He played just under 500 regular season games in the NHL with some pretty impressive seasons to start his career, but now Ryan Whitney relishes behind the microphone as a member of the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast’s team of hosts.
But it wasn’t all that long ago that Whitney played in the NHL – suiting up for four different teams over that span and seeing himself traded twice during his nine-year tenure.
Drafted in the first round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft – fifth overall – Whitney was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and made his debut in 2005-06. It was there he scored 38 points in 68 regular season games in his rookie season, before tallying a career-high 59 the following year.
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Still, in 2008-09, the Penguins saw an opportunity to move the then-25-year-old to the Anaheim Ducks for pieces that would help them land multiple Stanley Cups.
Penguins Keen on Kunitz
In the deal, the Penguins acquired forwards Eric Tangradi and Chris Kunitz in return for Whitney, but only one of them would end up playing a major role for the Penguins.
|Going to Anaheim||Going to Pittsburgh|
|D Ryan Whitney||F Eric Tangradi|
|F Chris Kunitz|
Tangradi went on to play 45 games for the Penguins over parts of four seasons from 2009 to 2013 before he was moved out to Winnipeg. Over that span he notched just one goal and five points in just under 10 minutes of average ice-time.
But the piece that the Penguins were looking for came in the form of Kunitz – a smaller but feisty forward who would get a chance to play on a line with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh.
Kunitz went on to play in parts of nine seasons with the Penguins – collecting 388 points in 569 games during the regular season. He averaged nearly 18 minutes of ice-time while with the Penguins and had an all-star season in 2012-13 when he notched 52 points in 48 games during the shortened season. The following year, he recorded a career-high 68 points in 78 games at the age of 34.
During his Penguins career, he also maintained a 54.9 Corsi-For Percentage (CF%) while play a major role on the Crosby line for the majority of his time in Pittsburgh. On top of that he played in 126 postseason games for the Penguins, recording 23 goals and 76 points on route to three Stanley Cups with the Pens.
Whitney Lands in the Pond
On the other side, Whitney landed in California with the Ducks. He played out the remainder of the 2008-09 season and started the 2009-10 season before they, too, traded him to the Edmonton Oilers late in the year.
He played just 82 games for the Ducks, but did his job in that time. Noted as a offensive player with size and grit, he tallied four goals and 38 points in 82 games during the regular season for the Ducks. On top of that, he added another six during a 13-game postseason run in 2008-09, but the Ducks still saw it fit to move the big blueliner the following year – even after he won a silver medal as a member of the American Olympic team in 2010.
He played parts of four seasons with the Oilers before a handful of games with the Panthers in 2013-14. From there he made the jump to the KHL, followed by the SHL and finally into the podcasting world.
Either way, it’s safe to say that even with the dud that was Tangradi, the Penguins pulled a good piece in Kunitz from the Ducks, while Whitney was cast out to teams that did have the same supporting role as the Penguins did during his tenure.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.