The Montreal Canadiens reportedly signed Chris Wideman, an unrestricted free agent defenceman, to a one-year, one-way contract. This contract carries him through the 2021-22 season.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 26, 2021
UFA Chris Wideman Signed
Over his four-year NHL career, Wideman has played for the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, and Florida Panthers. Originally drafted in the fourth round, 100th overall of the 2009 NHL draft by the Senators, the 31-year old potted 16 goals and 29 assists in 181 games. Of those 45 points, ten came on the man advantage. He averages 13:37 in ice time across his career but played his last NHL minutes in 2018-19 with Florida.
In the two seasons since, Wideman posted 31 points in 53 AHL games (2019-20) with the San Diego Gulls, and then 41 points in 59 KHL games (2020-21) with Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo. Montreal signed Chris Wideman for 2021-22, bringing him back from Russia’s KHL where he posted his highest single-season numbers since his first few professional hockey seasons in the AHL.
What This Means for the Future
With Shea Weber potentially on the verge of retiring, and at the very least missing all of 2021-22, Montreal needed to shore up its blueline. Wideman can be viewed as a low-risk, high-reward scenario. The contract runs only one season, and at a low cap hit. Although he never received significant ice time at the NHL level, his possession metrics were generally positive year over year (with a five game stint in Edmonton as the lone exception). He is a right-handed shot, something the Habs need. Wideman also seems to have found his game in the KHL. He reportedly turned down more money from his KHL club to return to the NHL.
Expect the veteran defenceman to push hard for a roster spot in training camp. He’s certainly not Weber, and the Habs will likely make more blue line additions, but this is a value add at a position that desperately needs the addition.
SUNRISE, FL – JANUARY 05: Chris Wideman #6 of the Florida Panthers skates prior to the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the BB&T Center on January 5, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida.(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)