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Wideman's kicking off the summer with a bang

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
Dennis Wideman put up 12 goals and 53 points in 96 regular season games with the Washington Capitals.

CALGARY, AB -- Dennis Wideman is kicking off the summer with a bang.

The blueliner had his rights traded to the Calgary Flames from the Washington Capitals on Wednesday morning and promptly signed a five-year deal with club. That in itself is a very exciting milestone but in just over a week's time, he has an even bigger event to celebrate.

His wedding is set for July 6th.

"It's been starting to pile up pretty quickly," he told The Fan 960 on Wednesday afternoon. "I'm glad to get (the contract) off the table and I have the wedding - finish up the last preparations for that and get prepared."

The only downside about this flurry of activity? He has to miss the Calgary Stampede.

"I'm a big country fan," he laughed. "So I should fit right in there (in Calgary)."

General Manager Jay Feaster expressed the organization's relief over having a contract done before July 1st hit and Wideman echoed that sentiment given how busy the next few weeks are going to be for him.

"I was worried going into the season that I'd be going through my wedding on the Friday and trying to negotiate a contract at the same time.

"I'm glad we got this done and I'm more than happy to be going to Calgary."

While the 29 year-old has never played in the Northwest Division during his seven-year NHL career, he has always felt a pull to Cowtown.

"Calgary is one of those places that, when I was playing in the West with St. Louis, I was like, 'Man, I'd really like to play here. I love this city.'

"Every time I've gone to Calgary, I've loved it there. The fans are great, the city is great and I know some of the guys that are there. I'm really, really excited to be a part of it."

Flames captain Jarome Iginla is one Calgary player Wideman is familiar with. They have crossed paths throughout their careers on the ice and during the off-season and the Kitchener, ON product is thrilled he is now Iginla's teammate.

"Obviously a great guy, probably the best leader in the game, and I look forward to getting a chance to play with him."

Iginla also played a part in signing the blueliner as he called Wideman and explained why he should sign with the Flames.

"Jarome sold him on why this is a great place," Feaster said on Wednesday afternoon. "A great ownership and a great fanbase. The building's full every night and hockey matters."

Wideman has played with a few ex-Flames and has also heard about the organization through the likes of Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ference and Steve Montador.

"They've always spoke very highly of the organization and how they run things. From a personal standpoint, I don't really know anything (about the organization) but I've heard nothing but good things about them."

Given Wideman has spent his last five and half seasons in the Eastern Conference, some fans may not be familiar with his body of work. A self-described puck-moving defenceman, Wideman has put up some very solid offensive numbers during his career.

Last year, he recorded 11 goals and 46 points in the regular season with the Washington Capitals and suited up for 14 playoff games.

During his tenure with the Boston Bruins, he set career-highs in goals (13), assists (37) and points (50) during the 2008-09 campaign before going on to post seven points during 11 postseason dates during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I would say that I'm a good break-out passer, I move the puck well," was his response when asked to give a sales pitch. "I'm pretty solid defensively but that can always get better."

Feaster sees Wideman sliding into a top four role next season and giving a big boost to the Flames power play. Calgary struggled with the man advantage at times during the 2011-12 season and with Wideman quarterbacking the power play and using his howitzer of a shot, the Flames expect their point production with the man advantage to increase.

"I think you have to establish a point shot," he said of his power play philosophy. "That will open up passing lanes to feed through the seams to guys like Cammalleri and Iginla."

The longest stint Wideman has had with an individual team was during his time in Boston when he played 256 regular season games for the Bruins. He's bounced around quite a bit over the last few years and is looking forward to the stability a long-term deal offers.

"It's hard moving around and changing teams. That seems to happen a lot now with the way the NHL is. There's a lot of trades and guys are changing teams a lot.

"I'm very excited to have a five-year deal and know where I'm going to be for the next five years."

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