Happy Memorial Day all! I want to personally thank all those who are serving and have served in defense of this whole country! You are the reason we can watch and enjoy hockey and our Dallas Stars.
Well, here’s the next report card and analysis in number order on #13, THE WIZARD, Ray Whitney:
Ray Whitney was brought to Dallas during the 2012-13 lockout season and has been starting for the Stars since. Though his 32 game inaugural season in Dallas was eventful, his most recent season was less than memorable.
Ray Whitney began this season with the Stars after joining the squad the previous season in which he did not disappoint in his 32 game appearance. In the shortened season, he tallied 11 goals and 18 assists and skated primarily on the first and second lines with Jamie Benn, the now-gone Loui Eriksson and Derek Roy among others. He missed 16 games with a hairline fracture in his foot which equals out to 1/3rd of that entire season, but he tried his best to make up for it when on the ice.
This season was similar and different for the 42 year old vet (but it’s not Veteran’s Day, sorry Wiz)…
Whitney appeared in 69/82 games in green in the regular season. He scored 9 goals and gained 23 helpers in the regular season. His numbers have taken a severe downturn over the last year considering last year he had 37 less games to work with. His numbers could be a result of father time, though Whitney says the legs are still there and working like a well-oiled machine. At the season opener in October, he was skating mainly with Eakin and Chiasson, with Horcoff every once in a while in the dot for his line. By the end of the season, Whitney had sank to the 4th line for good skating with Chiasson and Horcoff, along with a little bit of Vern Fiddler. Though 4th lining, he held a first line spot on the power play with Seguin Benn and Chiasson where he performed rather beautifully.
Whitney skated in 5/6 postseason games for the Stars. He took a blank slate into the playoffs and came out with the same result (which means 0 and 0 in the statistics department). He skated in the same scenario as the end of the regular season, 4th line even strength and 1st line PP, and skated in this formation until Game 6 where he was made the healthy scratch and replaced by Erik C0le, which also ended up being his last chance to skate on the ice for the 2013-14 season.
His performance in the playoffs and most of the regular season is cause for worry for the Stars.
Whitney’s contract expires this offseason and he will become a UFA come July 1st barring any actions or offers from Dallas. His salary as well as his cap hit for this past season was $4,500,000, making him the 6th highest paid player on the team. The 42 year old will be able to act as he pleases but retirement is making itself a much more relevant option as each year passes for #13. His decisions vary but he must first wait for the Stars to either make their move or stay quiet and pass him up.
In my opinion:
“If you love something, you have to let it go.”
I have no idea what movie or book this quote is from (but this is hockey talk, not book club, am I right?).
But I feel this quote works well in Whitney’s relationship with Dallas. He has served 2 seasons in Dallas and done an average job during his tenure. But with his 42nd birthday just passing, the age might be catching him (if he was Jagr, age would not be of the worry for the next 30 years or so). But his stat line has just not stood up well against his teammates on a newly developed and young looking roster. Now Whitney could always pick his game up and dust it off and perform spectacular next year if the Stars were to re-sign him, but there is one key word in there: COULD. His career has played out well with a Stanley Cup championship with the Hurricanes and becoming a member of a miscellaneous of clubs (1 of 32 players to record a Game 7 OT winner in playoffs, 1 of 79 players to reach 1,000 regular season points, 62nd all time for regular season points in NHL). The Wiz has enjoyed his time in the league, no doubt, but Dallas’ best bet will probably be to give him a big old hug and tip of the cap, and let him go into the vast pool of free agents, opening up a ton of cap space for the inquisitive and Cup-ready Stars.
I’m still Josh Clark though, not Jim Nill, so don’t worry just yet, Wiz fans (to which I am one, so don’t think I’m being prejudiced to old people).
The bottom line on Ray Whitney:
Ray Whitney has been a well-known name in the league for the last 2 decades. Through his last 2 years though, age has seemed to be the prevailing factor and his numbers have suffered.
The Stars truly only have 2 options:
They could offer him a new contract. In a recent interview with Whitney, he feels as though his legs are still there and that he can still fly with the younglings. He could still be a valuable asset to the Stars RW position and an experienced leader in a potential Cup run this coming season. He proved that he CAN still play even if he’s pinned to the 4th line and power play and averages 9 minutes on the ice per game. If the Stars were to keep him on, their best bet would be to offer him a 1 year deal with a cut in previous pay. It depends on how he performs. It could be a potential risk and if he does not reach his standard, it would almost be a waste of money seeing that his stock would be worthless in a potential trade unless someone was ultimately looking for a player with miles on his wheels and body.
“With great risk comes great reward.”
Still have no idea where these quotes are from but whatever, it works here. Whitney could potentially still be worth the risk, but Ray’s days in Big D are most likely over.
Their other idea would be to dip him into the FA pool and leave him for good. Whitney implied in the same interview that he was not happy about his playing time and felt like he can contribute more but the Stars are constantly holding him back. If the Stars do drop him, major cap space would be opened and the Stars could pursue a free agent center, such as Paul Stastny, Olli Jokinen, or Mike Cammalleri, though Cammalleri would be a longshot, seeing as he is becoming the new face of the Calgary franchise. Nill is looking in earnest and devoted strongly to picking up a second line center that can truly haul the load. Eakin is almost ready, but not there yet entirely. Whitney could end up being the key to a new face in the dot wearing green come next season. If Whitney does take his talents elsewhere (which it sounds like he will), the Stars will have some money to play with (just imagine Jim Nill as the Monopoly man, he’s already got the suit and ‘stache).
The Stars are determined for a Cup push and this offseason could be a key factor in accomplishing that task. They need a few housekeeping items and they could gain them through potential trades and smart moves regarding different players.
Feedback is always welcome! GO STARS