Faithful readers will know that there is no love lost between myself and Wideman. I coined the term “Widemanesque” after game 5 of the WSH-NYR series, meaning “awful” or “disappointing” or “the worst ever.” I nicknamed him Dennis “NHL All-Star?” Wideman and Dennis “Useless Paperweight” Wideman. I was not convinced that he was an All-Star and totally let down by him during the playoffs.
And yet he was. Dennis Wideman was the only Capital to make it to the All-Star Game. He was 4th on the team in scoring (11-35-46). He led the team in ice time, averaging 23:54 in the regular season. On paper, he was perfectly satisfactory.
I think it’s most accurate to see him as disappointing. We paid him $4 million and expected him to take some of the pressure off Mike Green (as a dynamic defenseman capable of scoring) and be the final piece of a Stanley Cup-caliber team. He failed to do this, and worse, he didn’t seem to be disciplined for his mistakes.
Maybe it’s shallow to assume it was merely some form of hockey nepotism — Dennis Wideman and John Carlson (21:51) had the most and second most TOI/G on the team. They finished -8 and -15. Mike Green and Karl Alzner both had less ice time and a +/- of +5 and +12, respectively. But when Alex Ovechkin’s dwindling ice time is held up as an indication of the hardline stance Hunter was taking, it seems suspicious that two underperformers are not penalized… and are both former London Knights.
Because he was supposed to be better than this, it was all the worse when he was out of position, or made sloppy turnovers, or indirectly caused a goal against. I could’ve handled that sort of behavior from Jeff Schultz (not been pleased about it, mind you, but my expectations for Jeff Schultz are relatively low). I expected competent defense with a soupcon of scoring — the above-average scoring did not excuse the sometimes trainwreck defense. He was pretty good when he was good. He was a genuine liability when he wasn’t.
By trading Wideman rather than letting him walk as a UFA, we received a 5th-round pick in the 2013 draft and defenseman Jordan Henry from the Flames. They promptly signed him to a 5-year, $26.25 million deal with a full no movement clause. The best word I have to describe that deal? Widemanesque.