Addressing Ryan Whitney and the Rangers

February 26, 2013, by
Dan Riedlhuber , Edmonton Journal

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.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Michael Zarb says:

    We need a poweplay specialist and Whitney is the answer!

    • Vasily Chapayev says:

      We need a new coach & firing Torts is the best answer to all of this team problems!!!

      • Dave says:

        Sigh, enough with this fire Torts crap.

        • rickyrants13 says:

          I agree someone needs to go. This team isnt getting better they are getting worse. A team with an ALLSTAR goalie should be able to beat many of these teams even on bad night And with players missing Other teams do it. So why dont we????

          This team comes out flat. They show no heart NO fire. And the fact that they cant even run a simple powerplay Shows that something along the coaching front is missing.

  2. Tommy T says:

    I say avoid him at all costs.One no reason to give up anything for a rental player who is only good for the PP. at that point sign leetch and just play him on the PP LOL.

  3. Matt Josephs says:

    I’m pretty sure Whitney has been scratched this year in favor of Harry Potter. We definitely don’t need this guy.

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Gentlemen, Matt Gilroy has played well and I like him as a 6th D. He does generate offense and I am sure he will start scoring again

  5. Pete says:

    4 mill of cap for a 6th d-man? and the power-play? The almighty himself couldnt fix that thing so Whitney will hardly make a difference. If the talent is there and it still stinks then logic tells you its the coaching, but yeah, we should keep bring in players that were good on the PP and keep wondering why it’s still awful… Funny stuff.

  6. Sally says:

    We can afford his $ 4 million, but we couldn’t keep Prust?

    • Dave says:

      $4m this year is cheaper than $2.5m next year when the Rangers lose $6m in cap space.

      • Pete says:

        Yeah but Dave, you can’t see that 4 mill being put to a better place than Whitney? Even if he costs a Cuban and half a bad of pucks?

        • Dave says:

          I said in the post he’s not the best option, but if he’s the only option, he sure is an upgrade over Gilroy/Bickel/Eminger.

  7. Joe says:

    Pete, don’t talk about the coaching! That is not allowed on this site. The coaching is fine, it is all the shitty players we need to replace. Bad boy bad boy! Don’t worry Suit, I got this one. You too Dave.

    • Dave says:

      Dude, you’ve been bashing the coaching with no sound logic. Whenever we give you a chance to have a legit discussion, you run away.

    • Pete says:

      I think people get a little carried away with the coaching staff a bit. Like I said earlier, things take time. On the other hand, the power-play has to be on them, no question. I cant see how someone could argue that, its almost as bad as the D’Antoni no defense thing. Bring someone else in ffs, maybe Leetch, something….!

  8. Chris.C says:

    We dont need anyone. What we need is a Competent Special Teams coach. The skills are there we dont need to address the PP by adding a player.

    • RangerTex says:

      I disagree, we have players that keep passing, we need shooters.
      Shoot the damn puck, there will deflections, rebounds. they keep looking for the perfect pass. And that is when they get into the zone to begin with.

    • Dave says:

      Suit disagrees with me here, but I’m one for trying out a new PP coach. Chris suggested Leetch, I figure it can’t hurt.

  9. RangerTex says:

    What about Anton Babchuck? He is a righty with a Howitzer, can pair up with MDZ on the PP. Is bad defensively, but as #6D and PP specialist, he maybe worth a shot.
    Another righty PP specialist that can fit is Yannick Weber. He has been scratched like in forever, but they have a deep bench, we can use him.
    I would love to see an analysis of reasonable options of #6D PP specialists there are out there.
    PS: First time Poster, great site.

    • Dave says:

      Babchuk is someone I’ve been keeping my eye on, but he’s only played two games this year because of his shoulder.

  10. Joe says:

    I don’t run away Dave, I just am to busy to constantly monitor the site. I love this site and all the guys who write on it, that is why I come here for all the great info you guys provide. But to pretend that the power play is not the fault of the coach is silly, it has been patently abysmal since he got here. This is not my opinion and you guys ow that. I just feel this guys style no longer works for the current class of players. They are too good to be playing this way. Just so you know, I am currently on vacation in Paris, which is why I have the time to post to the site. You will all be happy come next week when this idiot returns home and can no longer post ridiculous post about bad coaching.

    • Dave says:

      Like I said above, Suit and I disagree when it comes to Sully. I think it’s time to cut him loose.

      But Suit brings up a very good point: Players like Gaborik, Richards, and Nash should be able to produce on the powerplay regardless of who is coaching them.

      • Joe says:

        That is absolutely fair, but what if, them guys are scared to be on the ice when the opposition scores a short handed goal. Perhaps they end up in Torts chateau bow bow. That is tough to get out of! So maybe instead of playing to their strengths, they look for the perfect pass for the perfect goal. Scared to just shoot because it might pop out of the zone and go the other way. This is the coaching philosophy that I feel no longer works with these guys, because they don’t play to their strengths any more. Torts is a defense first coach, he says it constantly. This team has too much offense, but we don’t see it because he stifles it. That’s why I think he needs to go. Just my opinion. That’s my last word on it, I won’t talk about it no more. Let’s go Rangers! You guys keep up the good work. I truly do enjoy your take on things. You guys help me to be a smarter hockey observer and fan.

        • Dave says:

          These guys are professional athletes, that whole “what if” scenario doesn’t really fly. If they are scared to play then they shouldn’t be in the NHL.

          Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

          • Joe says:

            I tried not to do this. One more reply. You really need to read my whole post. I did not say they were scared to play the game. I said they were scared not to play Tort’s system. Big difference. The boys want to play and in order to get ice time, they must play the way the coach demands. Defense first even on the PP. its the coaching philosophy that fails these guys, not the players. They are playing the system he requires, which doesn’t suit their abilities. That is what I believe. I realize you don’t agree, but you have to respond to what I say, not the first line you read. So the “what if” scenario does indeed fly under these conditions. These coaching conditions! I am a Rangers season subscriber and I believe we will not win with Tortorella as coach. I came to this realization this year!

            • Dave says:

              Misunderstood your comment. My bad.

              Players play to the coach’s system, not to their own personal game. It’s about a team working as one, not a bunch of players working on their own to score.

              They don’t play defense first on the PP. What gave you that impression? They often play 4 forwards, which is the opposite of defense first.

              The GM builds a team based on what the coach plays. All these guys work together, it’s not one guy making roster decisions, one guy saying how to play, and 20 guys playing their own way.

  11. neal says:

    Any one remember shoot the puck Barry

  12. Walt says:

    Ray Whitney is not the answer, and I don’t care if it’s a rental, he isn’t the answer, so look elseware!

    Joe, I tend to agree with most of what your saying, Sully should be replaced when it comes to the PP. We have a goalie coach, what’s the big deal with a PP coach? It goes back to Tort’s ego, he won’t let go. Even if we got Chris Latang, our PP wouldn’t work, or would it?

    We are getting close to the tradeing deadline, maybe Slats can work some magic again.

  13. Sally says:

    We have already traded half of last year’s team which is part of this year’s problems. More trades this year will not fix the problem, it will only add to them. If Sully is a great assistant coach, then keep him and hire a PP coach. I would like to remind everyone that the only time I remember a decent PP was when Jagr was on the team and it was all Jagr.

  14. steve nh says:

    hire leetch as a pp coach & maybe mess could help out.what about gilroy to quarter back pp?

  15. bernmeister says:

    Can’t skate.
    Do not want.
    That simple.