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Saying goodbye to Chris Wideman could be difficult for the Canadiens
I have a feeling the Habs will have a hard time saying goodbye to Chris Wideman. For what? For what he represents.

The Habs’ defence is very young. Since the departure of Jeff Petry Joel Edmundson, it’s clear that of the nine players most often mentioned in the race for a regular spot, six of them are relatively young.

  • Kaiden Guhle: 21 years old
  • Justin Barron: 21
  • Arber Xhekaj: 22
  • Jordan Harris: 23
  • Gustav Lindstrom: 24 years old
  • Johnathan Kovacevic: 26 (but only one full year in the NHL)

We could add David Reinbacher (18) and Logan Mailloux (20). We’re talking about two guys with no real chance of starting the season in Montreal, but…

But things can change quickly sometimes.

To surround them, it’s David Savard and Mike Matheson who will have the big role, on the blue line, of “protecting” the youngsters. So it’s not exactly different from last year.

The two Quebecers will play every night… when they’re healthy.

And the ninth piece of the puzzle is Chris Wideman. We’re talking about a defenseman who won’t dominate the NHL in 2023-2024, but who is still there to add depth.

At 33, he’s the dean of the group and the youngsters like him. And that’s even if he takes a place in the 23-player line-up.

The easy solution would be to say that Wideman, who earns the NHL minimum wage, can be balloted and sent to Laval to finish out his contract, which expires in a year’s time.

But it’s not as simple as that.

Of course, it’s very possible that this could happen. It’s possible he could be traded. And in the worst-case scenario, he could suffer a minor injury that would “prevent” him from starting the season on time?

But I have a feeling it’s no coincidence that he got a two-year contract from Kent Hughes last year. After all, within the staff and the coaching group, there’s a sense that he’s valuable.

Listening to Stéphane Robidas, who named Wideman first when talking about his veterans on the blue line, I think the CH values him more than the fans value the youngsters.

Not to play every day, obviously, but to be there. To be there.

I get the feeling that the Habs feel that if Savard or Matheson get injured down the road (which is possible, if the past is any indication), having a second veteran wouldn’t be a luxury.

I think the CH likes to have him around.

I also wonder to what extent Kent Hughes, who wants to have the reputation of a good GM for the players’ needs, doesn’t want to send him to the minors so as not to send the message that veterans who don’t fit the bill can be sent down.

He won’t do it with Casey DeSmith, and I have a feeling that unless he gets his hand forced at camp, he won’t want to do it with Wideman either. If he dumps him, he’ll probably want to do it by trade. But who wants Wideman these days?

All that to say that in my opinion, there are many factors that make the well-liked veteran (I never thought I’d say that after his time in Ottawa, but hey) not so easy to dislodge from Montreal.

If he’s not playing too hard, that’s the important thing. And along the way, everything can change, too.

In gusto

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