Purging of the Old Panthers: Dennis Wideman

Dale Tallon has completed an unprecedented string of player acquisitions this off-season, bringing in seven free agents for the NHL roster and trading for three more. Some additional prospect and minor-league signings brings the potential for over half of this season's Panthers roster to be composed of players new to the team. To accomplish this, Tallon first needed to engage in a sometimes painful process of breaking down the Panthersroster he inherited from former General Managers Randy Sexton and Jacques Martin. This series will look at the players the Panthers let go between Tallon's hire and the end of the 2010-2011 season.

This week we look at another short time Panther, Dennis Wideman. Wideman came to the Panthers as part of the trade that sent Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell to the Panthers. Wideman is a usually solid offensive defenseman who usually scores about 10 goals and 30 points a season, about a third on the power play. He's got a good point shot and is good positionally, but had a bad season two years ago that had Bruins fans calling for his head. 

After that less than stellar season, he had a decent one for the Panthers. While the mistakes that plagued him that final season in Boston were still present, he also was about the only bright spot on the Panthers' miserable power play. Eight of his nine goals were on the power play, tying David Booth for the team lead. Mike Santorelli had five and no one else had more than 3. Those nine goals made him fifth in goal scoring for the Panthers, with only Booth, Stephen Weiss, Santorelli and Marty Reasoner ahead of him. Fellow defenseman Dimitry Kulikov was second among defensemen with six. His 33 points in 61 games put him in fourth on the team, ahead of Marty Reasoner, who played all 82 games.

Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Hits BkS PPG PPA SHG SHA GW SOG Pct
 2005-06 STL 67 8 16 24 -31 83 N/A N/A 5 9 1 0 1 150 .053
 2006-07 STL 55 5 17 22 -7 44 N/A N/A 4 11 0 0 1 94 .053
 2006-07 BOS 20 1 2 3 -3 27 N/A N/A 0 0 0 0 0 28 .036
 2007-08 BOS 81 13 23 36 11 70 N/A N/A 9 11 0 0 1 171 .076
 2008-09 BOS 79 13 37 50 32 34 N/A N/A 6 19 1 0 2 169 .077
 2009-10 BOS 76 6 24 30 -14 34 100 110 2 11 0 2 2 146 .041
 2010-11 WAS 14 1 6 7 7 6 20 26 1 2 0 0 0 25 .040
 2010-11 FLA 61 9 24 33 -26 33 75 100 8 11 0 0 1 135 .067
 Career   453 56 149 205 -31 331 195 236 35 74 2 2 8 918 .061

Wideman was traded, along with most of the remainder of the Panthers' veterans, right before the trade deadline, for minor league defenseman Jake Hauswirth and a third round pick that the Panthers used to select Jonathan Racine. He joined a Capitals team that already had a number of injured defensemen including Tom Poti and Mike Green, who both missed considerable time. He played 14 games for the Capitals before being injured and missing the entire playoffs.

Unlike most of the rest of the defensemen that the Panthers traded last season, Wideman still has another year on his contract. He is fully healed and expected to start the season with the Capitals.

This is one that could come back to bite the Panthers. The Panthers brought in Ed Jovanovski as his replacement. Jovo hasn't played a full season in two years. If he stays healthy and has a good season, he could adequately replace Wideman's numbers on the power play. It's also possible that Kulikov and Mike Weaver could make up those numbers between them, but those are all ifs. Another if is that if Wideman has a good season, that could hurt the Cats as they're in the same division as the Capitals and have to play them, Wideman and former goalie Tomas Vokoun six times.

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