Ryan Whitney—Let the Bidding Begin

Matt FilipContributor IFebruary 4, 2009

Pittsburgh is in need of some serious changes as the season progresses past the All-Star break.

It is obvious that what the Penguins have going now is not acceptable for the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. The scouts of the league, as well as some people in Pittsburgh, believe Ryan Whitney will be the next great offensive defenseman in the league.

These people are absolutely wrong.

Conventional wisdom says a player coming back from injury will have a curve to get back to normal playing standards — see Mark Eaton, for example.

Whitney has played in 19 games and is a -12, a terrible stat for a defenseman.

The stat becomes even worse when considering he has 10-points in those games.  In other words, he was on the ice for at least 22 opponent goals in 19 games — unacceptable.

With the emergence of such defensemen like Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski, coupled with the return of Sergei Gonchar, the defensive situation is getting a bit packed.

This is the year to trade for a winger to play with Crosby and Malkin.

Many teams are looking for talented offensive defensemen and the Penguins currently have a goldmine.

Whitney is well respected, a hold great trade value, has a contract with remaining years and is older than other viable options, but with his trade value, Pittsburgh should pursue a winger with a multi-year contract, and helps their salary cap situation.

I look to Ray Shero to make a move this trade deadline. 

He has the negotiating skills to put together a blockbuster deal — a fair deal that will work out for both the Penguins and the other involved team(s).

Here's to hoping he chooses the right players to send away.