SenSeries Profile: Defenseman Chris Wideman

Third year pro Chris Wideman entertains the blue line once again for the upcoming 2014-’15 season for the Binghamton Senators. The crafty, smooth skating native from St. Louis, MO looks to improve on his career best 51 points last season and help the B-Sens capture back to back division titles for the first time in their history and go deeper into the playoffs and bring home, on the heels of what the other sports team in this city just did, another championship, as the Binghamton Mets just accomplished in winning their third AA Eastern League Championship last night.

 

Miami RedHawks

Chris went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio majoring in political science (2008-’12). He played four years for the RedHawks  highlighted by capturing their first Mason Cup in 2011, representing the CCHA Conference Tournament Champs before bowing out in the NCAA Regional Semifinal contest against the New Hampshire Wildcats.

In 2011-’12 he was the club’s top-scoring defenseman with four goals and 20 assists, tying him for fourth among all players in his senior year for the RedHawks. In his four season’s, he amassed 12 goals, 83 assists and 191 penalty minutes in 163 career games third most in team history He was named 2008-’09 First-Team All-CCHA Rookie Team and 2010-’11 Second-Team All-CCHA.

Wideman played three straight seasons without missing a game and helped Miami earn its first two appearances to the Frozen Four for the University and just coming up short in 2009 in winning the school’s first NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, losing in the last-minute to Boston University. He was a team-mate of Binghamton native Tyler Biggs in 2011-’12, a former first rounder now in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and with new forward Carter Camper (2008 -’11) who just signed on to play for Binghamton reuniting the two Miamians.

 

Binghamton Senators

Wideman started out his pro career playing for the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL and after having five assists in his first  five games, he made the jump making his B-Sens debut on Nov 2nd, 2012 after being summoned up from Elmira on Oct 26. He scored his first professional goal on Mar 8th, 2013 against the Connecticut Whale.

The former fourth round draft choice in 2009 is entering his third season on the blue line for the Binghamton Senators after re-signing in June during the off-season to a one year, 2-way contract worth $85,000/$700,000. Wideman found his groove in 2013 -’14 having played in 73 games scoring 9 goals with 42 assists and a +5, an 18 point improvement over his rookie season total and led the club in scoring among defensemen as his offense took shape. He was also fourth in the league in points in the defensemen class.

The offensive minded number 6 was paired up with Mike Sdao and Ben Blood on occasion, for the third unit while he emerged quarterbacking the number one power play unit. The intelligent defenseman with his crisp passing and accurate shooting from near the center blue line reminds me of André Benoit in ways having similar characteristics as he feathers in a goal past bodies in front or off a player or two getting a re-direct into the back of the net. Also makes accurate up ice passes threading the needle leading the rush out of his zone.

Wideman is a smooth skating blue liner, with great vision. Shows excellent puck patience and loves to create that kind of offense. Has a fierceness about him when pushed. Plays with an edge which sometimes results into some badly timed penalties especially on the power play, but didn’t make it a regular habit. Although, it did bite him in the butt as a result of that fiestiness in an AHL one game suspension as a consequence of a match penalty for his two-handed slash against Garrett Mitchell of the Hershey Bears on Nov 10 after being provoked. Wasn’t pretty as Chris lost his cool and player’s now recognize this and will attempt to get under his skin if he’s not careful and try to get the same result in future campaigns. Gotta keep your head bud and skate away.

Not the most physical type of player on the ice but will play the body when necessary and did get into three fisticuffs last season. He likes to use his stick taking away passing lanes while limiting shot attempts. Possibly overlooked about his small stature but a team leader in the locker room nonetheless while serving as one of the team’s assistant captain’s.

 

Season Outlook: Look for a standout season from the 24-year-old as his confidence continues to rise in stock only going further along as he progresses. The potential he can bring to the Senators organization will be on display this coming season as I expect him to have a rock solid season in repeating as not only the top point producing defenseman, but one of the league’s best in that department once again.

 

 

*Cover Photo & Insert Courtesy of Alicia Strauch.