The wings of change have been blowing through Washington ever since Saturday’s season-ending loss.
First, head coach Dale Hunter stepped down from his post. Then, forward Alex Semin all but ensured his departure…through some pointed comments by his agent.
Today, the focus turned on soon-to-be-UFA defenseman Dennis Wideman — and, for once, the winds stopped blowing.
Okay, they mellowed to a slight breeze.
“Obviously, I like it here. I’ve had a lot of fun here in the last year,” Wideman told the Washington Post. “I like where we’re going, the core group of guys is really, really good.
“So why not? I’d love to be back.”
The 2011-12 campaign was a tale of two Widemans. There was the Wideman that looked great during the regular season, finishing with 46 points (10th among NHL defensemen) and earning his first-ever All-Star berth.
There was also the Wideman that struggled throughout the postseason, finishing a team-worst minus-7 with just three points (no goals) in 14 games.
As such, it’s tough to decipher 1) what Wideman’s worth on the open market, and 2) what the Caps would be willing to pay him.
For No. 1, consider his last deal was a four-year, $15.75 million ($3.94 annually) contract. He’s in line for a raise, especially given the dearth of defensemen projected to be available on July 1.
For No. 2, consider Washington’s current setup. John Carlson and Mike Green are both impending RFAs and Carlson will be in line for a big raise on the $843,833 he made this year. Roman Hamrlik, Tom Poti, Jeff Schultz, John Erskine and Dmitry Orlov are all under contract for next year and prospect Tomas Kundratek could make a play for the NHL next season.
From a purely financial standpoint, Wideman could be the odd man out.