“We want the cup” rained down on the Madison Square Garden ice for the final ten minutes of game seven of the Eastern Conference semi finals.
Roman Hamrlik would steal Henrik Lundqvist’s shut out, but while eager fans were hanging on the edge of their section trying not to fall from anticipation, Dennis Wideman was parked on the bench.
Playing a season-low 15:16 the normally solid defenseman could only watch the inevitable happen right before his eyes. Wideman was in the doghouse after a series of irrelevance.
The series was just a second chapter of his brutal playoffs posting a mere three points in fourteen games. In a matter of two weeks, Wideman went from one of Washington’s top five players in ice time to the bottom half in game seven.
At six-feet 200-pounds, he brings an athletic body and some experience to a Flames defense that despite having a lot of size, was just as irrelevant as Wideman’s ice time last year.
Calgary’s defense is loaded with guys who would rather take a double minor than say their plus/minus when asked (leading scorer Jay Bouwmeester has a -21 rating). Wideman should fit right in with a -8 rating, but his offensive presence might be able to spark a dull team.
The Kitchner born skater can pass, much better than he can shoot and about as good as he can play defense. Even in the playoffs Wideman passed, his only three points came off of assists. He had 35 assists during the regular season, which is more total points than any of the Flames’ defenders had last year.
Calgary was a team that defensively stayed at home, yet was tied for 20th in shots against per game with 30 and tied for 13th in goals allowed per game (much thanks to Kipper).
Wideman’s 132 blocked shots are also more than any other Flame had last season. The tallies are a little bit closer than points, but still in the former Capital’s favor.
Was $5.25-million a year for five years overpaying? Absolutely. But Wideman will bring some offensive stability to a defense that is passive at best and the Flames gave up a fifth round draft pick and Jordan Henry, a player who will never play in the NHL.
By no means does this make the Flames a contender. It makes them a little bit better and maybe in two years we will look back at this move being another piece in the puzzle to fixing a broken franchise. But I doubt it.