RYAN'S HOPE

Lowetide
March 02 2013 09:06AM

There's not an Oiler fan alive who isn't wishing the best for Ryan Whitney. It was heartening to see him play a solid game and score a goal last night for the blue and orange. Is this a preview of coming attractions?

It's kind of funny, but not really. Ask NHL observers what the Oilers need and you get a description that matches Ryan Whitney's skill set.

Whitney healty is a helluva player, especially with the puck. His goal last night showed his offensive instincts remain true, and as a passer he is top drawer.

It's been a trying season for Whitney, he's been a healthy scratch a lot lately and for a guy making that kind of coin not playing is beyond frustrating. However, Whitney has held his tongue (showing frustration but not lashing out) and last night's game surely means we'll see him as a regular as long as the performance level is sustainable.

Jonathan Willis player grades from last night

#6 Ryan Whitney, 7. Found some open ice and scored the Oilers other goal in what was obviously a nice moment for him, given his time in the pressbox of late. Krueger praised Whitney when asked about his play after the game and the improvised third pairing of Whitney/Peckham fared quite well, on the ice for six Oilers chances at even-strength and only one chance against. - See more at: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/03/01/oilers-player-grades-dispirit-in-st-louis/#sthash.rMN1LtNl.dpuf
#6 Ryan Whitney, 7. Found some open ice and scored the Oilers other goal in what was obviously a nice moment for him, given his time in the pressbox of late. Krueger praised Whitney when asked about his play after the game and the improvised third pairing of Whitney/Peckham fared quite well, on the ice for six Oilers chances at even-strength and only one chance against. - See more at: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/03/01/oilers-player-grades-dispirit-in-st-louis/#sthash.rMN1LtNl.dpuf
#6 Ryan Whitney, 7. Found some open ice and scored the Oilers other goal in what was obviously a nice moment for him, given his time in the pressbox of late. Krueger praised Whitney when asked about his play after the game and the improvised third pairing of Whitney/Peckham fared quite well, on the ice for six Oilers chances at even-strength and only one chance against. - See more at: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/03/01/oilers-player-grades-dispirit-in-st-louis/#sthash.rMN1LtNl.dpuf
#6 Ryan Whitney, 7. Found some open ice and scored the Oilers other goal in what was obviously a nice moment for him, given his time in the pressbox of late. Krueger praised Whitney when asked about his play after the game and the improvised third pairing of Whitney/Peckham fared quite well, on the ice for six Oilers chances at even-strength and only one chance against. - See more at: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/03/01/oilers-player-grades-dispirit-in-st-louis/#sthash.rMN1LtNl.dpuf

ABOUT THAT TRADE....

If the Oilers do decide to send him away, performances like last night's will only improve his value and make him more attractive to prospective teams. I don't think the Oilers would have considered dealing him if Whitney was performing at previous levels, but if their plan is go in another direction they are best served by getting it done sooner than later.

Last night makes that easier and should bring back more value. If Whitney can repeat that performance tomorrow, then the value increases--although I still don't have a good reason for the Oilers to trade an effective Ryan Whitney.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

CAN Ryan Whitney play NHL defense? If he can, then he's pretty much what the Oilers are looking for. Last night, in St. Louis, the Edmonton Oilers and their fans "saw him good."

Can he repeat that performance?

We wait.

The Radio show hits the airwaves today at noon Edmonton time on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Tyler Dellow from mc79hockey. Tyler has been delivering outstanding work for years now, and this season has written items on the Gagner-Hemsky mystery, powerplay zone entries, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Whitney and more. We'll talk about those things and more, while attempting to reassure each other about Hall.
  • Jim Byers, pbp man for the OKC Barons. I've been dying to talk to Jim about this season. The NHLers were flying early, giving the Baron faithful a taste of young talent at the top levels of the game. Now, the AHLers are back (Cheechoo is killing it) and some of the prospects are getting traction. We'll talk to Jim about it.
  • Corey Graham, pbp man for the Edmonton Oil Kings. There's a buzz going on about Curtis Lazar (now has 35 goals) and we'll talk to Corey about improvements in his game during the year. Also, Martin Gernat is back and the very talented Oilers draft pick is beginning to post numbers offensively. Moroz and more, we'll also talk about the OK chances in the playoffs.
  • Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus. It's all about the 2013 draft, with the Jones-MacKinnon-Drouin at the top and some of the guys pushing into the top 5. We'll talk about overall draft quality and then discuss some Oiler prospects Corey's seen recently.
  • Tom Lynn from Veritas Hockey. We'll talk about the difficulty of figuring out the new CBA (perhaps Jay Feaster can tune in), how much impact the lockout had on players in Europe and the draft and preparing kids for that big day.

Comments and questions welcome, best way to reach me with comments and questions is lowetide_ on twitter or in the comments section. Looking forward to it!

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 oilerfodder
March 02 2013, 09:18AM
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To whitneys Fist goal of the year.

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#2 KSC10032
March 02 2013, 09:19AM
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Another issue @ Whitney is -- should he somehow manage to regain his pre-injury level of play -- the chances of his re-signing after this season.

If he regresses to early season struggles, we can't get any return in trade. If he gets all the way back, he will have a LOT of FA options come July. And one must wonder how much damage has been done to his elationship with club management and coaching @ being a HS so often.

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#3 pelhem grenville
March 02 2013, 09:47AM
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...are there any pictures of Wanye and his dancing bear from last nites' Nation 5 Year Birthday Party?

LT...did u do your signature lamp shade thing?

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#4 Czar
March 02 2013, 11:18AM
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We need all the Ryan's bringing their "A" game to stay in the playoff hunt.

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#5 VK63
March 02 2013, 12:17PM
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In support of whitney he has jumped in to the rush on other occasions and been wide open.... but alas..... the turnover twins had other designs on what constituted a positive play.

Kind of too bad, as a couple more genos on Whitneys timeline would be nothing but good for his psyche and that of the team.

IMO on his worst day he is still a superior player to Potter.

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#6 OilClog
March 02 2013, 01:51PM
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@VK63

No, he's not when he's out there trying to protect the goal he's about as useful as a pylon. Get beaten everytime, someone needs to teach the man how to poke check or something. Make up for his feet.

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#7 Hayek
March 02 2013, 02:24PM
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The thing about Whitney is that Oilers have to think long term on him. He is UFA at the end of this season, and we don't want to lose him for nothing. For what some team will (over)pay him next year, Oilers are probably not willing to do that. We need to maximize the return we can get on him.

If we play him, it likely hurts the team. But if we think long term, we should play him like crazy on the 1st PP, give him a premium defence partner, and shelter his minutes as much as possible. I'd obviously not advocate this from a coaching perspective, but from that as a GM. I don't know if this is possible for Krueger as with his pedigree, his job is likely not that safest in the league.

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#8 bazmagoo
March 02 2013, 03:02PM
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Whitney at 50% is better than Potter at 100%. Playing Whits on the 5-6 pairing with one of Fistric, Peckham, or Potter can only help our team.

We should still deal him at the deadline though, a 2nd round pick or prospect would be a legit return. Unfortunately I just don't think he fits in the future plans in e-town.

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#9 Hayek
March 02 2013, 03:51PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Whitney at 50% is better than Potter at 100%. Playing Whits on the 5-6 pairing with one of Fistric, Peckham, or Potter can only help our team.

We should still deal him at the deadline though, a 2nd round pick or prospect would be a legit return. Unfortunately I just don't think he fits in the future plans in e-town.

50% Whitney is not better than 100% Potter. Don't make such unintelligent comments.

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#10 a lg dubl dubl
March 02 2013, 04:02PM
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Hayek wrote:

50% Whitney is not better than 100% Potter. Don't make such unintelligent comments.

50% Whitney and 100% Potter still equals a sh!t show lol.

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#11 a lg dubl dubl
March 02 2013, 04:05PM
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Whitney is gone at the deadline or just before July 4th, unless he's willing to re-up for a 3.5/2yr contract.

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#12 Smokey
March 02 2013, 07:58PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Whitney is gone at the deadline or just before July 4th, unless he's willing to re-up for a 3.5/2yr contract.

I don`t know if he gets that kinda dough and term, quite a profound risk to dump nearly 4 mil into a guy with a declining cap. You gotta think the Oilers with their need for high end offensive defencemen will probably pass unless the guy has a complete rebirth. Mike Milbury`s outta the league now, however I grant that Garth Snow and Jay Feaster are still lurking, I just don`t see it.

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#13 David S
March 02 2013, 08:35PM
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Unless Whitney has a MAJOR turnaround, who cares if we "lose him for nothing"? That's pretty much what he's worth anyways. Unless of course every other team in the league doesn't have access to stats and video replay, in which case we might just get some sucker GM to take a chance on him.

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#14 Dog Train
March 02 2013, 09:24PM
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I'm not sure that Whitney will ever get all the way back to his old self but last night was a good sign. For this team to be a playoff team, we need a healthy and effective Whitney. Hopefully, this slow start will just lower his dollar value. We could just as easily move him for a pick at the deadline but if we are in the mix, then that doesn't make much sense with how starved this franchise is for a playoff berth. If we move him, then we are looking for a top-four LD who can move the puck. It might be easier to just re-sign Whitney if he shows signs of returning to his old form.

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#15 michael
March 03 2013, 08:24AM
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Whitney is mad as heck and played like it against ST Loius. His desire to play here in Edmonton is a plus. His on ice play has been mostly negative. The overall body of work does not indicate that he is done.But it certainly points to several deficiencies in his game. His passing is still there. But his biggest issue this season has been hesitancy and decision making on the ice. His head space has been elsewhere.There have been times when I have asked myself what was he thinking. Certainly the coaches have felt the same way.The game is 90% mental and the other 50% is physical(Yogism).

If he can elevate his game and bring that same passion we saw the other night in ST Lou we might have an asset that is worth keeping. There are teams like New Jersey who could use a Ryan Whitney.Or Tampa Bay and Philly. Detroit? Just to name a few. Whitney's dollar value moving forward with the Oilers has dropped significantly. % million a year is fantasy. The real number for Whitney may be in the 1.8 and less catergory. Ryan has played himself into a contract that will see him make a whole lot less than his agent thinks he is worth.

What is the value of Adam Larsson currently in New Jersey? Could NJ be wooed into parting with him for a package of picks and prospects.

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