Brad Treliving has accomplished a lot this summer, but the one thing left on the to-do list (aside from sign the wonder kids) is get some bad money off the roster. Specifically the blueline, where the bottom of the rotation is cluttered with expensive, aging NHLers Deryk Engelland, Dennis Wideman and Ladislav Smid.
Smid might be destined for LTIR, but that still leaves Wideman and Engelland as the probable third pairing. That’s bad news: both are RH shots, neither is particularly fleet of foot and both tend to give up a lot of shots and scoring chances against.
Engelland isn’t going anywhere with his deal (plus the team still seems to like him), but is it possible to trade Wideman? If the Flames agree to eat some salary, there might be a few teams willing to take the plunge: the Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders.
Top 4 Wideman Destinations
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.
New Jersey Devils
The other side of the Larsson/Hall deal is also in dire need of right handed defenders. Or defenders in general. As of right now, the Devils only have five established NHLers under contract: Andy Greene, Ben Lovejoy, John Moore, Jon Merrill and Damon Severson. Greene is only guy who averaged more than 20 minutes of ice last year and Severson scored a team high 21 points from the blueline.
New Jersey also has a lot of cap space (about $14M), so they would have no problem accepting Wideman’s contract, be it partial or whole.
I bet you can’t name four of the Carolina Hurricanes defenders for the current NHL depth chart without looking them up. That’s because everyone outside of Ron Hainsay and Justin Faulk is young or unknown.
Although many of the Canes kids are quality youngsters (Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin, Ryan Murphy), the club may want to buttress all that youth with an established veteran like Wideman – especially if he can be had at a discount. Like New Jersey, they also have more than enough cap space to make it work.
Unlike the rest of the candidates, the Islanders have a set and solid depth chart: Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Harmonic, Thomas Hickey and Calvin de Haan. The problem? That’s where it stops. The other candidates are prospects Adam Pelech, Devon Toews and Ryan Pulock, but none of them may be ready for prime time. Wideman would also give the Islanders another RD for their second PP unit behind Boychuk.
With north of $5M in cap space, NYI could also manage the Wideman contract pretty easily if Calgary agrees to eat part of it.
The shallow UFA pool and general lack of offensively oriented right-handed defenders might work to the Flames’ advantage this summer. The only other similar options are James Wisniewski (31 years old, frequently injured), Dan Boyle (39 years old, probably retiring), Tyson Barrie (RFA would be very costly to acquire and sign) and Kevin Shattenkirk ($4.25M and very, very costly to acquire).
If the Flames had to trade the whole $5.25M cap space, there’s almost no chance of moving Wideman. However, given some potential demand and the ability to cut his cap commitment in half, it’s at least possible that Treliving will find a taker for Wideman’s deal before the summer ends.