Flames get ahead of the 8-Ball

Today the Flames announced the trade and signing of defenseman Dennis Wideman. Wideman was acquired from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 5th round draft pick and defenseman Jordan Henry. The Flames then signed Wideman to a five year deal worth 26.25 million dollars.

It was a busy day for the Flames as they also announced the re-signing of forward Blake Comeau to a 1 year deal worth 1.25 million dollars. Comeau, who didn’t receive a qualifying offer earlier this week from the club, was confident along with Jay Feaster that a deal would still get done.

Starting with Wideman, who will be joining his fifth NHL team, was an all-star last season with the Washington Capitals, putting up 11 goals and 46 points while appearing in all 82 games. Of those 46 points, 30 of them came in the first half which resulted in his first all-star selection. Point production has never been an issue with Wideman, playing in his own zone is a concern though. Wideman was a minus 8 last season and a team worst minus 7 during the Caps playoff run.

There is no question the Flames were in need of a quality point-producing, power play quarterback on the back end but opinions have varied on Twitter and other media outlets on whether Wideman was the right decision for the price they paid.

Personally I haven’t seen Wideman play enough to make a quality opinion on him or the signing. My initial thought is that the Flames did indeed overpay for Wideman but that’s the game when it comes to free agent frenzy.  I do think the Flames needed offensive help on the back-end so they have addressed that but with Wideman a defensive liability, putting him with someone defensively responsible (say Giordano) will be important.

Two things do concern me with Wideman’s deal.

The first one is with him and Bouwmeester the Flames now have 12+ million locked up between two players on the backend. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bouwmeester is moved sooner than later, with the St. Louis Blues reportedly showing interest.

The second is the deal includes a no movement and a no trade clause, giving the Flames a whopping ten players with the clauses in their contracts.

Moving on to Comeau, the term and money doesn’t concern me as there is little risk but I never liked Comeau after he came to the Flames last season. To me, his goal scoring potential isn’t much potential and if he isn’t going to score goals, I find him to be pretty useless.

I like the idea of Wideman and Giordano playing together but there is still a lot of work to be done this summer.

Are the Flames any closer to making the playoffs than yesterday? In my opinion no, but it’s only June 27th.


Trenton Latos's picture

Good article Nick. Good analysis on Wideman, I definitely think he is overpaid, but that is the going rate for point producing guys. Looking at his last 5 years he has been slightly under water at evens -0.08/60mins while facing second line competition and starting equally in the offensive and defensive zone. He lights up the PP though where he has scored 51% of his career points.

Do you really think they need to trade Bouwmeester? Might be nice to get his big contract off the books but with 7 d-men signed for $21.2mm cap hit out of $70.3mm that is about in line. The team also has a decent top 6 signed with Iggy, Tanguay, Cammalleri, Cervenka, Glencross and Baertschi looking to play full time. Looking at capgeek shows about $12mm in cap space to sign 3 bottom six forwards or upgrade guys.

I like the Comeau signing. Like you mention there is no risk on this guy contract wise, but i'd argue he has scoring potential but was just snakebit last year. Compare his career SH% of 10.2% to last years 3.65% (4.27% with Flames). I'd expect a bounceback closer to his career average. He has started in the defensive end a lot in his career with an average Offensive zone start of only 46.8% but seems to be getting killed back there being outshot 27.8 to 29.8/60 mins and sporting a low On-Ice SV% of .906 vs. league average .917. At least he hits....a lot.

NickSymon's picture

I don't think they should trade Bouwmeester, I just think they will. The money concern is more about having two overpaid guys at that price tag. Bouwmeester is very valuable to the Flames, don't get me wrong.
For Comeau, it's just pure opinion about the guy, I'm not huge into advanced stats but I just think a younger guy could do just as good of job while bringing in some youth excitement into the dressing room.

Trenton Latos's picture

I agree too many overpriced guys gets you in trouble very quick.

Fair enough on the Comeau point, the Flames definitely need to get some youth in the lineup before long.

Derrick Newman's picture

i think they overpaid for this guy, and think it lines up for Bouw to be traded, but I could be wrong. It is clear that Hartley and Feaster want an offensively minded team, which is exciting but it worries me think how many shots Kipper will face night in and night out.
Wideman is a defensive liability. Not to the level of a Sandis Ozolinsh, but still not great. With Gio, Wideman, Brodie, Sith, and Brodie, our defense becomes very active.
Feaster is far from done, which should make this an interesting weekend.