Dennis Wideman (Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
Dennis Wideman suffered a freak upper-body injury on a collision with teammate Joe Colborne, and the outlook “doesn’t look very good,” according to coach Bob Hartley. Wideman was only three games into his return from a 19-game suspension.
Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman won’t look back on the 2015-16 campaign fondly. Already, he has scored at one of the lowest rates of his career, watched his minutes dip and was handed a 20-game suspension that he served 19 games of before an arbitrator reduced it to a 10-game ban. Now, three games after returning from suspension, he’s suffered an upper-body injury that might knock him out of the lineup for a significant period of time.
Wednesday night against the Winnipeg Jets, Wideman started a rush that led to a Flames goal, but he collided with teammate Joe Colborne behind the net as Michael Frolik was knocking the puck home. Frolik and teammates celebrated, but the celebration was quickly halted when the Flames realized Wideman was writhing in the far corner:
It’s hard to tell what exactly Wideman injured or when it happened. It’s his left arm that collides with Colborne, but Wideman grabs his right arm when he falls to the ice. It may have happened when Wideman attempted to break his fall to the ice, but it’s hard to tell. Though Wideman left the ice under his own power, he didn’t return to the contest and it sounds as if the freak injury he suffered is serious. Calgary coach Bob Hartley was about the apparent severity of the injury.
“It’s upper body and it doesn’t look very good,” Hartley said post-game. “The preliminary reports that we got from the medical staff are not very good, but they’ll have some tests tomorrow and we should have more news late tomorrow or Friday.”
The Flames have only 12 games remaining in their season, and there are less than four weeks left in the campaign. Chances are that any serious injury would likely keep Wideman out for the remainder of the season, especially because Calgary wouldn’t want to risk the defenseman furthering irritating any ailment that could impact his ability to start the season with the club in 2016-17 or hurt his trade value if GM Brad Treliving decides to part ways with the veteran defender. Calgary will have nearly $30 million tied up in defensemen in 2016-17.
Wideman’s average ice time has dropped more than four minutes per game compared to 2014-15, and his .37 points per game is his worst output since 2006-07, Wideman’s sophomore campaign. He’ll enter the final season of a five-year, $26.25-million contract next season, and could be a potential trade candidate in the off-season.