In a move that surprised no one, and was completed with the approval of many hockey fans in Washington D.C., the Capitals announced today that they have traded the rights to their lone All-Star from the 2011-12 season. Caps GM George McPhee announced today that defenseman Dennis Wideman, was traded to the Calgary Flames for a fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft and AHL defenseman Jordan Henry.
Wideman, who has compiled 251 points (67 goals, 184 assists) in 535 career NHL games with four NHL teams, was acquired by the Capitals from the Florida Panthers at the 2011 trade deadline for Jake Hauswirth and Washington's third round choice (Jonathan Racine) in 2011 Entry Draft.
Once in Washington, Wideman played in just 14 games before suffering a significant leg hematoma ( severe form of bruising) when he was leveled by Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Wideman’s injury was more severe than originally thought and at one point considered career threatening. On the play, Ruutu’s knee made direct contact with his right thigh, but he didn’t anticipate that he would spend the next 12 days in the hospital. Some of that time was spent in intensive care, as Wideman underwent six surgeries during his stay.
He obviously never returned to finish the season, as the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Capitals out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Acquired for his play on the blue line during the power play, Wideman finished the season with one goal, which came with the extra man, and six assists.
Stunningly, not only did Wideman return this past season on time, but also he was one of six Washington skaters to play in all 82 games. The 29-year old eight-year veteran of the NHL led the team in average ice time per game (23:54), and was the Capitals lone All-Star representative after Alex Ovechkin declined the NHL’s invitation as a self-protest of the suspension the league leveled against the Great 8 just prior to All-Star festivities. The game was Wideman’s first All-Star appearance in the NHL.
Wideman led the team in assists this past season with 34, and led all Caps defenseman with 11-goals, four coming with the man advantage. His 45-points was fourth best ion the team and just 20 less than Ovechkin, who had the worst offensive season of his career.
Wideman seemed to fall out of favor with many Caps fans during the post season. He and blue line mate Jeff Schultz were atrocious defensively for Washington during the playoffs, and through the first five games of the Boston series, were the only two defenseman on the ice for every Boston goal in the series to that point.
Wideman finished the post season with just three assists and was a minus-7 in 14 games for Washington.
Wideman was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July-1, so to get anything for him at this point is a win for Caps General Manager George McPhee. Washington was not going to meet his contract demands with Mike Green becoming a restricted free agent, and the youth the Caps boast at the blue line.
The Capitals have the talent to make up for the lost points on the blue line with Green and 22-year-old defenseman John Carlson. The Capitals will be better served spending the $26.25 million, that Calgary GM Jay Feaster gave Wideman for five years immediately after acquiring the Kitchener, Ontario native.
The Capitals made the announcement just as they were introducing their 16th head coach in franchise history, Adam Oates.
Jordan Henry (pictured below right) is a career minor league player, who spent last season with the Abbotsford Heat and Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. In 78 combined games last season, Henry had two goals and nine points. The 26-year old native of High River, Alberta, Canada has now been traded twice in less than twelve months.
Last July 11, according to the Hockey database online, the Chicago Wolves acquired Henry for Keith Seabrook.
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