Last season, Dennis Wideman was arguably one of the top ten most productive defensemen in the NHL. The 4th year defensemen was tied with Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara for 5th on the team in points. He tied his career high with 13 goals and set new career highs with 37 assists, 50 points and a +32 +/-. He was a top three defenseman for the team and played his tail off in every aspect of the game. However, 2009/2010 has been a much different story for Mr. Wideman. He has been one of the least productive players on the team, appears to make a defensive lapse at least once a game and it is fair to say that his effort has been lacking.
After CSN's Joe Haggerty reported that Dennis Wideman was rumored to be on the trading block, coach Claude Julien made remarks that would make one think Haggs was spot on. Julien said "He's got to bring his intensity level up and he's got to have a better compete level. That's what makes him a great player. He should easily be a top-two, at worst, a top-three defenseman for us, and he's not close to that right now. We know it. He knows it. He's got to pick up his game."
The problem with trading Dennis Wideman is going to be his $4 million contract. Not only is it tough to trade a player at that type of salary for anything considerable, it is tough to trade a player who has been playing as poorly as Wideman. He has 3 goals, 11 assists and 14 points on the season. He is on pace for 5 goals, 19 assists and 24 points. This would be his lowest point total since his rookie year in 2005/2006.
It isn't realistic that Wideman would be part of a deal that would bring in talent or draft picks by himself. He would need to be packaged as salary filler in a deal with other more talented players and draft picks to get anything significant in return. A possible deal that was mentioned by Haggerty, who originally reported the rumor, is Wideman along with Blake Wheeler and Toronto's 1st round pick for a rental of Ilya Kovalchuk. This move would certainly make the Boston Bruins a much better team in the immediate future. However, the team would likely have to make a supplemental move to fill in Wideman's absence on the defensive end. The emergence of highly touted prospect Johnny Boychuk makes this much easier.
Regardless of what the deal is that ships Wideman out of town, it has to be done. The team needs to make some changes on the defense, as Wideman is just not getting the job done. When you watch the Bruins make a defense gaffe, Wideman is usually at the center of it. He has been skating poorly, making bad decisions with the puck and his stick work has been disgraceful at best. Last season, he was a threat on the power play. Does he even see time on the power play any more? If he does, he shouldn't. Trade Wideman in a package for a scorer to play on Marc Savard's wing and the Bruins give themselves a better chance to win the Stanley Cup.
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