Tag: Ray Whitney

Ray Whitney

Ray Whitney is just kind of waiting for a team to call


Ray Whitney is one of a handful of veteran players that has yet to sign on with a new team. At 42 years old and having been in the NHL since 1992, it might be a little tricky for him to score a deal with a team.

If that sounds like the kind of situation that would bother a player that’s been around as long as he has, think again. Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.com caught up with Whitney to find out he’s not exactly stressing out about not having a new contract.

“I’m in shape, I’m skating, but I’m not too worried,” Whitney said. “There’s obviously limitations to where I would go, but I’m not out there searching for anything, either.”

Whitney said he won’t keep skating for much longer as the clock ticks down towards the start of training camp – now two weeks away – and his interest in playing wanes more as time rolls on.

Last season with the Dallas Stars, Whitney had nine goals and 23 assists in 69 games – his lowest full-season point output since 2003-04 with the Detroit Red Wings.

If this is the end of the road, it’s been a heck of a run that’s taken him into parts of three decades and netted him a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Could Dallas be a big player this week?

Jim Nill

For all the rumors and speculation being bandied about, things have been awfully quiet out of Dallas over the last week or so.

And perhaps that’s intentional.

Last year, his first on the job, Stars GM Jim Nill let his actions to the talking — he acquired the rights to Sergei Gonchar and inked him to a $10 million deal, orchestrated the Tyler Seguin blockbuster and acquired Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff within weeks of being on the job.

The result? Dallas made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons and Nill received four first-place votes as NHL GM of the Year.

Nill should be watched with great interest as he readies for an encore performance. Calgary GM Brad Treliving has already tabbed this as “volatile of a draft week as we’ve seen in recent memory,” and it’s clear all 30 NHL clubs hold the potential to do something big.

Earlier this week, PHT spoke with Jarret Bousquet of Titan Management, the agent for Dallas defenseman Brenden Dillon and forward Cody Eakin. While he did confirm he’s spoken with Nill about new deals for both clients — Dillon and Eakin are pending RFAs — it sounds as though extensions aren’t imminent as the Stars are intently focused on the draft and UFAs right now.

Makes sense, given how Dallas is positioned at the moment.

Nill’s spent this offseason mostly clearing the decks — he used one of the club’s two compliance buyouts on defenseman Aaron Rome and informed veterans Ray Whitney and Tim Thomas they wouldn’t be brought back. The Stars also made an offer to versatile center Vern Fiddler, which was rejected as he plans to test free agency.

As such, Dallas now has 15 players under contract for next season at around $48 million — meaning it has roughly $22 million in available space. Nill has played coy about what sort of budget he’s working with (“We’re not a cap team or a floor team,” he told the Dallas Morning News) and it’s clear from last summer he’s got the green light to be aggressive and make big moves.

At this point, it’s probably worth mentioning the guy who signs Nill’s cheques — Dallas owner Tom Gaglardi. This past year was Gaglardi’s first full 82-game season as owner since purchasing the club in November of 2011 and while snapping the club’s playoff drought pleased him, Gaglardi sees it more as the first step in turning things around. He hasn’t been shy about doing whatever it takes to accelerate that process — from the new uniforms to aggressive ticket marketing plans to reconnecting with the club’s history (remember the epic Mike Modano jersey retirement ceremony?) — and he re-iterated as much following the team’s opening-round loss to Anaheim.

“It was a special moment, because I know how important it is to make the playoffs, and the fans know that too,” Gaglardi explained. “That’s the first step, and you want to take it as soon as possible, because everything gets accelerated after that.”

So yeah. Maybe keep an eye on Dallas this week.

‘It was not a great year’ in Dallas, says Whitney

Ray Whitney

For all the bright spots in Dallas this season — the emergence of the Tyler Seguin-Jamie Benn duo, a playoff appearance for the first time in five years — things weren’t all that great for veteran forward Ray Whitney.

Whitney, the NHL’s fourth-oldest player, said his reduced role with the Stars and lack of minutes made for a less-than-satisfactory experience.

“It was not a great year — I’m not sure there are a whole lot of options out there,” Whitney said, per the Edmonton Journal. “The legs are still there, but it’s nearly impossible to get the legs moving when you’re over 40 and playing eight to 10 minutes and only on the power play.”

Whitney, 41, appeared in just 69 games for the Stars, scoring nine goals and 32 points. Considering his contract (at $4.5 million, the fourth highest-paid forward on the team) and previous production — just two years removed from a 24-goal, 77-point campaign — the year was a disappointment, though Whitney does acknowledge his slide down the lineup was deserved.

“After the first 10 games, I was on the second line, but the last three or four months, it was the fourth. They went with youth and they do have some good kids. I can’t deny that.”

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Whitney next season. He admitted teams likely won’t be “banging down the doors” to sign him, but the possibility of working in an NHL front office is something he’s intrigued by.

And if retirement is the play? Well, Whitney will walk away with a pretty solid career. He currently sits 63rd all time in NHL scoring, with 1,064 points, while capturing a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006.

And then there were 12: Stars eliminated

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars - Game Six

For more entries in this series, click here.

When it comes down to it, the Dallas Stars’ 2013-14 season assessment probably boils down to perspective.

Some will look at the team blowing a two-goal lead with its playoff hopes on the line and feel quite sour. Others will accentuate the positive in the Stars even getting as far as to push the Western Conference’s top team to six (and almost seven) playoff games, even in the first round.

There’s no debating that the Ducks won it 4-2 after a stunning overtime win in Game 6, however.

  • Change was in the air for the Stars overall.
  • Long-time Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff took over in Dallas and helped the team make it back to the playoffs after edging some stout competition, particularly in the Phoenix Coyotes.
  • The Stars drew Detroit Red Wings GM Jim Nill to the Lone Star State with considerable initial results.
  • Most importantly, Dallas gave face-of-the-franchise Jamie Benn a partner-in-crime in Tyler Seguin, who proved definitively that he’s a top-line forward in the NHL (if there was any doubt in Boston).
  • The Stars even enjoyed a nice bit of early returns in the draft, as Valeri Nichushkin became an immediate impact player.
  • The franchise did a nice job giving Kari Lehtonen useful backup support, first with Dan Ellis and then by trading Ellis for Tim Thomas.
  • Dallas seems to be mixing wide-open offensive talent in the form of Benn and Seguin with players who have a knack for getting under opponents’ skin, particularly in Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt.
  • Ultimately, it likely comes down to how Nill decides to support what’s looking like an increasingly promising core. While Shawn Horcoff enjoyed strong playoff performances, former stalwarts such as Ray Whitney slipped to the point of being healthy scratches.

While the Blues find themselves asking big questions and the Red Wings wonder how many runs are left in them, the Stars seem to face a bright future. Still, the Ducks highlighted that there’s still plenty of work to do.

Report: Stars will scratch Ray Whitney tonight

Ray Whitney

With Dallas on the brink of elimination going into Game 6 against Anaheim Ducks, the Stars will scratch 41-year-old Ray Whitney for the first time in this series, according to TSN’s Aaron Ward.

Whitney is a veteran of 108 playoff games and won the Stanley Cup with Carolina back in 2006, but his role in this series has been limited. He has no points, a minus-one rating, and has averaged just 11:26 minutes per contest.

In his place, it looks like Erik Cole will draw back into the lineup. He skated alongside Chris Mueller and Valeri Nichushkin this morning, per Stars.nhl.com’s Mark Stepneski.

Based on the morning skate, Dallas is also projected to start Kari Lehtonen tonight. He allowed five goals on 21 shots in Game 5 before he was pulled.

That being said, Stars coach Lindy Ruff wasn’t willing to confirm that there would be any lineup changes.