NHL Trade Speculation: 5 Possible Destinations for Ray Whitney

Riley Kufta@@RileyKuftaContributor IIIFebruary 19, 2012

NHL Trade Speculation: 5 Possible Destinations for Ray Whitney

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    Despite sitting happily in seventh place in the West, with a 7-2-1 record in the last 10, the Phoenix Coyotes are expected to sell this trade deadline, and Ray Whitney may be their most sought after asset.

    Although trading the star veteran would be a horrible idea, the rumors of his availability are enough to get teams interested.  

    Whitney, in my opinion, is one of the most valuable and underrated players on the market heading to the deadline. The left-winger leads the team with 53 points and a plus-20 rating (not bad for a team who's scored just five more goals than it's allowed). 

    What makes him so dangerous, other than the fact that he's 39 years old and has seen and done it all, is that Whitney is quietly a points leader in the NHL.  

    If you were told prior to the season that Whitney would have more points than Joe Thornton, Zach Parise, Alexander Ovechkin, Anze Kopitar and Corey Perry come February, you'd think whoever told you was crazy; and rightfully so. 

    It's even hard to believe now, as he's quietly registered 16 goals and 37 assists. It's the quiet nature of Whitney that makes him so dangerous. Other teams should fear his offensive talent, but they don't. 

    This is the exact type of player teams are looking for down the stretch of the playoffs.  

    If Phoenix does bite the bullet and part ways with Whitney, the following is a list of the five most likely destinations.

5. Boston Bruins

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    The Boston Bruins seem to be the team most tied to the Ray Whitney rumors

    Earlier in the season, the Bruins were the best team in the league, with a good shot at a Stanley Cup repeat. But with a record below .500 in the last 10 and an average of 1.8 goals per game in that time, they need help to be a front-running contender.  

    One thing that could deter the Bruins from pursuing "The Wizard" is that they're already quite deep on the left wing, with both Milan Lucic and Brad Machand naturals at the position. 

    While Marchand has been playing center on the first line, their struggles of late could send him back to the left side. 

    While Whitney would be valuable in any position, playing on the left wing would allow the Bruins to really capitalize on his abilities.  

4. Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Philadelphia Flyers have already been quite active this deadline, but there could be more to come.  

    Rumor has it that Paul Holmgren and Scott Howson are discussing acquiring star forward Rick Nash. Although Philadelphia has been struggling recently, a move of that calibre might be a bit drastic.  

    After all, they are still fourth in the East with the most goals per game in the league. 

    The acquisition of Whitney would make their potent offense even more lethal while filling a void on the left wing.  

3. Colorado Avalanche

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    At 11th in the West, the Colorado Avalanche are still a dark horse to make the postseason. And with just 2.42 goals per game, they need all the help they can get.  

    If the Avalanche are looking to be buyers, a veteran is likely at the top of their wish list, as Milan Hejduk is the only player on the roster who's done and seen it all.  

    With Daniel Winnik as the team's No. 2 left winger, Ray Whitney would be a perfect player to bring in and pick up the slack.  

2. New York Rangers

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    The New York Rangers are another team who have been rumored to be on Rick Nash's "trade list."

    Apart from the fact that the Rangers would have to give up a ton for Nash, why would they risk breaking up a winning roster?

    The Rangers have arguably been the best team in the league this season, and a major deal should not be what they're looking for.  

    Ray Whitney could bring the talent and experience for this winning team to get it done.  

1. Nashville Predators

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    The Nashville Predators are one of the best and youngest teams in the league. 

    In acquiring veteran defender Hal Gill a few days ago, the Predators made their playoff intentions clear. They realize this might be their last season with both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter on the team, and they need to make it count.  

    Last year, the team won its first ever playoff series, and the acquisition of Ray Whitney would allow them to build on that stat. 

    If the Predators are serious about making something of this season, they need to bring experience to their young roster (with an average age of 26.95)

    The left wing is arguably Nashville's weakest position, which could allow Whitney to thrive in what may be his last chance to win the second Stanley Cup of his career.