Dennis Wideman done for the season with tricep injury

Dennis Wideman’s season started like any other season. Play top four minutes alongside Kris Russell, hang out on the power play, constantly shoot pucks wide because his name is literally Wide Man.

But things went wrong. Coming off of a career season in which he scored 15 goals and 56 points (both career highs), his shooting percentage dropped from 8.7% to 2.7%. He scored just two goals and 19 points (both career lows) through 51 games.

And that isn’t even getting into the entire fiasco that came about when he got concussed and collided with linesman Don Henderson, who hasn’t worked since that day. Wideman was handed a 20-game suspension, which saw the appeals process go to an independent arbitrator for the first time ever, and he served 19 games of what was ultimately reduced to a 10-game suspension.

It has been a disaster of a season for Wideman. But at least now, it’s officially over… Because after skating backwards into Joe Colborne and falling into the boards right when the Flames scored a goal, he suffered a season-ending tricep injury.

So. Here’s where the Flames stand.

They currently have six healthy defencemen: T.J. Brodie, Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Jyrki Jokipakka, and Jakub Nakladal. The only way any other defencemen will join the lineup the rest of this season is if one of those six gets hurt, and the Flames are forced to make an emergency recall.

Based on recent history, Tyler Wotherspoon is likely first in line to be recalled, but again: that’s completely contingent on one of those six players getting hurt and being forced to miss at least one game after injury.

Of that defence group, we appear to be getting an extended look of Brodie and Hamilton – the potential defence pairing of the future – together, Giordano with Engelland, and Jokipakka and Nakladal wrapping things up by providing steady, bottom pairing minutes.

With 150:42 played on the power play, Wideman was the sixth most used Flame to frequent the man advantage, even with 19 games lost. His season being over opens a new slot on the backend. Giordano, Hamilton, and Brodie should be guarantees to man the point. After them, Nakladal has been the most-used remaining blueliner on the power play, so we can probably expect him to fill that role for the remainder of the year.

Also – based on both the eye test, and extremely small statistical sample sizes (the Flames were a 47.5% 5v5 CF team before Wideman’s suspension; they’ve been a 48.3% team after), the Flames might actually have a better defence group without Wideman in the lineup.

Which brings us to this point: all we know at this point in time is that Wideman’s season is over. We don’t know what his recovery time is.

This is important because there’s a limited window in which teams can buy out players. The first buyout period starts on either June 15 or 48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Final – whichever comes later – and ends on June 30, the day before free agency.

And this is the part that needs to be stressed: injured players cannot be bought out.

I don’t know if the Flames are entertaining thoughts of buying out Wideman, but it may be in their best interests to do so. A Wideman buyout saves them $4 million on the cap next season (the year of the cap crunch, so that’s a very valuable $4 million) and frees up a roster spot while moving out a player who shouldn’t have a future with this organization, especially when said organization already may be better off without him in the lineup. It would have the Flames carrying a $2 million cap hit in the 2017-18 season, but that may be more affordable than the $4 million is for next year.

No matter what, though, you hope the guy is okay and recovers as quickly as possible, if only for the sake of being a decent human being wanting the best for another’s health.

… You’re allowed to have ulterior motives, though.

  • RKD

    A terrible season for Wides, poor defensively and offensively. His 19 games served for a 10 game suspension were a black eye to himself, the Flames organization and the league. His trade value just plummeted, we should have trade him and Huds a year earlier. Sucks for Wides but the kids get more of a chance to play. I don’t want him on the roster next year.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Buying out Wideman would be ridiculous.

    I know a lot of Flames fans have decided he’s the worst player in the history of winter sports, but a 40+ point defenceman is worth a solid asset at the trade deadline.

  • Parallex

    Oh crap oh crap oh crap.

    If he isn’t available to be bought out we could be so screwed. Think about it guys… Wideman has a NMC, if the NHL forces teams to protect guys on a NMC during an expansion draft we’ll be forced to expose one of Gio/Brodie/Dougie.

    • Rockmorton65

      The expansion draft won’t happen mid season. It’s a little unrealistic to think they can approve a franchise, put a ownership/board of directors in place, finalize arena plans, hire a management team and come up with rules for an expansion draft in 6 months.

      I don’t think an expansion draft would happen until next offseason. If that’s the case, Wideman would be off the books.

      • cberg

        Still to be confirmed, but from what I’ve read the Expansion Draft would take place before July 1, 2017 (also before the regular draft) which means Wideman’s NMC contract is still on the books.

        • Greg

          I can’t imagine any scenario where existing teams agree to expansion rules that require the to use a protection slot for a player with a NMC who’s contract will expire and make him a UFA a few weeks later. Not going to happen.

          Everyone needs to chill out about Wideman. He wasn’t going to be bought out anyway. Is he overpaid? Sure. Is he completely devoid of value? No. Barring a surprise trade, he’ll be on the roster next season, and we should be spending our time speculating about more realistic scenarios of what BT might do.

    • cberg

      You got it mostly right. If Wideman refuses to waive (he’s UFA so he might waive), then Calgary would have to protect eight skaters since they would want to keep 4D. That would expose Frolik or Backlund. This is definitely a major issue, so I’d be for trading him a sap or possibly even buying him out and not worrying about him being a trade chip.

      This is just an example of serious problems teams are going to have with Expansion Draft issues, especially with goalies. That will be good for us and make the next 15 months very interesting.

  • KiLLKiND

    “The GMs were told the salary cap for next season could rise to $74 million if the NHL Players’ Association enacts its growth factor clause, which is typically a 5 percent inflator to the cap. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the cap would stay flat at its current $71.4 million if the NHLPA opts not to trigger an escalator.”

    “The Players’ Association has enacted the growth factor clause for all but one season (2006-07) since the cap was instituted for the 2005-06 season.”

    I took that directly from the site, hence the quotes. So it looks like the cap won’t be as bad as we were thinking and trading Wideman would be optimal. Trading Wideman instead of buying him out would save cap the following year and allow us to spend more money on improving the team, when we are better able to compete.

    • The Last Big Bear

      That ‘bad penny’ (whose first full NHL season was in 2006-07) has more career points than any player on the Edmonton Oilers.

      He would have tied RNH for 2nd in scoring on the Oilers last year, and led the team in assists.

      He also has 32 points in 55 playoff games. Guess where both of those would rank him on the Oilers?

      Damn your team sucks.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Here’s another guy who can’t make a post without referencing the Oilers. I was talking about Wideman, who has never been an Oiler and possibly has a clause in his current contract that would bar a trade to the Oiler, but Bad News Bear or whatever the hell you call yourself, wants to spin it into an Oilers diatribe.

        The good news is that I am here to help, not slam you. If you want to find a team to compare the Flames to, don’t look for a team below it. Comparing the 28th team with the 29th team is not very helpful and it’s not cool. Why wouldn’t you try and draw comparisons between the Flames and teams higher in the standings? Not likely to get out of the muck if you can’t raise your eyes and see there is a whole world above the muck. Try it sometime.

  • freethe flames

    Bluemoon; you come to website and call a guy with one bad incident “a bad penny” and don’t expect a response. Yes what happened to Henderson was terrible but is over. If you want to complain that Wideman has not lived up to his contract 2 of the last 3 years I would agree with you, but to call him a “bad penny” is a little silly. Note until now I have not attacked that team up north nor do I intend to in this post. Maybe in others when relevant.