Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Wideman deal means Flames aren't rebuilding
By Pierre LeBrun
Here’s what you need to know about the Calgary Flames adding Dennis Wideman on Wednesday.
Forget the rebuild.
Although many had predicted this offseason might finally see the departure of captain Jarome Iginla and/or goalie Miikka Kiprusoff in an attempt to reset the franchise, that doesn’t appear likely to happen.
"We’re not tearing it down," Flames GM Jay Feaster told ESPN.com on the phone from Calgary.
Whether or not Jay Bouwmeester remains a Flame remains to be seen. The Flames, according to rival executives, aren’t really shopping him as much as listening to offers.
If a deal doesn’t come along for Bouwmeester (two more seasons at $6.68 million per) that materially improves the team, my guess is that Feaster can live with a top four consisting of Bouwmeester, Wideman, Mark Giordano and Chris Butler. Not too shabby.
The decision to go after Wideman, meanwhile, was made last week when the Flames had their pro meetings in Pittsburgh in the days leading up to the draft.
"We identified our free-agent list and Dennis was a guy that was right up there in terms of the way we had our pecking order," Feaster said. "We just made a strategic decision that we would ask permission [from Washington] and start talking early to him."
That was last Wednesday. The agreement with Caps GM George McPhee was that if the Flames could agree to terms with the pending UFA Wideman before the end of the draft, the cost would be a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
"We were not able to conclude that when the fifth pick came rolling on Saturday," Feaster said. "I said to George, 'If we still have permission to talk to him and we can get him signed, I’ll honor the deal we made.' He said that would be great."
So it became a fifth-round pick in 2013 instead and the Flames also moved Jordan Hendry in the deal for no other reason than they were at their 50-contract limit.
In the end, while you can argue whether or not it’s wise for the Flames to delay their rebuild, I think it was a shrewd maneuver by Feaster to strike ahead of July 1 once the decision was made that they weren’t blowing up this team.
Let’s face it, of course the Flames would love a shot at Ryan Suter, or UFA prospect Justin Schultz for that matter. But given their long odds of landing either, Feaster was proactive in targeting a blueliner they had high on their UFA list. It certainly didn’t come cheap -- Wideman signing for five years and $26.25 million -- but it’s done. And now there’s less sweating to be done come Sunday when the market opens.
In the meantime, the Caps at least got a fifth-round pick plus a minor leaguer for a player they were going to let walk away for free Sunday. And they might not be done with that sort of thing. A source told ESPN.com the Caps would be willing to do the same with pending UFA winger Alexander Semin if a team wanted to sign him before Sunday.
Where's Carle going?
I would not have predicted months ago that Matt Carle would be headed to free agency, but that’s indeed going to be the case.
A source told ESPN.com Wednesday that the Flyers know the pending UFA blueliner will head to market Sunday while very much keeping his current team in the mix.
Notice a trend here? That’s what Ryan Suter has decided to do, and likely Jason Garrison as well.
The Flyers remain very much interested in retaining Carle’s services, so all is not lost. But it appears fairly certain that Carle, a terrific puck mover and offensive blueliner, will at least take a peek out there come Sunday.