Ryan Whitney is the most important defensemen on the roster for 12-13. If he’s healthy, the Oilers will be a much better defensive club than they were a year ago.

RE 12-13: 65, 4-24-28

  1. He’ll post better numbers than you’re suggesting. Reasonable is what we’re after here, and that’s in both games played and points in the case of this player.
  2. Where does he get his points? PP accounted for half of his points one year ago.
  3. Does he get a lot of PP time? I have him 2nd in PP time among defensemen (with Schultz) and that is reflected in the totals.
  4. 65GP? Yes, I think we can expect him to be in the lineup more than he was last season.
  5. How is he doing? Jason Gregor had Whitney on today and had some interesting things to say. “I am finally feeling healthy” and “nothing really hurts anymore.” We’ll have to wait and see but he’s healthy now.
  6. Has any hockey player ever come all the way back? I’m not sure how many athletes–even the brilliant ones–ever completely recover from an osteotomy and reclaim 100% of their past ability. I haven’t heard of any hockey players, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. This is a tough one, I hope he can get it back.
  7. When will we know? Based on the Gregor interview he wasn’t able to do much last summer so we should see some kind of improvement immediately.
  8. When will we really know? When the season begins and he’s caught flat-footed. If he’s “hey, there’s Mike Grier turning” then it isn’t good, but the interview sounded positive and that’s all we really have to go on.
  9. How will they use him? Easy opponents and a zone start push. I don’t see any other way; if he’s healthy they can increase the difficulty but there’s zero point in counting on him being the kind of player Edmonton thought he’d be when the trade went down.
  10. How did coach Renney use him? Softer minutes, offensive ZS’s and plenty of playing time in the games he dressed. Ryan Whitney averaged 20:57 this season, 2nd overall on the entire team. If he’d been healthy, the numbers would have been much better across the board. His past tells us. that much, and it’s really too bad he’s having these troubles at such a young age.
  11. For those of us who can’t remember, how good is a healthy Ryan Whitney? If healthy, Ryan Whitney could move along the Oilers rebuild in a quick hurry. Good coverage, can play physical and outstanding passer. Perfect for those fleet youg forwards.
  12. What do you like most about his game? The headman pass. He’s terrific.
  13. Who don’t you like about his game? His mobility overall, and his ability to turn specifically. That’s a recent event, obviously due to injury.
  14. Were there any good signs from last season? In an article for the Cult of Hockey, Jonathan Willis took a look inside the numbers and posted interesting findings: Over that first stretch – to mid-February – Whitney had a Fenwick score of +232/-321 over 24 games, meaning that the Oilers were recording 42.0% of positive events with him on the ice, while the opposition was recording 58.0%.  Over Whitney’s final 27 games, that Fenwick score jumped to +324/-345, meaning that the Oilers had 48.4% of positive chances to the opposition’s 51.6%.
  15. How important is he to the team? Very important. If Ryan Whitney can return to previous levels then the blueline makes sense as constructed. A top 4D of Whitney, Smid, Petry and Justin Schultz has a nice range of skills and plenty of options. Plus the depth would be fine with Nick Schultz, Andy Sutton, Theo Peckham and Corey Potter behind them.
  16. If the Oilers could sign only one of Smid or Whitney which one would you prefer? Smid. He’s healthier, younger and less expensive.
  17. What if Whitney was healthy? Even if Whitney has a healthier season I wonder if you can count on him long term. This injury seems unique and Whitney’s money would perhaps be better spent on a player with a better track record health-wise.
  18. So it’ll shorten his career? I don’t know, but if you’re going to spend $4M in cap hit one of the important factors is health. You need that $4M lining up every night.
  19. Could he be part of the future? Yes. Whitney has all kinds of ability and based on the letter worn one suspects he’s a leader. Clearly an intelligent guy, I think he’s a good fit (if healthy).
  20. So you’re not against signing him? No. If he has a healthy season I hope Edmonton gets his name on a contract again. The next 5 years should be very good, but you’re going to need the defenseman who are paid big money to be healthy. That’s the tough item in regard to Whitney.

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22 Responses to "RE 12-13: RYAN WHITNEY"

  1. bookje says:

    We could use some Mike Grier.

  2. jimbones100 says:

    Whitney didn’t impress me with his recent tweets to rub salt in the wound after the soccer game. I lost some confidence is his intelligence after that incident.

  3. gogliano says:

    We could use some Mike Grier popping in his shoulder during the middle of a shift.

  4. Woodguy says:

    I posted this in the July 6th Whitney thread in response to the WIllis thing:

    I looked at Whitney’s last 10 games uses VIc’s Head to Head TOI widget, and Vic’s Single Game Fenwick/Corsi widget. (note: Thanks again Vic!), so see if he was trending back up, and who he was playing against.

    Here’s what I found: (all games had Shultz as main partner)

    April 7 vs. VAN -8corsi Hansen, Booth, Lapieree

    April 5 vs ANA -4corsi Getzlaf, Perry, Blake

    April 2 vs LAK -14corsi Richardson, Kopitar, Brown

    April 1 vs ANA -2corsi Selanne, Cogliano, Koivu

    March 30 vs LAK -18corsi King, WIlliams, Richardson

    March 28 vs DAL -2corsi Benn, Burish, Ott

    March 25 CBJ +7corsi Savard, Prospal, York

    March 23 FLA -5corsi Fleishman, Weiss, Versteeg

    March 22 TBY +6corsi Stamkos, St. Louis, Malone

    March 20 NSH -13corsi Fisher, Kostitsyn, Erat

    So the Oilers were outshot by 53 shots in the last 10 games that Whitney was on the ice.

    Looks like he saw a mixture of comp, trending to about 2nd pairing, close to first pairing.

    I wouldn’t bank on more than 30 games playing 3rd pairing.

    I really hope he exceeds my expectations, he is one of the best 1st pass Dmen in the league.

    A healthy Whitney pushes 2-3 Dman down the depth chart, and unhealthy Whitney ensures Smid plays the toughs and Shultz the elder probably playing above his current ability.

    I hope he can turn, but tendons do not “un-stretch”.

    He may be able to compensate with better overall fitness and stronger muscles in his right leg, but betting on it is a very bad bet.

    Too bad, has a ridiculously good first pass.

  5. OilLeak says:


    We could probably use Mike Grier even at his current age.

  6. SpotTheLoon says:

    I will reserve judgment on Whitney for the time being. The positives are that he has been able to train properly this summer unlike the summer before. Obviously, we all are hopeful that he can return to form. If the tendon issues remain, hopefully, he is able to adapt to the extent that he learns to alter his game to compensate for the limitations concerning mobility. As LT mentions, it will be interesting to see what he looks like at the start of the season and see how well he has recovered, trained and/or adapted.

    As for the comments concerning the soccer, that is nothing more than gamesmanship and chirping the opposition. Yeah, it can leave a bad taste in our mouths but we love it when he does it to the opposition when he is wearing Oiler silks. All part of that competitive nature.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Love Mike Grier, he was an outstanding player as an Oiler.

  8. Rebilled says:

    65 games would be nice.

    That collision with Potter was horrible to watch.

  9. Jesse says:

    What is the likelihood they could sign him to a value contract , even if he has a better season than 11-12?

  10. Jesse says:

    Whitney didn’t impress me with his recent tweets to rub salt in the wound after the soccer game. I lost some confidence is his intelligence after that incident.

    I don’t know. They seemed pretty tongue in cheek. Besides, NHLers get chirped so much on twitter that I can’t blame them for having a bit of fun and playfully ribbing people.

  11. jp says:

    We could use some Mike Grier popping in his shoulder during the middle of a shift.

    May be Whitney can learn to pop his ankle back together mid-shift…
    Sure hope he can make some sort of recovery. What a huge difference it would make.

    And yeah, I miss Mike Grier. Definitely one of my favorites.

  12. PunjabiOil says:

    With Skinner getting 6 years at 5.75M, and Tavares 6 years 5.5M – we can establish a framework at what Hall and Eberle could cost if extended this summer.

    Maybe the Oilers want to wait until say December to ensure Hall’s shoulder is okay, and Eberle is actually a player who didn’t only benefit from the shooting %’s.

    I’m not overly a fan of giving them identical contracts though – but I think that’s inevitable. 6 years at 5.5M is perfectly okay in my books – buys 2 UFA years. Cap hit leaves room for overperformance.

    Wonder what the Oilers brass are thinking

  13. gnikkles says:


    What.ever… He’s an American citizen supporting his country as a fan, not talking to Gene Principe as a hockey player. Opinions and statements like yours are part of the reason players rarely say anything controversial.

    Celebrate the fact that thanks to social media we have access to players and their opinions. Judging him and his intelligence is quite a stretch. How about he’s just being patriotic maybe? Would you respect him more if he said “both teams played with 110% heart and soul” and wasn’t being honest?

    Sheesh. I would love someday the NHL or any sports league would just mic up every player and have no announcers, completely uncensored. You’d probably be upset if they did anything other than say “Good try! Good effort!”

  14. robertosanchezzz says:

    Hey Lowetide, just wanted to say I love your shit. Only complaint I have is that I wish you wrote more often. Great work here, on Oilers Nation and your radio show is right up there with OilersNow! Only reason you’re even close is cause Bobby has the ins (contractually) to get some of the bigger names. Also, Tom Lynn’s a great guest. Get him to be a weekly regular and you’re set. Go Oil! (first time poster so I’d just like to include that I think the oil have a shot this year….at a run to the playoffs. And I’m a pessimist. RE series is deadly. And reasonable. (ebs had a great year, but sustainability is difficult to achieve when such massive heights are reached) love ya in a non faggy way. Roberto

  15. bookje says:

    Hey Lowetide, just wanted to say I love your shit. Only complaint I have is that I wish you wrote more often.

    Yeah, get on it slacker. Where are the articles about the Oilers equipment. What brand of hockey tape does Hall use and what are the stats for that tape vs other tape?

  16. robertosanchezzz says:


    Depends if he wants to go home to Boston or not. I’m sure they’d chance a 4 mill cap hit on him. Or if he’s a grubber…. May want some cheese if his NHL life is gonna be shortened.

  17. robertosanchezzz says:


    /I heard Hall has a BB. True? Ebs likes girls? Shut the front door! Nuge plays video games??? …….cause he’s like 12. Teehee

  18. mattwatt says:

    Watching Whitney this year was hard on the eyes. The talent is still there; his passes out of the zone are sublime and he can still see the play very well. A hockey player he is in mind still.

    But man, was the skating bad. At a Detroit game I went to this year, seeing Whitney turn made me realize that I was watching a tanker turn in the ocean right before my eyes; slow, large radius, and took up a lot of room to perform. I sure hope the man can get better because the team needs him, but after what I witness last year I not willing to bet on it.

  19. OilLeak says:


    /I heard Hall has a BB. True? Ebs likes girls? Shut the front door! Nuge plays video games??? …….cause he’s like 12. Teehee

    Hall has terrible taste in mobile devices…

  20. Truth says:

    Speaking of Whitney and missing training last summer, is Hall able to continue training through summer? I realize a shoulder injury would allow him to continue to skate and whatnot, but I sure hope we’re not having this conversation about Hall after next season. We all know that he isn’t going to be protecting that shoulder one bit as soon as he’s allowed to play.

  21. Lowetide says:

    Hall tweeted the other day that he was one the ice for the first time since surgery.

  22. Jordan says:

    How will they use him? Easy opponents and a zone start push.
    …How did coach Renney use him? Softer minutes, offensive ZS’s …
    …What do you like most about his game? The headman pass. He’s terrific.

    If Whitney’s greatest asset is his ability to transition the puck up ice, wouldn’t giving him a lot of OZ starts take away his greatest asset? I mean, sure I get it as far as the wear and tear increassing playing in the DZ, but if we’re trying to use our pieces effectively… won’t he be best deployed in a role that lets him play to his strengths? You don’t have to skate as far or as fast or worry about breakaways if you’re already in the DZ.

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