Chris Wideman will be sticking around with the Habs for a couple more years as the team announced on Monday that they’ve signed the veteran to a two-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but multiple reports suggest Wideman will receive the minimum salary in each season. That means he’d make $750,000 next year and $775,000 in 2023-24 for a cap hit of $762,500.
The 31-year-old signed with Montreal in free agency last summer, making his return to North America after playing in the KHL. He finished tied for the team lead in points by a defenceman, notching four goals and 23 assists in 64 games with a dozen of those helpers coming on the power play.
However, Wideman’s defensive play left a lot to be desired as both Dominique Ducharme and Martin St. Louis had to try to shelter him and as a result, he played just under 15 minutes a game while being a healthy scratch on several occasions.
Wideman’s return gives the Canadiens a bit of NHL-proven depth on the right side of the back end. Jeff Petry – who also had 27 points this past season – is under contract but the Canadiens are expected to try to honour his trade request this summer. David Savard is still around and as far as experienced right-shot defenders go, that’s it for Montreal’s depth. Justin Barron will be recovered from his injury in time for training camp but he may spend part of the season in Laval.
Assuming the cap hit isn’t overly high, Wideman fits in a veteran seventh defenceman role, one that can play on the third pairing when needed and contribute to the power play. While the Habs are expected to be a younger team next season, having a depth veteran that can be a reserve player makes sense so that it’s not a youngster going in and out of the lineup. And for Wideman, getting a two-year deal after playing in Russia not that long ago is a nice piece of business on his end.