In the second trade of the day the Florida Panthers move veteran defenseman Dennis Wideman to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 3rd round pick and prospect Jake Hauswirth.
Wideman, in his first season with the Panthers, came over from the Boston Bruins in the offseason Nathan Horton deal and led the blue line in goals and points while tying with Stephen Weiss for the team-lead in assists. In other words, he brings an offensively gifted, right-handed puck-moving defenseman to the Capitals as they try to regain their scoring touch of a year ago.
Does this deal mean Mike Green will miss significant playing time?
It may. The Capitals have been somewhat quiet regarding the status of their number one defenseman, only saying that he traveled to Calgary in order to mourn his grandmother.
Green sustained yet another shot to the head, this time coming from rookie Derek Stepan, in addition to getting hit in the ear with a puck earlier in the month. According to Bruce Boudreau, the team is currently holding him out of the lineup as a precautionary measure. With the team somewhat comfortably in the playoff race, they would prefer a healthy Green in the postseason rather than the regular season.
If Green does not miss significant playing time, this may be an excellent additional move for the team’s depth.
With Green, John Carlson and Wideman all on the right side, the Capitals now have three powerful right handed defenders. Considering Carlson has been relied on to provide primary scoring in his rookie year, it should relieve some pressure off of him.
Something most people forget while looking at the Caps is simply how young they are. Adding a 27-year-old in Wideman somewhat helps that situation.
On the other hand, the Panthers decrease payroll with yet another move and get another pick in this year’s draft. By moving Wideman the team not only saves $3.875 million in cap space but they also forgo paying him $4.5 million in real dollars.
Considering the majority of their deals have been made to cut costs, this move becomes yet another hockey trade in February.
In summary… (line changes)
Capitals: With Green out of the lineup, Wideman takes the spot of Tyler Sloan on the blue line. When Green comes back, Scott Hannan probably moves down to the third pairing with Wideman.
Panthers: Hauswirth probably reports to Rochester, giving their depleted lineup a boost. No immediate impact on the NHL roster.
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