Dan Riedlhuber , Edmonton Journal
As the powerplay continues to struggle, many are looking for ways that the Rangers can address this need and the need for a sixth defenseman. Ryan Whitney’s name has been thrown around for the past few weeks. Whitney is no different from any other acquisition, and there are pros and cons of trading for Whitney.
Whitney is in the last year of his deal, and the Rangers can afford his $5.5 million salary and $4 million cap hit. With the cap coming down next year, the Rangers will only be looking for affordable players who do not come with long-term commitments. Whitney is just that.
Considering he’s been a healthy scratch recently, he should come relatively cheap on the trade market.
Whitney has a good history as an offensive defenseman and someone who can quarterback a powerplay. He’s coming off two straight 20 point seasons in which he missed some time due to injury. If you adjust the numbers for full 82 game seasons, Whitney is one year removed from a 32 point pace, and two years removed from a 63 point pace.
The guy is a powerplay machine. Almost half of his points come with the man advantage.
Whitney’s GVT last season was 2.5, which is is decent for what the Rangers would use him for (sixth defenseman, powerplay specialist). This is an instant upgrade over the Stu Bickel/Steve Eminger/Matt Gilroy trio.
Another way Whitney is an upgrade over the revolving door trio, he faced tougher competition (-.061) than both Bickel (-.079) and Eminger (-.123) last year, and did so without his RCorsi suffering too much in relation to his counterparts.
Whitney hasn’t played a full season in two years due to various ankle injuries, missing 78 games over the past two years to deal with these injuries.
The 30 year old defenseman has been a healthy scratch for five of the Oilers 17 games thus far. The Oilers aren’t exactly deep on defense, so the fact that he’s missed games when healthy is alarming.
Whitney has been on the decline for a few seasons, save for his 2010-2011 where he was on pace for 63 points. In fact, Aside from that season, Whitney has barely pushed 40 points since 2007-2008.
Although his overall metrics are better than anyone the Rangers have at the moment, they aren’t exactly stellar. His -8.5 RCorsi for someone expected to be an offensive defenseman doesn’t bode well.
I haven’t watched many Oilers games this year, but from what I’ve read, Whitney has been an unmitigated disaster in his own end. He may be good on the powerplay, but if he can’t skate or defend, Torts will eat him alive.
As the Rangers grow desperate to address defensive depth, Whitney’s name will be tossed around a lot. All in all, Whitney is an option, but clearly not the best option to address the defensive depth and the powerplay. Personally, I’m not all that thrilled with the idea of trading for Whitney, but he does represent a clear upgrade over Bickel/Eminger/Gilroy.