Looking to add a valuable defenseman for the stretch run in your fantasy league? Dennis Wideman just might be the guy to grab. Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues, Wideman was traded Monday from the Florida Panthers to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft and prospect Jake Hauswirth.
If you take away one stat category, Wideman's minus-26 rating, you'd be looking at an extremely useful fantasy blueliner. With his departure from the Eastern Conference's 12th-place team, Wideman's one hurtful fantasy category should be on the rise. Besides his plus/minus, the 27-year-old has 9 goals and 33 points in 61 games this season, as well as 33 penalty minutes, 19 power-play points and 135 shots on goal. His 19 power-play points are pretty incredible, considering the Panthers have the No. 29 power play, converting just 13.7 percent of the time.
Wideman joins a Capitals blue line that features a couple of valuable fantasy defenders in youngster John Carlson and All-Star Mike Green. However, with Green reportdely out for approximately three more weeks, Wideman will need to step in as the team's No. 1 defenseman. Whether it's on the top power play unit alongside Alex Ovechkin on the point or on the second unit, you can expect Wideman to see plenty of ice time with the man advantage -- he was receiving 4:10 of extra-man ice time per game with Florida. When Green returns to the lineup, Wideman likely will slide to the second power play group, but either way, he should be able to produce at a better rate than he was with Florida.
While Wideman struggled last season with the Bruins (30 points in 76 games), fantasy owners shouldn't forget what he did two seasons ago in Boston: 13 goals, 50 points and a plus-32 rating in 79 games. He clearly won't reach those terrific numbers this season, but Wideman is a talented playmaker that sees the ice well and certainly is worth a flyer if he's available in your league.