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New York Rangers Should Explore a Trade for Ryan Whitney

February 27th, 2013 at 5:40 PM
By PJ Foti

'Ryan Whitney' photo (c) 2007, canyonero - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Edmonton Oilers don't have a spot for defenseman Ryan Whitney in their rotation, so the 30-year-old has been a healthy scratch for most of the year.

The Oilers have said they're open to trading him, but there's one problem. They have no offers, according to Doug McLean via the Edmonton Journal.

Insert New York Rangers here.

The New York Rangers currently boast a power play unit that's converting on 11.1 percent of their chances, and this is bad enough to be the second worst power play unit in the entire NHL. The unit has struggled as a whole, and it doesn't matter what player is on the ice during the man advantage.

Brad Richards has proven over the past few weeks that he doesn't belong there. Michael Del Zotto looks good at times, and then he looks absolutely dreaful at others.

However, those are the two best options for the Rangers right now. This is where Whitney would help.

Although he hasn't played a full NHL season since 2009-10 due to multiple foot surgeries, he still knows how to effectively lead a power play — and he has a offensive mind as well.

Look at these numbers. Two years ago, he played at a 63-point pace per 82 games. That figure is far higher than the other Ranger defenseman because of his offensive skill, especially on the power play, as that's where almost half his points came from.

Yes, his best seasons were with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2006-08), but  maybe trading for him could lead to Whitney showing some of his former self in a Ranger uniform.

With all the injuries the team has went through on the back end, Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy and Stu Bickel have needed to play significant time. If we told you those three would be playing a large role on the team, you'd probably guess the Rangers would be a .500 team.

Whitney would be an instant upgrade over the three as his GVT (Goals versus Threshold — a measure of a player's worth in comparison to a typical fringe NHL player-) is 2.5. As a sixth defender/power play specialist, that's a very honest figure.

Besides the fact that he would bring Stanley Cup experience to the team, he's also in the last year of his contract, so adding him for the remainder of this season won't effect the futures of the Rangers' young stars with contracts set to expire.

With the Oilers not receiving any offers for Whitney, who isn't in their lineup, the Rangers could take advantage of the opportunity and bring in Whitney for a very low draft pick.

We think it's worth the risk, as the Rangers need to continue trying to fix the power play.

Tags: Brad Richards, Edmonton Oilers, Hockey, Matt Gilroy, Michael Del Zotto, New York, New York Rangers, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Whitney, Steve Eminger, Stu Bickel

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