Undoubtedly a lot of trade talk in the coming weeks will centre around Atlanta Thrashers' superstar sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, however our NHL on TSN panel points out that Carolina Hurricanes' veteran forward Ray Whitney could draw plenty of interest from a number of teams, including the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Senators general manager Bryan Murray is looking for offensive help, and he's going to look to a veteran player like Ray Whitney," explains TSN Insider Darren Dreger. "The Hurricanes have a couple of veteran forwards that could be moved - Whitney is one, and Matt Cullen would be another one. Ottawa wants to add that scoring presence, that depth on their second or third line, and Whitney is a cheap add considering that he's an unrestricted free agent on July 1."
"The Pittsburgh Penguins are devoid of wingers and they need some help there," adds TSN Insider Bob McKenzie. "How would Whitney look on a line with Sidney Crosby? Do you think Crosby might like that? Do you think Whitney, who has a no-trade clause, might like that?"
Whitney, 37, has 16 goals and 24 assists in 50 games for Carolina this season. The native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta is in the final year of a three-year contract that pays him $3.55 million this year.
The veteran has suited up for San Jose, Edmonton, Florida, Columbus, Detroit, and Carolina during an NHL career that began in 1991. The NHL on TSN panel says that there are a number of teams that could use a player like Whitney.
"It's not just Pittsburgh, it's Buffalo, Boston, New Jersey, Vancouver, Los Angeles," explains McKenzie. "There are all sorts of teams looking for an injection of offence, and Ray Whitney - who has won a Stanley Cup (with Carolina) and has scored in clutch situations - is exactly what the doctor ordered."
"The Los Angeles Kings' two primary targets (for a trade) - because they need the help up front - are Ilya Kovalchuk and Ray Whitney," adds Dreger. "They can't miss on both of those, and there's a big discrepancy there, but that's the pressure that teams like L.A. are feeling to get into the playoffs."