With the trade deadline quickly approaching, we will be profiling several players in the weeks ahead that are likely to be dealt by March 1st.
Calgary Flames defenseman—and pending unrestricted free agent—Dennis Wideman puts the team in a difficult situation. With the Flames hanging on to the final wildcard playoff spot, the team needs to decide whether to keep Wideman for a playoff run and potentially lose him for nothing in the offseason, or trade him and potentially miss the playoffs. It is a situation fringe teams are all too familiar with, and one that wreaks havoc with any trade deadline predictions.
Final year of a five-year, $5.25MM a year contract with a No-Movement Clause. Will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
48 GP, 3G, 13A, -1, 30 PIM, 20:08 ATOI, 59 BLK, 51.5 CF%
Wideman mans the second-pairing defensive unit for the Flames and provides much-needed defensive help for the playoff bubble team. After last season ended with a suspension for cross-checking an official, Wideman was probably chomping at the bit to hit the ice and start a new season. He’s played on the second power-play unit this season but is unable to consistently find the net. He has 2 G and 3 A on the powerplay so far.
Playoff-bound teams with some cap room. Wideman is an attractive rental asset for any team looking to make a deep postseason run this season. And because Wideman’s contract comes off the books this summer, he won’t restrain any team’s long-term cap situation.
The problem lies with Wideman’s No-Movement Clause. The Flames hope Wideman would waive his NMC to go to any playoff team, but it’s possible that the defenseman chooses to stay close to home. In that case, the Edmonton Oilers appear to be likely suitors. Kris Russell has disappointed this year, and Wideman could step into his place and help Edmonton in the organization’s first playoff appearance 2005–06’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals—coincidentally led by the then newly added defenseman Chris Pronger.
Does Calgary trade Wideman to its most-hated rival and risk seeing Edmonton achieve playoff success? It’s a question team officials must weigh as the deadline approaches.
Likelihood Of A Trade
Any trade depends on whether the Flames decide to sell. Right now they are hanging on to the last Western Conference wild card spot, but anything can happen from now until the trade deadline. As stated above, this puts the Flames brass in a difficult situation. No team wants to lose assets for nothing, but teams also have to consider how selling off assets affects current performance and image. The Flames’ record over the next few weeks will determine whether Wideman is traded.