Henry Hank wrote:Whitney's upside is through the roof. His vision is great. He's got the size. He's proven to be an elite producer in the past. We have to look no further than Brooks Orpik to see a defenseman that was a few years into his career before he finally put it together. Just about everyone was ready to give up on Orpik. Whitney hasn't been great since he's come back, but then again he's coming back from a major procedure that alters the very way he functions with that foot. I would expect things to get gradually better, and the time to really judge his progress will be next season.
Whitney's vision is great, no argument. He makes some really good outlet passes. His size is irrelevant because he doesn't use it to his advantage. He's much bigger than Letang, but KL is much more physical. He's had one "elite" season. And in that season, he was still a defensive liability.
Whitney hasn't been great since his comeback, and he wasn't great last year.... at times, he was awful. I'm not going to make injury excuses for a guy that is playing 25 minutes a night.
Henry Hank wrote:A Whitney who is improved on D and returns to his ~60 point level is a ridiculous bargain at $4 million per compared to what some other guys are getting paid. There's too much upside there to consider moving him unless you're getting something back with a similar long-term upside.
A Whitney who never improves on defense and scores 40-50 points per year is ridiculously overpaid - we can play both ends of this. He's not going to ever turn it on with respect to physicality, that train has long left the station. Ryan Whitney is Kevin Hatcher. If you think Hatcher would be a $4MM per year guy in today's NHL, then so be it, I don't think so. The thing is, Gonchar is somewhat a defensive liability, but he's much more sound than Whitney. And he's a much better offensive d-man. And he's bordering on overpaid at 5MM per year.
You consider moving him for a few reasons... one, you have Letang and Gogo. It would be absurd to deal Gogo and keep Whitney, especially if everything is based on potential. Gogo is further along right now than Whitney was at this point of his career, IMO (but I think you'd disagree). The other major reason you think of dealing him is to get that top 6 winger. The Pens would be a better team tomorrow if, for example, they had Nathan Horton on the first line and Gogo stepping in to fill the role vacated by Whitney.