The Edmonton Oilers may not have experienced the amount of success they were hoping for during the 2013 season, but with nearly every player coming back for next season they should start the 2013-14 campaign with a chance to bounce back. They do have a few players in search of new deals, and while Sam Gagner is a player they would be wise to bring back on the offensive end, the same can be said for Ryan Whitney on the defensive end.
Whitney scored four goals and had 13 points in the 34 games he played in this season, which was an above-average offensive contribution for him. He was second among defensemen on the team in points, trailing only rookie Justin Schultz. As the Oilers look for more out of young players like Schultz and Jeff Petry, bringing back a veteran like Whitney makes a lot of sense. This was Whitney’s fourth season with the Oilers, and he once again proved able to contribute on the power play. Whitney had seven assists while the Oilers had the man-advantage, once again trailing only Schultz among the team’s blueliners.
The pressing issue working against Whitney coming back will be his price. He had a cap hit of $4 million last season, and could be in line for a slight bump from that. If Gagner is re-signed and gets a salary bump, there may not be enough left for Whitney too. He’s been in the league since the 2005-06 season, but is still only 30 years old and showed this season that he still has something left in the tank. If the price is right, he’d be a great piece for the Oilers to bring back.