While some of his mistakes – or, at least his turnovers – might be self-inflicted, it’s tough not to sympathize with Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney. Shortly after signing a six-year, $24 million contract with the team that drafted him, Whitney was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Anaheim Ducks. The Penguins proceeded to win the Stanley Cup that season.
Whitney’s strong offensive game couldn’t overshadow his defensive mistakes in Anaheim either, as they team eventually packaged him in a trade deadline deal to Edmonton for speedy blueliner Lubomir Visnovsky.
While the quality of his teammates declined, Whitney began to really get his legs under him in Edmonton. He had a very impressive 2010-11 season going late into the holidays, as he scored two goals and 25 assists for 27 points in only 35 games. Unfortunately getting his legs under him proved painful, as the offensive defenseman might miss most (if not all) of this season’s remaining games after undergoing ankle surgery on Monday.
The ankle injury kept Whitney out of action since December 28th and it seems like the best case scenario is that he’ll only play a handful of games at the end of the season. It’s tough news for a defenseman who has been a valuable piece for the Oilers.