Whitney a good fit for Habs, Canucks?
On Thursday an article in the Globe and Mail as well as on faceoff.com suggest that free agent left winger Ray Whitney may be sought after by both the Montreal Canadiens as well as fellow Canadian team, the Vancouver Canucks.
This deal makes some sense for the Canadiens despite Whitney’s small stature. At 5-10 178 pounds, he would be yet another small forward on an already small team. However, he excels on the Powerplay, an area that has been less than stellar for the Habs in the last couple of seasons. With 42 powerplay points last season, Whitney would be be a welcome addition to the Canadien’s struggling powerplay. Also, he would come relatively cheap at about 3 million a season. For a reliable scorer who is great on the powerplay this seems quite worth it for a team that has had a stagnant offense.
From the Vancouver standpoint, this deal also makes some sense. Although they don’t have as many offensive problems as the Canadiens, the Canucks are in need of a second line scoring threat to replace Andrew Cassels who left via free agency before last season. With 24 goals and 76 points on Columbus’ second line, he could surely produce on a Canucks line with even more scoring help. Also, he would help make up a great powerpalay unit playing the point with Jovanovski while Bertuzzi, Naslund and Morrison reap havok up front.
Either way, it looks as if Whitney may be heading back to his home country after playing several seasons in Florida and Columbus. He may also get a chance to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999-2000 with Florida.
Overall, if either of these teams does end up signing Whitney, it will probably be Vancouve, looking to match the offense produced by their division counterpart the Colorado Avalanch. With a top six forwards of Forsberg, Sakic, Karya, Hejduk, Selanne and Tanguay, the Canucks have no chance of matching the Avs but a top six of Bertuzzi, Naslund, Whitney, Morrisson, Linden and Cooke isn’t too shabby.