TVA’s Renaud Lavoie has reported that the Montreal Canadiens inked defenseman Chris Wideman to a one-year deal. It’s a league-minimum contract at a $750,000 cap hit. Wideman returns to the NHL after a season abroad in the KHL.
Wideman is one of the lucky few who left the NHL hoping that his accomplishments in Europe would earn him a second look back home, only for it to work out exactly that way. After two solid seasons with the Ottawa Senators to begin his pro career, Wideman had lost his footing in the NHL, bouncing around to several clubs – including the AHL – without much success. He turned to Russia this past season, signing on with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod for one year, and made the most of it. Wideman recorded 41 points in 59 games, leading the entire KHL in defensive scoring. The Canadiens, and surely others, took notice and now Wideman is back in North America.
While Wideman will likely still have to battle for starts, if not a roster spot, his scoring prowess last season showed that he is capable of making a difference. The 31-year-old brings experience to the table as well with 181 NHL games and 280 AHL games. This should position him to be one of the top options to replace any Habs defenders in case of injury or slump.