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Numbers Game: Panthers keep selling; Wideman to Caps

Scott Cullen
2/28/2011 12:44:35 PM
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Florida continued their roster purge, dealing a proven power play defenceman to Washington.

Numbers Game examines the deal for Dennis Wideman.

The Capitals Get: D Dennis Wideman.

Wideman, 27, is a solid puck-moving defenceman who ranked second on the Panthers with 33 points, leading the team with 23:58 of ice time per game this season (the fourth straight season that he's played at least 23:30 per game).

The downside, however, is that Wideman has a minus-26 rating, second-worst in the league, so while he can move the puck, he can be a risky proposition in his own end.

A right-shooting defenceman, Wideman can run the power play effectively; 19 of his 33 points this season have come with the man advantage, and he's tallied between 13 and 25 power play points in every year of his six-year NHL career.

His presence will provide some insurance for the power play quarterback role, particularly considering D Mike Green has been injured recently.

Signed through next season, at a cap hit of $3,937,500 (per www.capgeek.com) Wideman will improve the Capitals' ability to move the puck from the back end and his game will probably be better suited to playing in a supporting role with the Capitals rather than the minute-eating No. 1 workhorse gig he was filling with Florida.

The Panthers Get: LW Jake Hauswirth and a third-round pick.

Hauswirth is a non-factor as a prospect, a 23-year-old who has 14 points and eight penalty minutes in 37 games in the ECHL, so the return for Wideman is really just the third-round pick.

Considering Wideman is under contract for another season, the Capitals are effectively getting Wideman for free in terms of assets because, if it doesn't work out, he could surely be moved for a third-round pick again before next year's deadline.

The Panthers save some money and continue their rebuilding program by shedding veterans. With Bryan McCabe and now Wideman -- Florida's top two power play point men -- getting traded over the last couple of days, there is a changing of the guard on the Panthers blueline.

Dmitry Kulikov will certainly become the primary offensive defenceman for the rest of the season, and potentially for years to come, but newly-acquired Alexander Sulzer and Jason Garrison may also be in line for additional power play time.

20-year-old Kulikov has been emerging in his second season, scoring 10 points in his last 18 games as he's starting to face a heavier workload, playing more than 20 minutes per game in five of the last seven games.

Since the Panthers have the league's 29th-ranked power play, at 13.7%, going with younger and inexperienced options could make it even more difficult for the Panthers to light the lamp, which figures to affect Stephen Weiss and David Booth's production, if they're still in Florida at day's end.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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