|Wideman (left) needs to be an elite power play quarterback this year.|
Recap of Last Season: Wideman was brought in by GM George McPhee at the trading deadline last year to try and invigorate a stagnant offense. The 28 year-old defenseman met those expectations nicely before his season ended prematurely when he suffered a hematoma during a game against Carolina on March 29th. In the 14 games he was able to play in, he collected one goal and six assists and was exactly what DC needed him to be. It really is a shame that he was hurt; DC could have used him bigtime in the second round. For my full post-season analysis of Wideman's 2010-11, click here.
Expectations for this Season: Now reportedly fully healthy following an extensive offseason rehab, Wideman will be leaned upon to provide offensive spark from the back end. Because he's not as good defensively as he is offensively, he'll probably see the least ice time of the Caps' three puck-movers (the other two being John Carlson and Mike Green). Nevertheless, he is going to be very important to the team, particularly on the power play, providing he can stay healthy and keep his defensive game up to scratch.
Playing Time: Defensive pairing C; defensive pairing B; power play unit A. I think that Wideman will start the year on the third defensive unit with Jeff Schultz, and could see a bump up to the second pairing because of an injury or poor play. Regardless, his right-handed shot, passing, and skill will be the primary assets he uses as a top power play defenseman.
Projections: 74 GP, 9 G, 30 A, +3 rating, 19:13 ATOI.
The next season preview will feature winger Troy Brouwer.