Wade Redden is a highly respected defenceman throughout the NHL and is being paid $6.5 million dollars a year - the going rate for a top line defenceman. Throughout his career he has been very dependable and has always been known for his quick outlet passes to spring the Senator forwards on odd man rushes.
He is admired for his community service committments and will give his time and money to charities. His teammates like him and he is looked up to in the dressing room.
What could possibly be wrong with Wade Redden?
His play this season has been subpar at best. Most nights he looks like a passenger on the ice, refusing to really get active in the play. He shows no desire to put forth a physical effort and his giveaways are getting to be repetitive.
Career forth line players and rookies (not to mention the Alexander Ovechkins, Sidney Crosby's et. al) seem to continuously get a step on him and seem to breeze by on the outside.
What has happened to turn what should be an all star calibre player entering the prime of his career into a cream puff?
Theories on this could be numerous:
The unfortunate passing of his Mother in 2006 is something that would definitley be hard to get over.
The fact that the Senators tried to trade him before the season began would definitley be on his mind. Who wants to play hard for someones who no longer wants them?
The Senators appear to have not enough salary room to sign him for a high salary at the end of the season so this may be his swan song season in Ottawa.
The fans of Ottawa have always been on Wade for one reason or another - most the time unjustified.
The problem with these theories are that they really shouldn't affect him.
While I understand that the passing of a beloved parent can be devastating personally - shouldn't the ice be where you would be able to momentarily forget personal issues when you're so involved?
Being traded or rumoured to be traded can certainly affect a player but knowing that you're entering a contract season be motivating to you to put up a career season to get as much money as possible come contract time? With the crazy term deals being signed everywhere he could command big money on the open market setting him up for life!
Being derided by the fans is just a fact of life for an athlete. The good ones rise above and perform at an even higher level when they're being challenged.
This truely is a riddle that the Senators must solve in order for them to go far in the play-offs. I don't think they'll be able to trade him - not only is his not-trade clause a hinderance but he is a free agent at the end of the season.
In spite of this it appears that Wade needs a change of scenery to rejuvenate his play. This will probably only happen at the end of the season which may be too late for the Ottawa Senators...