While Dennis Wideman logged significant ice time last season and helped fill in when Mike Green missed 50 games with various injuries, General Manager George McPhee said that resigning the Ontario native simply didn’t fit into the Capitals’ future plans.
So when the Calgary Flames expressed interest in Wideman prior to the draft, McPhee gave permission for the two sides to work out a contract. On Wednesday, when a deal was all but complete the Capitals traded Wideman’s negotiating rights to the Flames for a fifth-round draft pick in 2013 and impending free agent Jordan Henry.
Immediately after the trade, the Flames announced they signed Wideman to a five-year, $26.25-million deal.
“Based on what we had to do, putting all the payroll models together it was going to be hard to keep him,” McPhee said. “He plays right D and we’ve got two other right D in [Mike] Green and [John] Carlson that need new deals and need to play a lot.”
In addition to the presence of Green and Carlson, assuming they are both re-signed, McPhee said that second-year defenseman Dmitry Orlov is expected to play a key role in 2012-13 as well. McPhee also spoke highly of Cameron Schilling, whom the Capitals signed as a free agent out of college last March.
“We think Orlov is in a place now where he can help just as much,” McPhee said. “Orlov’s going to play and we like the Schilling kid that played in Hershey at the end of the year. He played really well and should see games here. In my mind we’ve got seven with a possible eight there.”
Calgary needed to shed a contract, which is why Henry, a 26-year-old AHL journeyman defenseman, was included in the swap. While he may explore his options on the free agent market, the Capitals plan to see if he would be a fit for the Hershey Bears.