It’s been a busy week for general manager Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers organization as they have spent the last six days making significant changes, not only to their active roster but to their coaching staff as well.
It all started on Friday morning when the New York Rangers announced that they had acquired 25-year-old forward Ryan Strome from the Alberta province capital while sending veteran centreman Ryan Spooner the other way as the exchange piece of the deal.
After three days of silence on the media front and conversations in the front office, things picked up again on Tuesday morning with the firing of Todd McLellan who was immediately replaced with Edmonton native Ken Hitchcock in his replacement.
Now, once again just a matter of days later, the Oilers were active once again, this time with the Ottawa Senators as they acquired defensemen Chris Wideman in exchange for a sixth-round selection, according to a club announcement.
While the selection is conditional and for usage in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, it’s also worth noting the fact of which the pick was previously acquired by the Oilers from the St. Louis Blues in the trade for defensemen Jakob Jerabek that took place back on October 1st.
With the addition of Chris Wideman to the roster, not only will it add a right-handed defensemen to their team, but it will also address an off-side situation that mainly circles around Kris Russell.
At this time, Wideman, 28, is on a one-year contract worth a total base salary of $1 million for the season after having come to terms with Ottawa this past June to make it official.
Taking a look now at Wideman’s statistics to coincide with his performance thus far in, the St. Louis, Missouri native has registered a total of five points to go alongside 2 goals and three assists in 19 games played. He also adds 12 penalty minutes to his resume for the season.
In looking back at his 2017-18 performance that earned him another year in the nation’s capital that is Ottawa, Wideman managed to string together a not so telling regular season where he recorded just 3 goals and 5 assists, making for 8 points in 16 games while he also added six penalty minutes to his resume as well as 24 shots on goal.
As for his NHL career as whole through a combined three seasons played, the former fourth round draft pick (100th overall) back in 2009 has put together 16 goals and 27 assists to go alongside 43 points registered in 175 games played. He also adds 8 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of plus-7 to his resume.
May it also be mentioned that Wideman ranked seventh in average ice time among Ottawa blue-liners in 2018-19 which he ultimately lost to Thomas Chabot and Maxime Lajoie amongst others. The list also consists of Dylan DeMelo and Ben Harpur, making for all younger players on the Senators back end.
Wideman at this time is listed as a pending unrestricted free agent who is set to hit the market at the conclusion of the season.
As noted by The Canadian Press, Wideman happens to be one of the Senators players shown insulting the team and assistant coach during an Uber ride in a video that went viral earlier this month.
Taking a brief look at the time in which Wideman spent playing in Binghamton, he suited up in a total of 208 AHL games played where he compiled 30 goals and 100 assists while also earning the Eddie Shore award as the AHL’s best defensemen back during the 2014-2015 regular season.
With the addition of Chris Wideman to Ken Hitchcock’s active roster, he brings depth in several categories as he both adds another man to the blue line while also providing the defence with extra depth.
In a statement from Wideman with regards to being dealt, he said over the phone in an interview on Thursday night, “I’m very excited about the opportunity of playing in Edmonton, and getting a chance to play with some of the guys that are in that lineup. And for a coach who has won a Stanley Cup and been successful in this league for a ton of years. It’s a great opportunity for me personally.”
When asked if he would welcome the fresh start he’s being given, Wideman said, “For sure. No hard feeling towards anybody or anything that’s happened in Ottawa. It’s a mutual parting of ways. In the direction they’re going in, this is what they felt was best for them.”
Wideman missed most of last season with a tear in his hamstring. It pulled right off the bone and he had to prove this season that it was going to be OK, which he has since done. In speaking about injury and the outlook that has on him and ice time now, Wideman said, “Fully recovered. Now, I’m just ready for the opportunity and to take advantage of it.”
At this time, the Senators currently sit in seventh place in the Atlantic Division, just two points out of last place ahead of only the Florida Panthers. The Oilers on the other hand, while in the midst of re-bolstering, currently sit in fifth place in the Pacific Division, just one point behind the Vancouver Canucks who currently sit atop them with 23 points in fourth place in the division.
In further looking at Edmonton’s statistical performance as of late, it is also worth noting the fact of which the Oilers are only one point ahead of the seventh-place Arizona Coyotes for second-to-last place in the Division, perhaps just another reason for the all the changes that continue to make their marks on the organization.
As noted by PuckMedia, this transaction now puts the Oilers at 24 players on the roster which means that eventually the trade will result in either an AHL assignment or if not, an IR placement.
Taking a further look now at what this trade could mean for Edmonton, it is worth noting that the conditions of the sixth-round draft pick acquired from St. Louis state that if Jakub Jerabek makes it to playing in a total of 50 games played this season, the draft pick for the Oilers will then become a fifth-round selection.
While the Senators have seen their fare share of troubles both on and off the ice, both Ottawa as well as the Oilers have gotten off to similarly rough starts all around, therefore perhaps encouraging the latest round of changes that have now been put away and are officially in the books.
Chris Wideman is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season and will then become eligible to negotiate with other teams effective as of July 1st, 2019.
The Senators are back in action on Friday night against the Dallas Stars who will play host to Guy Boucher’s club at American Airlines Center with puck drop scheduled to fall at 8:00pmET. As for the Oilers, they are back in action on Friday evening at the Honda Center in Anaheim when they take on the Ducks at 4pmET.
Ottawa’s game can be seen regionally on TSN5 while it can also be heard on TSN Radio 1200 Ottawa while the Oilers game can be seen regionally on Sportsnet West while it can also be heard on CHED 630 AM. Ken Hitchcock looks to put himself in Edmonton’s win column for the second time while the Senators look to get back in the win column after having lost two of their last four games.