
- Mark Fayne (RD)
- Darnell Nurse (LD)
- Brandon Davidson (LD)
- Griffin Reinhart (LD)
Of those guys, Sekera is the only player who hit 30 points last year. In fact, he’s the only Oilers defender who scored more than 20 points in 2015-16. Dennis Wideman’s near career worst 19 points in 51 games last season would have put him second on the Oil behind Sekera. Yuck.
So as superfluous as Wideman seems on the Flames blueline, he might actually be of some use to the Oilers. The only problem is, Edmonton has a complicated cap situation thanks to Andrew Ference’s LTIR and the bonus money “owed” to guys like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi. (Source)
Lyle Richardson (Spector)
…Chiarelli acquired and later traded Wideman during his tenure as Boston Bruins GM. While the two clubs rarely make deals, he points out the Flames acquired Ladislav Smid from the Oilers a couple of years ago.
Several factors, however, work against a Wideman-to-Edmonton trade scenario. Though he only has a year remaining on his contract, it’s a $5.25-million cap hit and $6 million in actual salary. He also carries a full no-movement clause and might not be keen to join the perennially rebuilding Oilers.
Dennis Wideman is not a sexy name anymore. His poor 2015-16 season and run in with an official have people afraid to even bring his name up. If we assume that Wideman simply had a down year last year, then he might be an option worth considering for Edmonton.
As a pending UFA with little trade value, the Oilers could acquire this player on the cheap. It’s also very possible, if not likely, that Calgary would be willing to eat some of the money remaining on this contract. If that were to happen, the Oilers could be getting a player that could present some exceptional value.
Dennis Wideman has a history of being a steady puck moving defender who can man the point on the powerplay. Currently, the Edmonton Oilers do not have a defender who can fill that role. Acquiring the right-shot defender likely won’t be met with much fanfare, but it could be an addition that pays dividends for the Oilers in 2016-17. (Source)
These days it’s hard to take a solid stance on Dennis Wideman. Is he the same player he was two years ago when he put up 15-41-56 in 80 games? How is he mentally after destroying that referee’s career? He’d most likely line up on the 3rd pairing, right? So let’s say he’s paired with Darnell Nurse, Jordan Oesterle, or Brandon Davidson; Is he going to be a drag on the games of Nurse and Oesterle? I don’t mention Davidson here because I think he’d be the one pushing that pairing.
And a common concern is the cost of acquiring Wideman. Some fans seem to think that a 7th rounder will do it, I disagree. He has one year left and any team adding Wideman to their roster will insist that the Flames eat 50% of his salary for the year. This I am certain of.
Alex Thomas, who is based in the Boston area, spent a good amount of time watching Wideman during his days in Boston and I’ll leave you with one last quote from his article,
In Boston, Wideman was a huge part of a Bruins defense that took the club from bottom feeder to contender in four short seasons.
What do you think? Even today, do you think there’s a chance the Oilers add right-handed defenseman Dennis Wideman? What would you pay the Flames to get him? Let us know in the comments below!