Before the free agent market could even begin, the Calgary Flames made a move, acquiring and signing a puck-moving defenceman.
Numbers Game looks at the Flames' addition of Dennis Wideman.
The Flames Get: D Dennis Wideman.
Wideman, 29, has been a very productive puck-moving defenceman. Over the last five years, he ranks 10th among NHL defencemen with 53 goals and 15th with 201 points and in four of those five seasons, Wideman registered at least 20 points on the power play.
Factor in that Wideman ranks sixth among all NHL defencemen in ice time over that period, 24:15 per game while missing an average of 3.4 games per season, and it shouldn't come as any surprise that Wideman was both sought-after as a free agent and well-compensated once he signed with the Flames.
Upon acquiring Wideman's rights, the Flames signed him to a five-year, $26.25-million contract, which sounds like a lot but, given Wideman's credentials, the lack of depth on the free agent market and that he was just paid $4.5-million for the 2011-2012 season, there isn't really anything surprising about his new financial stratosphere.
In Calgary, Wideman will continue to log big minutes. Barring a future deal, Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano and Chris Butler are the returning big-minute blueliners on the Flames, and each of them shoots left, while Wideman shoots right-handed, so his place on the power play should be most secure.
The Capitals Get: Jordan Henry and a fifth-round draft pick.
26-year-old Jordan Henry, who has yet to play an NHL game, is effectively filler. He will be an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, has yet to play an NHL game in his career and registered 11 points, a minus-4 rating and 97 penalty minutes in 68 AHL games last season. His inclusion also gives the Flames a little more leeway when it comes to their 50-man reserve list, should there be any multi-player wheeling and dealing that needs to be done.
The fifth-round draft pick doesn't yield a great deal of value -- approximately a 12% chance that the player plays 100 NHL games -- but considering that the Capitals were going to lose Wideman for nothing as an unrestricted free agent, it's nice to get another pick to throw in the hopper.
In Wideman's absence, the Capitals have to hope that Mike Green can stay healthy, as he's missed 83 games over the last two seasons; he would effectively resume his role as the primary right-handed puck-moving defenceman on the Washington blueline. Otherwise, a young defenceman like Dmitry Orlov could see an expanded role, which might have been coming anyway.
Given their depth and youth on defence, it's not the least bit surprising that the Capitals weren't in the position to compete with such an offer for Wideman's services. That doesn't mean Wideman was worth less than what he received, however. Sometimes, the fit just isn't right and, in Wideman's case, he makes more sense for a stubborn Flames team that is forging ahead rather than a Capitals defence that is built around a younger core.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.