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6 Days Until The Season Begins

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Cam Lewis
1 month ago
Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be counting down the days until the Edmonton Oilers begin their 2023-24 season with a daily trip down memory lane. Today at No.6 we have Ryan Whitney, a top-pairing defenceman on the Oilers before his ankles gave out.
The Pittsburgh Penguins selected Whitney with the fifth overall pick in the 2002 draft following his freshman season at Boston University. Whitney played two more seasons playing in the NCAA and suited up for the United States at the 2002 and 2003 World Juniors.
During the NHL lockout in 2004-05, Whitney made the jump to professional hockey with Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He scored 41 points in 80 games and racked up 101 penalty minutes and then added nine points over 11 games in the playoffs.
Whitney started the 2005-06 season in the AHL and got called up to the big league team in November. He scored 38 points over 68 games and logged an average of 23:50 per game as a rookie. The Penguins took a big step forward in 2006-07 and Whitney finished fifth on the team in scoring with 59 points over 81 games.
When Whitney’s entry-level contract expired after the season, he signed a six-year contract with the Penguins worth $4 million annually. Whitney scored 40 points in 76 games in 2007-08 and helped the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings.

Jun 4, 2008; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney (19) passes the puck as he is shoved by Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm (43) during the first period of game six of the Stanley Cup finals at Mellon Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Sackett-USA TODAY Sports

Following that spring’s playoff run, it was revealed that Whitney had been playing through a chronic foot injury throughout the season that was the result of him being born with abnormally high arches. He underwent surgery in the off-season and didn’t make his 2008-09 debut until just before Christmas.
A couple of months later, the Penguins traded Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for forwards Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi. This wound up being an important move for Pittsburgh as Kunitz and Sidney Crosby found chemistry and the Penguins beat the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final in the spring.
Whitney wound up getting traded again the following season. This time, he was dealt to the Oilers along with a sixth-round pick for Lubomir Visnovsky. The trade came shortly after Whitney suited up for the United States in the gold medal game against Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Edmonton Oilers Newspaper Clipping From March 6, 2010.

Whitney got off to a great start during his first full season with the Oilers in 2010-11. He scored 27 points over 35 games and logged 25:20 on average before injuring his foot during a game against the Buffalo Sabres in late December. It was later announced that Whitney would need to undergo surgery and that he wouldn’t return for the season.
Over the next two seasons, Whitney appeared in 85 games and scored 33 points. He wasn’t the same player after that injury and surgery and the Oilers opted to let him walk in free agency at the end of his contract following the 2012-13 season. Whitney played seven games with the Florida Panthers in 2013-14 and with HC Sochi in the KHL in 2014-15 before announcing his retirement.

PLAYER COUNTDOWN PRESENTED BY BETWAY


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