|Ottawa Acquires:||2020 sixth-round pick|
|Edmonton Acquires:||Chris Wideman, D|
The Ottawa Senators made their first trade of the 2018-19 regular season on Thursday, shipping defenseman Chris Wideman to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a 2020 sixth-round pick. The trade can potentially benefit both teams, and can be considered low risk for both sides.
Edmonton Receives Wideman
Over 19 games, the 28-year-old Wideman has five points (2G, 3A), 12 penalty minutes, 19 shots, and is minus nine. Drafted 100th overall in the fourth-round by the Senators in 2009, the St. Louis native has accumulated 43 points (16G, 27A) in 175 NHL games, all played in Canada’s capital.
The Oilers desperately need some offensive help on their blueline, and Wideman may be an inexpensive option at this time to step-in and hopefully produce. Currently, Adam Larsson and Oscar Klefbom are Edmonton’s leading point producers on the back-end. Both have collected eight points in 21 games played this season.
This trade comes merely 48 hours after general manager Peter Chiarelli opted to fire head coach Todd McLellan, immediately replacing him with Ken Hitchcock.
Clearly, change is in the air above oil country, as the Oilers struggle yet again this season. After 21 games, the Northern Albertan team finds themselves a .500 team with a 10-10-1 record and 21 points, placing them fifth in their Pacific Division and 21stin the league.
Unless the situation improves, these two moves may be just the beginning for Edmonton.
Ottawa Acquires A 2020 Sixth-Round Draft Pick
The draft pick headed to Ottawa was originally a draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, which Edmonton acquired in an earlier trade for Jakub Jerabek on October 1. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion adds this asset to his already loaded arsenal of draft picks for 2020. So far, it includes one first-rounder, with the possibility of an additional first-rounder, a second, two third-rounders, a fourth, three sixth-round selections, and a seventh.
It is clear that the 2020 draft will be a major step in their long-term rebuild plans, as the team already yields potentially 10 selections.
Additional Benefits for Ottawa
In addition to acquiring the sixth-round draft pick, this trade benefits the Senators in some other ways. First, it helps relieve a crowded blueline. Before the Wideman trade, the Sens had eight defensemen. Now, the Senators blueline consists of seven names, including Thomas Chabot, Cody Ceci, Dylan DeMelo, Mark Borowiecki, Christian Jaros, Maxime Lajoie, and Ben Harpur, who is injured. Throughout this season, it has been common for head coach Guy Boucher to employ 11 forwards and seven defensemen in the line-up on game nights.
The Senators also remove an expiring contact and shed some salary in this trade. Wideman is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and currently earns an annual salary of $1 million. That means with Wideman gone, Dorion has one less contract to worry about. There are 23 contracts expiring throughout the Senators organization this summer, including nine in Ottawa and 13 in Belleville (AHL).
Lastly, it is fair to speculate whether this trade may be partly connected with an uglier incident earlier this month involving seven members of the Senators and a secret Uber dashcam recording. Throughout the video, various players trash talked the team’s penalty kill and mocked an assistant coach. Wideman happened to be one of the more talkative players during the video, leading the discussion at times, while sitting in the front passenger seat closest to the camera. He was also the player who revealed the players were from ‘Ottawa’, when asked by the former Uber driver.
Whether or not this trade was connected to the aftermath of this incident is purely speculative. As discussed, there are a lot of reasons why Dorion decided to pull the trigger on this deal. However, it is fair to wonder whether an attitude clean-up was part of the considerations.
Cover Photo Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jason Franson
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.