Irresponsible Rumormongering

Trade target: Dennis Wideman

Dennis Wideman posted 56 points two seasons ago

Dennis Wideman is perhaps best known for crashing into a referee last season, which earned him a 20-game suspension. However, he’s just two seasons removed from a 56-point campaign in 2014-2015 – the fourth-most points in the league amongst defensemen that year.

Wideman, 33, has been a workhorse throughout his 11-year career, averaging over 20 minutes a night in 10 of his 11 seasons. He’s nearing the end of the line though and has seen his ice-time reduced over the last two years, especially on the power play.

Calgary is flush with puck-moving defenders including Dougie Hamilton, T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano – so depending on the Flames’ standing in the playoff race as the deadline approaches, they could choose to cash out on Wideman, a pending UFA.

Like some of the other options we’ve discussed including Ryan Murphy and Cody Franson, Wideman could be had on the cheap. But there’s a reason for that – Wideman would be a mild upgrade for New York, but his best days are behind him and Wideman isn’t the kind of acquisition that would dramatically move the needle for the Blueshirts.

For some more background on Wideman, I sent a few questions to Ryan Pike of Flames Nation:

Q: There was a ton of controversy around Wideman for the ref incident last year. How as he responded? What about teammates and fans?

A: There’s been a bit of a fan conspiracy theory that the Flames haven’t gotten borderline calls from the referees since Wideman collided with that linesman a year ago. The numbers don’t support it, but the theory perpetuates. In terms of how he’s responded, Wideman has remained the same basic bottom-pairing defender he was, though he’s become a bit less consistent this season compared to last season in terms of his defensive zone play.

Q: Wideman has seen his power play ice-time cut by more than half, but he’s still playing a bunch of minutes for Calgary. To what do you attribute this shift in responsibilities?

A: It’s been a mixture of circumstances, really. The Flames changed power play coaches over the summer with Dave Cameron’s arrival, and they’ve been using Kris Versteeg on the right point of the first unit and Dougie Hamilton as the right point on the second unit. It seems like the logic has been loading up the PP units with right shots and offensive-minded players. Wideman was used as the right point for a little bit earlier in the second, but he lost his spot to Hamilton when they shuffled their units in November.

Q: Wideman is just two years removed from a 56-point season – has age caught up with him?

A: In short? Yes, but a lot of his production was based on some really strong shooting percentages in 2014-15. The arrival of Hamilton, the normalizing of his percentages and his drop from the second pairing down to the third pairing has resulted in fewer opportunities to put up offense.

Q: What are Wideman’s strengths and weaknesses? How would you describe his career arc right now?

A: Wideman has a really good shot from the point and he’s generally a pretty good distributor of the puck. Unfortunately, he’s lost a step and since he never really had great defensive instincts, he’s really been exposed defensively this season.

Q: With Calgary teetering on the fringe of the playoff picture, are you of the opinion the Flames will look to deal Wideman or hang onto him for a postseason run? If they trade him, what would you expect for a return?

A: Honestly, they’ve likely been trying to trade him for a couple of seasons. Between his reputation as a fairly one-dimensional player, his declining foot-speed and his big cap hit, he’ll be really tough to move. I imagine they’ll keep trying to do it, but I’m not expecting much. I imagine they’d be satisfied if they can even get a mid-round pick back for him.

Big thanks to Ryan for the help with this post – be sure to check out his site!

Other potential trade targets: Michael StoneRyan Murphy, Cody FransonJosh Manson

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  • I have no idea why we are always talking on BSB of picking up other teams D discards, like Wideman & Franson. There are two guys Rangers can go after during UFA season. Shattenkirk & Karl Alzner. Other guys available include Trevor Daley, Dmitry Kulikov, & Johnny Oduya. We could trade off Stepan & Staal to Minny & Klein for a draft pick if nothing else, opening up some Cap room.

    • I wonder in what fantasy hockey league could you get Minny to take on 12 million in cap hit, and would love to play Staal on their d, which already is one of the best in the league?

    • @Paulronty – The thinking here is that NY has stated it does not want to give up its 1st this year, has few prospects to speak of, and is in no hurry to deal a stud young F. So where does that leave you? Not getting Shatty or Alzner for free if you’re looking for an in-season upgrade – which they are.

      Daley is key to Pittsburgh, why would they deal him? Kulikov is a real possibility. Oduya is hurt.

      • Great points, and based on the review, the man has declined, is slow as hell, cost a ton of money, hey we have two like that already, D, and Staal, do we really need another????

        Also, let’s not forget Klein as well, that gives us four of a kind. Not a bad hand for poker !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kevin (+ other BSB writers) I think this type of article is excellent given we know or at least suspect the rangers are looking to shore up the D and we know or at least suspect that certain players may be available – whether or not we like them – it is interesting to know more about the potential options.

      Also it is great that you do the work of reaching out to other knowledgeable writers who cover these teams for their perspective. really value-add and well-rounded color we don’t get from a lot of (any?) other sources.

      • Appreciate it! Thanks for noticing and calling it out, always makes us feel good about the time spent.

  • I’d rather run Clendening and/or Graves out there than pick up a 33 year-old slow and getting slower Dman.

    • Clendening I’m with you on, but AV clearly isn’t.

      Graves I think they’ll wait on until camp.

  • I would pass on this…does not really make the team any better. Gotta save the assets for the right deals and use them wisely..this is not using them wisely

    • Mild upgrade for sure. But a roll of the dice for a mid-round pick? Small risk, acceptable in my eyes

  • We need something! Shame to waste all these “Papa John” days on a losing season! Shame to have this Pizza gut all for nothing too!

    Maybe next year the Rangers can score a deal with KFC,
    “3 goals gets you 3 pieces of the Finger Licking Good stuff!”


  • Gorton’s mantra on acquiring a defenseman at this point, in my opinion, should be “Go big….or don’t do anything at all.”. Plus, knowing AV, imagine Gorton does trade for a Wideman/Franson/Stone type…Is AV gonna sit G or Klein to get them in? I personally wouldn’t assume so given his past habits, and of course current Exhibit A Adam Clendening. I could completely see AV sitting Skjei or sending him to Hartford to get one of these minor upgrade types in if Gorton does go get one, leaving us no better off at the least… and quite possibly worse off.

    I hate to give up on this season, but at this point, the script in my eyes should be: if they can’t trade Klein or Girardi (and none of us our holding our breath on that) – AKA take AV’s toys away from him – then there’s no point to doing much. Pray that somehow this defensive group can luck it’s way through the playoffs courtesy of the potency of the offense, the way they have in several of this regular season’s wins already, and get the defense fixed in the offseason.

  • I think they’ll go for a small deal—-say a Matt Hunwick, or someone like that—-just more depth.

  • Given the defense AV has had to work with this year, I would say he has been
    a miracle worker. Don’t believe another coach in the league was up to handling
    this D as well.
    The talk about improving D seems to imply other teams not about to grab same
    players. Cap space will determine most trades along with age.

    • I can’t agree with that. Clendening has been better than either Klein or Girardi, yet he sits. That’s not working miracles…that’s terrible asset management.

      • Terrible asset management? For a journeyman defenseman who, if put on waivers tomorrow, would likely go unclaimed? Isn’t this exactly the same nonsense we heard with McIlrath last year?

        Would Clendening be a marginal upgrade? Maybe. But the operative word is marginal. This is still a suspect defense regardless so Lon’s assessment is right on the money.

          • Defending AV gets my heart pumping first thing, Walt. My doctor says it’s more effective than working out! 🙂

      • Any stats measure has Clendening as a superior player to 8 or 5, yet AV doesn’t pursue the concept to its logical end: a majority of starts until he proves or disproves himself. This stretch of games means nothing. Run the experiment real time.

        This is the definition of poor asset management in this modern world.

        • Could not have said it better myself. There is a *possible* better solution. AV won’t even explore it. Same was the situation with McIlrath. Whether or not any player might clear waivers, whether or not any player has been with so-and-so amount of teams, simply does not matter. Completely irrelevant. It’s akin to saying Hank must be a crappy goalie since he was drafted in the 7th round. How many other GMs passed over him how many times?

          What we know for a fact is we have two defensemen virtually glued to the lineup who are putting forth an AHL level performance most nights, and one who sits and COULD be better. No guarantees, of course, but could. The coach has not explored that possibility, which is folly.

          • Love the analogy of Hank’s being drafted in the 7th, and great point on the two AHL pylons played by Marv, it’s a joke !!!!!!!!!

  • Great article Kevin. I agree with you that if all the Rangers had to part with were marginal pieces, a trade for Wideman could be helpful.

    Going back to a thread from a few days ago that I wasn’t able to weigh in on is the broader question of what to do at the deadline and who is “untouchable”. I’ve said this before and will say it again. Out here, we totally overrate our young players. I doubt seriously that a single player on the Rangers (current NHL player or prospect) would be classified by any NHL exec as “untouchable”. We have no McDavids, Eichels, Matthews, etc. Those guys are untouchable. I have no doubt that Gorton would be willing to entertain a trade for anyone for the right return…with the following caveats–

    1) obviously, certain players who have NMCs are pretty much untradeable. So Hank, Staal and Girardi aren’t going anywhere.

    2) Vesey will not be traded. Not because he’s untouchable, but because the Rangers would seriously hurt their chances of ever signing a college FA again. And, I think he would not yield much of a return at the moment. Same for Buch. He’s not going anywhere at the moment because I doubt teams would give us a fair return.

    3) I understand the desire to trade Stepan because of the impending NMC. And I think if he’s not dealt prior to the deadline, there’s a good chance he gets dealt the summer before it kicks in. But those who think we won’t be significantly weakened by his departure are underestimating what he brings to the table. The return would have to be huge to deal him IMO.

    4) The biggest return on a trade comes from dealing from strength and dealing one of your most talented and cost controlled players. I would absolutely consider dealing Kreider, Hayes or Miller, but only in a blockbuster deal where my trade partner is prepared to dramatically overpay to get one of them. All three have been slow to develop, but they have really come on and as such, the price to acquire them has now gone up dramatically since the summer. Again, I’m not saying we should deal them. Not at all. But you have to give to get. So the question is, what would we get?

    (As an aside, responding to Walt and Paul from a few days ago saying I was “wrong” about Kreider, sorry guys. Not so. I never said Kreider would NOT emerge. Quite the contrary. I said that Kreider was critical to the Rangers success, and that as Kreider goes, so goes the Rangers. What I was saying with Kreider (as well as Miller and Hayes) is that other than brief stretches, they had underachieved expectations prior to this season. And at a certain point, exploring a trade might be worth considering. No question, all three seem to have figured it out, in Kreider’s case at long last. Now, let’s see them keep it going and hopefully not disappear again! It’s essential if we are to have any chance this Spring to make some noise)

    5) Veterans to deal like Grabner, Zuc, Nash? To me, there is no chance Nash gets traded prior to the deadline. Rangers get substantially weaker if we lose him and given what he makes, I doubt we can get a comparable return. Over the summer? Maybe.

    Zuc? My hunch is he won’t be dealt. Not now.

    Grabner? It’s not crazy to consider trading him while his value is high. But he’s thriving in AV’s system. Would a trading partner perceive that he’d be a fit on their squad?

    My hunch is that if a BIG trade is to be made to acquire a stud defenseman,, it will involve Hayes, Kreider or Miller. But more likely, a lesser trade will happen that will marginally improve the defense, and the real work on fixing the defense will happen over the summer.

    • I be ok with Wideman, if the Flames took Klein in return. Trades in the summer are rare, I wouldn’t hold my breathe with that one. Trading Hayes, Kreider or JT would be as short sighted as when the Rangers moved Tony Amonte and Doug Weight, the Rangers wouldn’t be able to protect that 4th. dman in the expansion draft.

      Rick Nash is in decline, he is the player the Rangers should dangle. Move him and the Rangers can protect Grabner, who is still in his prime.

      • Nash has exceeded last year’s goal totals in as many games, plays a 200ft game and can still skate; has a tough to swallow contract.

        If you’re looking to get 3 quarters for a dollar, Nash is your guy.

        If you are trying to get 3 quarters/Dollar for a dime investment, Fast is the trade bait. Would love to see his P/P60 in relation to his QoT, he’s probably one of the few where those with enough minutes to tease that out. You could plug in Boo and have an upgrade in size, a wash in speed & offense & defense(dirty little secret: Fast makes bad D reads often.)

        • You are preaching to the converted with your comments about Jesper. He is offensively challenged and overrated defensively.

          There are many 2 way 20 goal scorers out there that come with a much smaller price tag then Rich Nash. He is having a better year then last, which inflates his trade value. He is an icon up here in the frozen north, but the Rangers need to look to the future.

  • Byfuglien is the guy to get. WPG needs to lose his salary, “leadership” & minutes, works as an expansion rental. With banked cap credits, can fit him under the cap easy for this season.

    It doesn’t fix the long term RD issues, but that’s not the issue for now.

    • Im a huge fan of Byfuglien, however its highly doubtful Jets would want to move a guy, they just reupped last summer. His contract is bad, as big of a fan him I am, I would pass.

      Also, your expansion rental theory is wrong because he carries a NMC and is on the protected list. If Staal or Girardi were not involved in the trade they would either have to leave Mac unprotected or go 8 skaters instead of 7O/3D.

      • You are correct but If he would move to NYR his NMC would be invalid.

        The question for him is does he want to sit on a loser or does he actually chase another cup.

        • Thats what I thought, but Rick Nash still has his. I believe that is specified at the trade. However, he must like what Winnipeg is offering as he did resign there just last summer.


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