Another day, another injury for the Habs. This time, it’s Chris Wideman heading for injured reserve as the team announced on Thursday that he’s out indefinitely with a back injury.
Last season was a struggle for the 33-year-old. After putting up 27 points in 64 games in his first year with the team back in 2021-22, he struggled to produce in 2022-23, recording just six assists in 46 games despite seeing regular minutes with the second power play unit. He also dealt with back injuries at times as well which clearly haven’t fully healed.
This announcement helps to clear things up a bit on the back end as Wideman’s spot with Montreal was far from assured. The Canadiens are bringing back most of their defence corps from last season except for Joel Edmundson while Gustav Lindstrom, a right-shot defender like Wideman, joined the team as part of the swap that sent Jeff Petry to Detroit last month. Accordingly, Wideman was being slotted in as the seventh defender at best on most depth charts.
On the right side of the blueline, David Savard is locked into one of the spots. Johnathan Kovacevic should be somewhat safe as well while Justin Barron was a regular in the second half of last season. He’s still waiver-exempt, however, and could benefit from more time in Laval. Lindstrom, of course, is also in the mix while Kaiden Guhle or Arber Xhekaj could move to the right as well. Wideman’s absence takes one possible domino out of the picture but there is certainly still work to do as well.
Wideman is heading into the final year of his contract that carries a cap hit of $762,500 which is actually below the NHL minimum this season. This news won’t help his case for another deal.