Who Can The Flames Trade Dennis Wideman To?

Just as the Flames may have some trade targets in their sites this off-season, the club may well have some players they want to auction off as well. I personally identified Dennis Wideman as a good trade candidate in my recent look at the Flames cap situation over the next three years owing to his price tag, age and likelihood to fall back down to earth moving forward.   

At the time of writing, Dennis Wideman was the runaway favourite in the FN poll as a trade candidate as well. The question remains, should the Flames even trade Wideman and are there any teams who could potentially be interested?

A Good Bet

Against long odds, Dennis Wideman had himself a career season this year. Although his possession stats remain very mediocre, the 32-year old nevertheless saw the puck go in for him at the best rate he’s ever seen, both personally (SH% 8.7) and while he was one the ice at even strength (10.05%). 

Wideman also logged a lot of time against top players after Mark Giordano went down to injury. And while he and partner Kris Russell weren’t quite as capable as the Flames captain and TJ Brodie, they managed to stay above water thanks to their high scoring numbers and penchant for blocking shots.

These results suggest Wideman is closer to a core player rather than expendable, but the truth is he is a poor candidate to maintain that level of play moving forward. Wideman is still a capable offensive defender with a big shot and good instincts, but his foot speed is becoming ever more questionable each year and he is prone to defensive lapses. Ideally, Wideman should be deployed against lesser players in a PP specialist type role. This is likely to be more and more true the older he gets. 

As such, Wideman’s value as a trade chip will probably never be higher than it is right now. With that in mind  combined with a looming cap crunch in two years time suggests the club should at least consider testing the trade waters.

Potential Partners

Of course, Wideman’s contract of $5.25M/year over the next two years is a challenge for many teams in the NHL to absorb. That may limit the pool of suitors and therefore demand. 

On the other hand, defenders are almost always of interest in the off-season and Wideman’s offensive output may be hard to ignore for some clubs looking for some punch from the back-end. 

Here are 6 teams who might be the most interested in acquiring Wideman’s services:

1.) Arizona Coyotes 

With only about $35M committed to next season and just three defenders signed, the Coyotes are in dire need of both cap dollars and established defensive talent. Their current depth chart features OE Larsson and then a bunch of kids including Michael Stone, Klas Dahlback, Connor Murphy, John Moore and Brandon Gormley. 

On top of all that, the rebuilding Coyotes won’t exactly be the first choice for most of the league’s key free agents. I’m sure there are clubs who will line-up to “help” Phoenix to get to the cap floor with some salary dumps, but Wideman is actually a player who could help Arizona both on the ice and on the budget sheet. 

2.) Buffalo Sabres

The tank is over in Buffalo. Now they have the unenviable task of building the team back up. The Sabres have the third cheapest roster heading into the off-season ($45.5M), but they also have a well heeled owner thirsty for success and a line-up filled to the brim with kids. 

On the blueline, the Sabres currently only have five guys signed with Josh Gorges acting as the elder statesman at 30. Nobody left on the Buffalo back-end is much of a scorer with the exit of Ehrhoff and Myers the last couple of years. 

Like with the Coyotes, Wideman would be a guy who could help the Sabres get past the salary floor while adding a veteran PP performer to a young line-up. 

3.) New Jersey Devils

It’s probable that the Devils on the precipice of their own rebuild given how completely they collapsed last season. 

That said, New Jersey has a powerful need for more NHL defensemen. Currently, they only have Andy Greene, Jon Merrill and Damon Severson inked for next season, with RFA’s Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas needing to be re-signed. Of those five players, only Greene is an established, NHL veteran. 

The Devils may eschew any big, expensive acquisitions this year in anticipation of a losing season, but if they are looking to be competitive, Dennis Wideman would represent a decent option for them. 

4.) Pittsburgh Penguins

Here’s Pittsburgh’s blueline depth chart right now:

  • Kris Letang
  • Olli Maata
  • Rob Scuderi
  • Ben Lovejoy
  • Derrick Pouliot

Yeesh. Of that group, only Letang makes more than $3M per year. 

Maybe Pittsburgh manages to retain or replace UFA’s Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff. If not, they’ll need to shore up that roster. 

5.) Detroit Red Wings

The Wings have some money to spend ($56.8M committed), though they already have six NHL defenders signed, plus pending RFA Brendan Smith. 

However, there’s a big gap between Nik Kronwall and the rest of the Detroit crew (Jon Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff). As a result, only Kronwall (44) and DeKeyser (31) scored more than 30 points from the back-end for the Wings last year. The next best total? 18 by Quincey. 

So while Detroit doesn’t really need another body on the blueline, Dennis Wideman could likely slide right into the middle of the rotation and add a much need weapon on the PP for one of the more punchless defense corps in the league. 

6.) Carolina Hurricanes

Justin Faulk is a man alone on an island in Carolina. He’s one of only two defenders making more than $3.5M on their back-end and the other guy is 34-year old JM Liles. The Hurricanes only have four defensemen signed for next season and aren’t going to be a destination of choice for most free agents. 

Conclusion

It’s a fairly thin free agent crop when it comes to the blue liners this season and, clearly, there are teams with big needs on the back-end. If Calgary chooses to make Wideman available, there seems to be at least a half dozen clubs who could have interest. 

Of course, Calgary’s willingness to trade Wideman may also come down to their ability to acquire additional depth themselves. Without adding at least one (if not two) top-4 options to the rotation, Calgary couldn’t really afford to lose Wideman given the tenuous state of their own blueline. 

  • Lordmork

    What’s the return on a guy like Wideman? Useful player with a fairly big contract. I would hate to lose Wideman and his shot, but we’ll need the cap space, and his value is probably as high as it’s going to be. IMO, Wideman becomes expendable if we acquire a top-4 defenceman. As much as I like him, maximizing the team’s assets is important.

  • Lordmork

    This is s great opportunity to trade Wideman and get a good return it will be interesting to see what we could get for him. I wonder if Detroit would be interested in adding him and Backlund for the 19th and Smith? Or deal with Buffalo for 21 and Bailey and McCabe. Would the Flames need to add a pick?

  • everton fc

    If we are trying to win the Cup in one to two years time, which is what the plan should be, rebuild remaining in progress, why Wideman? Wideman became a leader and was a good influence around the young guys, was he not? He also added some levity to some tough situation at trade deadline, and as willing to sacrifice his body due to many shots that made it through porous defence at times (something we need to reduce – Shots On Goal – could this be problem defencively with the forwards??)

    Anyway.. Why move Wideman? We want to go deeper than this year, past the second round. Wideman is a definite cog in that wheel towards the Cup.

    (Gotta think big, hey?!)

  • piscera.infada

    Trade Wideman, trade for Spurgeon, retain Schlemko. You’ve likely upgraded your top 4, and the bottom-2 might be a hair better (provided you allow some camp battles between Engelland/Wotherspoon/Morrison for 6/7).

    That would be interesting if Treliving could pull it off.

      • piscera.infada

        Why Backlund? I’d rather sign him to a nice 4-5 year deal that would allow him to be trade-able if someone can play his role better than him in a few years time. Backlund’s too important to this organization at present.

          • Koolmoedee

            Maybe, but 19th overall and Smith is a terrible return. Since 1990, only 40% of 19th overall picks have played 100 career NHL games or more. Only 25% have become top-six forwards or top-four defensemen.

            Smith plays only 18 minutes a night, and is one of the most heavily sheltered defensemen in the league in terms of quality of competition and offensive zone starts.

            Wideman plays more, tougher minutes (about 24 minutes per night) and scores a ton more.

            Backhand is by far the Flames’ best possession forward and handles the toughest assignments.

            Trading those two players for a question mark and a sheltered third-pairing defenceman makes the Flames much worse.

          • Koolmoedee

            That would give us
            1. A younger defender.
            2. The 19th pick in a very strong draft.
            Remember this was just an example but for the sake of this example.
            That 19th could be used with another pick or two to perhaps move up. A team like San Jose and Jersey are looking to restock and may value quantity. 19, 53, 83 plus Klymchuk for 6 and gelinas or helgeson. Or the same deal to the Sharks for Goldiobin and 9?

          • Greg

            You restock quality first before you worry about quantity. Nobody would move a top 10 pick unless one of our core young players is going to them. Think Monahan or Bennett, not klimchuck or Poirier.

    • piscera.infada

      Not sure Minny would do that, that wouldn’t improve their cap situation, especially with the signings they have coming up. But we definitely have some interesting scenarios.

      Granlund & the #53 for Spurgeon

      If we didn’t have our own goalie logjam I would suggest trying to pry their 1st for taking Backstrom off their hands.

      We then allow us to move Wideman, can we get Pysyk & the Buffalo 2nd for Wideman & say Reinhart?

      With that we improve our 2nd pairing, add a decent young D & move up our #53 to almost another 1st rounder with Buffalo’s 2nd.

      • piscera.infada

        To rephrase, I wasn’t saying trade Wideman for Spurgeon. I heard that Spurgeon is the most likely player to be moved in Minny though.

        I also don’t see a scenario where Wideman nets you that kind of return, especially from Buffalo.

        • Franko J

          Well that’s the whole point, was is Wideman worth? Holy smokes, you can say every player over 30 is going to regress. I still think value is determined by performance & then it’s up to the other team to determine if need equals the asking price. Wideman was in the top 10 point s for defencemen. He carried Calgary to the 2nd round playing over 25 minutes. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t ask for anything less. Why should we. By the time we need cap space Widemans contract expires & we can probably get a GlenX type of return at the trade deadline in his last year. Pegula doesn’t like losing for too long. He’s got Eichel coming, a boatload of nice young players including some high end defence like Zadorov & Ristaleinen (sp?)
          They saw how Calgary has transitioned. More value there than you think my friend.

    • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

      Our D needs to get Faster and bigger. What is Spurgeon going to add at 5’9″ 175lbs. We need a couple of functional D who can skate, make a first pass and CLEAR THE FRONT OF THE NET. Not more offensive type D.
      Looking forward to seeing what Morrison can bring.

      • piscera.infada

        Because big, functional, young, top-four D are always available…

        And before you start with Franson, I would argue there’s little to no way he’s functional enough to garner the contract he’s going to get. For that reason, I hope it’s not the Flames who offer it to him.

        The reason I say Spurgeon is because if you trade Wideman, you’ll need that depth. Spurgeon comes in with one year left at $2.66 million (and he’s an imporvemtn on Wideman, at least possession-wise). It allows you to remain somewhat flexible. If he comes in a kills it, you can resign him at reasonable price-tag. If he doesn’t it’s unlikely you had to give up the farm to get him. If Minnesota wants the farm, don’t make the deal. That simple.

    • piscera.infada

      A lot.

      One of bennett monahan Gadreau.

      Coyotes are rebuilding they would want young pieces.

      Ask yourself what would the flames want if we had 3rd overall from them

      • Rockmorton65

        I don’t think it would be that drastic. You’re talking about moving down twelve spots in a deep draft. Are you saying that an offer of 15th, Wideman & Backlund doesn’t at least get the conversation started? To get that high defensive prospect (Hanifin) that would help the rebuild turn a corner? id say it’s worth a phone call.

        • Greg

          It doesn’t get the conversation started. Would you trade the Monahan pick for Frans Neilsen, mark Streit, and the 15th?

          The difference between a top 5/6 pick and a 15th-ish pick is huge. Like an 80% chance of getting a first line/top pairing player, and a 40% chance of getting a quality 3rd liner/4-5th d man. For 10 years!

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          I kind of feel like Arizona didn’t go into their rebuild and intentionally tank for half the season just so they could give up that super high pick in a deep draft for a 30 year old defenseman as part of the return – Backlund aside.

        • BigMcD

          If not for McDavid and Eichel ,Hanifan would probably be a legit number 1 pick. I don’t think Arizona is going to throw away a cornerstone of their future for Wideman and Backlund and the 15th overall. No way no how , are they that stupid , not even in Arizona!

          • RedMan

            Hanifin might not even be the top Dman in the draft at this point, many scouts have Provorov surpassing him in their rankings. Not to mention the majority of scouts have Strome ahead of him as well. Hanifin isn’t even a lock for the top 5 now…you might wanna read up on the latest scouting reports before u start running your mouth and making yourself look stupid again, as you tend to do here often

          • BigMcD

            I was hardly running my mouth douchebag! Final rankings are out for draft and low and behold Hanifan still ranked 3rd. Strome averaged 1 point a game in the playoffs nowhere near his 2 points a game in regular season. Did you watch any Otter playoff games?
            Even if it was Strome at 3rd . Widemans best days are probably in the past and Backlund had 1 decent season and you seriously think that Arizona is gonna deal a player of Hanifan or Stromes caliber for those two and 15th overall??
            Arizona is REBUILDING!! I don’t think they need two middle of the road players to build around!!
            I don’t have to read scouting reports as I actually watch hockey.

          • MontanaMan

            Not that he hasn’t been wrong, but Button has Hanafin at #12 so your assertion that he’s top three may not happen. The fact that some knowledgeable hockey people have him in the #10 range tells you that there’s many not convinced that he’s top 3 material. Remember Fowler? Time will tell.

          • BigMcD

            Boys the Flames aren’t going to trade Bennett or Monahan. Fourteen teams ahead of us in the draft aren’t going to want what we have to offer to move up. And we should get a decent D prospect at 15 if BB/BT deviate from BPA.
            Additionally Wideman only goes if we obtain a D position player first. We are too weak on D after 1,2,3 and you can wait till trade deadline on dealing Wideman.

          • BigMcD

            Interesting thing to think about is if we sell Wideman due to the success he’s had & gambling that will be the summit performance of that UFA contract we gave him. Sell him high & then pick off Wiznieski off Anaheim. He’s 1 year younger, 2 years left at 5.5mill per & has the ability to replicate what Wideman did this year. Difference between these two guys is Wiznieski had a horrible year & would be relatively cheap to pick off of Anaheim, who oddly, hasn’t played any games in the playoffs. Sell high & buy a similar player dirt cheap. Thats how some very wealthy people I know has done it.

          • BigMcD

            And we should get a decent D prospect at 15 if BB/BT deviate from BPA.

            Or maybe if they don’t. I’d take Jeremy Roy over Nick Merkley, for example, and not just because Roy is a defenseman.

      • Matty Franchise Jr

        Um… What? Are you kidding me? So you think the #3 pick is worth one of monahan, Bennett, or gaudreau, our #15 pick and wideman? That’s insane. The coyotes would likely look long and hard and trading the #3 pick straight across for monahan or gaudreau. Hanifin/Strome/Marner is not worth more then them. If it was the #2 pick then maybe, but your way overvaluing that pick.

    • piscera.infada

      You won’t get #3 overall.

      On the Fan a few days ago, Burke was saying no one’s been able to move up in the draft more than 4 spots in the last 10 years. Think about that for a minute… Now think about the fact that you’re looking to move up into the top-5 of a “deep draft”…

      What would it have taken for you to move the Monahan pick for 15th overall in 2013? What would it have taken for you to move Bennett for 15th overall last year?

  • piscera.infada

    While trading Wideman does indeed make sense– especially long term– I think capitalizing on Jiri Hudler’s current value makes more sense.

    Hudler has significantly more value than Wideman, is coming off a career year, and will be looking for a significant raise the same summer we have Gio, Monahan, Gaudreau and Russell all needing new contracts. I think both Wideman and Hudler are examples of selling high that we should take advantage of.

    (I understand the need for veterans and I’m a big fan of both Hudler and Wideman, but their stock is likely never going to be this high again based on their age and the career seasons they just had)

  • thumz

    Trading Wideman and getting some good young pieces is a smart move given where we are at. Last year was soooo rad to watch, but I worry that we overestimate how good we are. I don’t want to see another string of years where the Flames finish between 7th – 11th.

  • RKD

    All valid points about Wideman, the only problem is who replaces him? If they are going to trade Wides I would like to see another quality right-handed younger d-man come back. Wideman and Russell together give us a solid top 4. Ideally if we had another top d-man we could slide Wideman to a bottom pairing. If Gio or Brodie get hurt and we don’t have anyone able to replace Wideman on that pairing with Russell, the team will be in a world of hurt for someone to play those kind of extra minutes. If we got a 2nd round pick for Glencross, Baertschi and Berra, we can definitely get some good return for a guy coming off a career season.

  • Bikeit

    I would say yes if the flames had depth on D. This is the issue with D they are in high demand, trades make sense, but as soon as you trade one you are looking for another one to fill the vacated spot. I think these scenarios all depend on return as well as who the flames maybe can get in free agency or through trade. Otherwise wideman stays.

  • Now would be the best time to get rid of Wideman, I agree. Unfortunately, I just dont see it happening this summer.

    With the expiring contracts the Flames need to spend about 4m to get to the floor. Moving Wideman out would increase that gap to 9.5m. That’s gonna be tough to do with this ufa market and our contrats don’t expire until next season. I think they let Schlemko/Diaz walk, and maybe try and move Engellend before they move Wideman. Not to mention Widemans NMC thins that list down from about 6 teams to maybe 3. That’s a big maybe if he wants to go to NJ. If they can sign Franson in his place then maybe you move Wideman.

    I think at this point the best thing the Flames can do is stay the course, draft a couple defenders in this draft. hope they find a defender who can make the jump in 1-3 years (another Brodie-like-dude) in the second-fourth round. Worry less about signing anyone for next year in FA. If they finish around 84 points and miss so be it, that’s the breaks kid. Then they can start moving out some of those players like wideman at the trade deadline when they maybe are more willing to go and see what you can do in the offseason along with the raises you’re gonna have to Monny and Gaudreau.

  • RedMan

    the Flames are already short on NHL caliber defensemen – I don’t see how they move Wideman without replacing him with two other defensemen that are equal or better.

    With Gio, TJ and Russell in the lineup, Flames still need 2 defenders that are up to the requirements of the 3,4,5 spots. moving Wideman means we would need 3 players to fill the 3,4,5 spots.

    Moving Wideman (and Backland, as per all the comments here) suggests to me a “tank mode” which i just don’t think is part of the vocabulary in Calgary. if the team were going to tank, it would have been done this past year, not the coming year. don’t expect it.

    as for moving Backlund – I don’t get it. he is a great 3rd line center that can move up and down the roster as needed and can shut down other team’s top lines. his age is right, his skill set is valuable.

    It is not time to take one step back hoping that it leads to two steps forward down the road. last season would have been the time for that and it didn’t happen.

    Based on the current contracts, it looks like the Flames have a plan in place to peak after two more seasons. I like this.

  • jakeryley

    Pittsburgh makes an awful lot of sense – and the only destination on that list Wideman would likely waive for. They’re also a team that has effectively been running a spending-deficit since they acquired Iginla at the deadline a few years ago, so who knows how willing they are to give up futures (especially with rumours they’ve actively trying to get back into the 1st round of this year’s draft as-is).

    I’m not sure how they’re tracking right now, but at one time weren’t Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington fairly well thought of prospects? Perhaps there’s something that can be worked out there?

    If the opportunity to turn Wideman into a few assets while also replacing him via free agency with either Green or Franson exists, then I’d say you definitely have to take a stab at it.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    I voted for trading Wides in the poll on the side bar, but it’s probably a mistake to do that, given the org depth at D.

    Bring TSpoon up for a sheltered year, and rotate him with one or both Diaz & Schlemko as Engelland’s partner.

  • RedMan

    Trading him with already shallow Defensive depth is not even discussion worthy without bringing someone else in that can replace him and play in the top four. If you have to sign a guy like Franson at $6M per year for 5 years what’s the point, you’ve now added an even bigger albatross of a contract that’s on the books for a longer amount of time…your better off keeping Wideman

    Only scenario where it makes sense to move him is for a good young Dman that can play in your top 4 immediately, Adam Larsen in New Jersey comes to mind but no way Jersey makes that trade. Not a lot of options that make sense for Wideman…best to keep him until the trade deadline and make a decision at that point depending on where your at in the standings and what offers are on the table by teams potentially willing to over pay

    • Scary Gary

      I think what you say about replacing Wideman for a guy like Franson, except more expensive & longer is bang on. Wideman had a career offensive year this year but 5 on 5, he just isn’t a 2nd pairing blue liner & I think the stats are screaming that. But, teams smothered for offence from the back end would find 2 more years at $5.250 mill a perfect fit. Jersey is one of those teams. I think you touched it on Larsson. He is definitely the right target & Wideman going back as part of the deal would make sense.They have some nice you defencemen coming up, Wideman fits the role. They are also rebuilding, we have several premium prospects & several 2nd round picks to sweeten a move like that. If BT announced at the draft they traded Wideman/Granlund & our 45th pick & 75th pick to acquire RFA Larsson. Well, I would be thrilled. Not sure that package would be enough. What a perfect piece for the Flames at this point of the rebuild & what we have in our prospect stable now.

  • Scary Gary

    I completely agree that now is the time to trade Wideman, he’s 32, coming off a career year where he actually played an entire season (80 of 82), which is not his norm (he played 92 games the prior two season combined).

  • Franko J

    Great article once again. Plenty of debate and discussion on what to do with Wideman. My take would be:

    To NJ: Wideman, Hudler, Seiloff, Hanowski, Kanzig.

    To CAL: Severson, picks 36 and 41. I doubt very much Henrique. Or a tier 2 prospects.

    Purely conjecture and fantasy speculation. Just thinking in reference to the article.