By The Numbers - #6 Ryan Whitney

Defender Ryan Whitney is our next player in our By The Numbers segment.

The Oilers are definitely going to need more than 35 GP from this guy in '11-'12. Photo courtesy Edmonton Journal

NAME: Ryan Whitney

SWEATER NUMBER: 6

DOB: 19 FEB 1983 (28)

POSITION: Defence

NUMBERS: 2G-25A-27 PTS, 33 PIM in 35 GP

2010-11 SALARY/CONTRACT: $4,500,000, (cap hit $4M) through July 1st, 2013

THE SKINNY

A first round pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Ryan Whitney is one of the solids on the Edmonton Blue.  Imagine what he could do if he had an injury free season.

Ryan Whitney arrived in Edmonton during the Great Fiasco, otherwise known as the 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers season.  The Anaheim Ducks exchanged  Whitney for the very talented although pricey defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky.  While Whitney may not come with the finesse of Lubo,  he’s certainly a very talented player who will likely start top pair next year.  Along with being a top 2 D on this squad, he can bring with him a physical side that Visnovsky usually didn’t.

NEED MORE THAN 35

Whitney was building himself what may have been a career season before being derailed by an ankle injury that couldn’t have looked more innocent.  Whitney looked like he lost his edge while quickly changing direction versus the Sabres in late December.  After a few weeks, an MRI, and some considerable swelling, it was determined that Whitney had a dislocated tendon which required season ending surgery.  At the time of his injury, Whitney’s +/- rating was an impressive +13.

It’s imperative that Ryan Whitney avoid injury if the Oilers are going to see any kind of success.  Whitney was on pace for 64 points before his injury, a number that would have near certainly led the Oilers in points this year.  While the Oilers are likely to struggle yet again in 2011-12, a healthy Ryan Whitney will help ease the arrival and maturation should any new defenders be suiting up for Edmonton this coming year, whether they be from OKC, or prospective first rounders we will fail to mention at this time.

WHAT COULD BE

Whitney will likely start the 2011-12 Oiler season on the top pair, playing premium 5 on 5 and PP minutes.  A freak accident in 2010-11 helped derail what could’ve been Whitney’s career season, and Whitney will be chomping at the bit to get back on the ice as soon as he can.  A healthy Whitney will be a solid stone in Edmonton’s rebuild.  Asking for Whitney to put numbers up similar to last year may be a bit of a stretch, but a full season could land 50-55 points without too much trouble.

Staying off the IR would be a good start.

Next player:  #10 Shawn Horcoff

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