The Ottawa Senators had been conducting an experiment with Chris Wideman, playing the defenseman on the wing over the last few games. That will come to a definite halt now, as head coach Guy Boucher revealed that Wideman will be out “weeks” with a torn hamstring. It’s unclear where he’ll fit into the lineup when he gets back.
Wideman, 27, is an interesting case study in traditional versus analytical evaluation. While generating exceptional possession statistics last season, he still received just under 14 minutes a night in ice time and was generally sheltered against the tough matchups. Again this year he generates solid shot metrics from the back end, but was pushed out by more traditional “defense-types” like Mark Borowiecki and Fredrik Claesson. The Senators have a rigid defensive system under Boucher, and even though some latitude is given to Erik Karlsson, Wideman was not granted the same freedom.
The Senators have kept around Nick Paul for the time being, who is likely the first option to jump onto the fourth line in Wideman’s absence. Paul has just one game under his belt with the Senators this season, but gives them a big body to put into the lineup and provide much more physicality. Whether he stays there will depend on his and the team’s performance.