Ryan Whitney

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Ryan Whitney
Ryan Whitney Oilers.jpg
Whitney in September of 2010
Born (1983-02-19) February 19, 1983 (age 32)
Scituate, MA, USA
Height 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight 209 lb (95 kg; 14 st 13 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Left
Played for Pittsburgh Penguins
Anaheim Ducks
Edmonton Oilers
Florida Panthers
HC Sochi
Modo Hockey
National team  United States
NHL Draft 5th overall, 2002
Pittsburgh Penguins
Playing career 2004–2015

Ryan D. Whitney (born February 19, 1983) is an American former professional ice hockey defenseman. After playing with his high school team from Thayer Academy and the USA National Development Program, Whitney joined the college ranks with Boston University in 2001. Upon completing his freshman year, he was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins fifth overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Following parts of three seasons with the Penguins' minor league affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Whitney played his NHL rookie season in 2005–06. Whitney remained in Pittsburgh for three-and-a-half seasons, helping the club to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in 2010 after a brief stint with the Anaheim Ducks.

Whitney has competed internationally for the United States. He won a silver medal with the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

On September 20, 2015 Ryan announced his retirement from professional hockey.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Whitney enrolled at Thayer Academy, a college-prep school in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1998, and logged significant playing time with their hockey team. Head Coach Jack Foley often paired Whitney, a freshman, with senior Brooks Orpik, his future rival in college (being on separate ends of the Boston College-Boston University Rivalry), and later his teammate on the Pittsburgh Penguins.[2] Whitney's size and skill drew the attention of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. After initially resisting the programs invitations, he left Thayer for the program, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for his senior year of high school.

After graduating from high school, Whitney accepted a full scholarship to play for Boston University under Jack Parker. In his freshman year, he recorded 21 points in 35 games and was named to the 2002 Hockey East All-Rookie Team. He was then selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins, as the fifth overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Upon completing his third year with Boston, he opted to forgo his senior year of college eligibility to turn professional. He was subsequently assigned by Pittsburgh to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, for the 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs. He played in 20 games, recording 10 points, however, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was defeated by the Milwaukee Admirals in the finals.

Following his professional debut in the AHL playoffs, Whitney joined Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the 2004–05 season. Under head coach Michel Therrien, Whitney played in 80 games in 2004–05, recording 41 points and 101 penalty minutes.

Pittsburgh Penguins[edit]

Whitney with the Penguins

Whitney made his NHL debut with Pittsburgh in the 2005–06 NHL season, playing in 68 games. He was called up on October 31, 2005, to replace injured defenseman Dick Tärnström and remained on the team until the season ended. His first NHL goal came on December 1, 2005, against Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.[3] Whitney finished the season with six goals and 32 assists.

In his second NHL season, Whitney emerged as a top offensive defenseman in the league with 59 points in 2006–07. Under the guidance of new general manager Ray Shero, the Penguins improved from a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference the year before, to a playoff berth, with Whitney part of the youth movement in Pittsburgh that included forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and goaltender Marc-André Fleury.[4]

During the 2007 off-season, Whitney signed a six-year, $24 million contract with a no-trade clause, avoiding his pending restricted free agency.[5] His offensive production dropped in the subsequent 2007–08 season, posting 40 points in 76 games. However, the Penguins finished second in the Eastern Conference and Whitney contributed six points in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as Pittsburgh made it to the Finals against the Detroit Red Wings. Pittsburgh was defeated in game six of the series on June 4, 2008.[6]

In the 2008 off-season, it was revealed that Whitney had been suffering from a chronic foot injury throughout the season. It was later discovered that Whitney was born with abnormally high arches (hollow foot) in both of his feet. After an attempt using orthopedic inserts in his skates failed, Whitney underwent osteotomy, a surgical procedure to realign the bones in his left foot, on August 15, 2008. It was expected that Whitney would miss five months of the 2008–09 season. After playing one game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, as part of a conditioning stint, Whitney made his return to Pittsburgh, in a 2–0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, on December 23, 2008.[7]

Anaheim Ducks[edit]

On February 26, 2009, Whitney was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.[8] He scored one goal and five assists during the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, as the Ducks made it to game seven of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, losing to the Detroit Red Wings.[9]

Edmonton Oilers[edit]

On March 3, 2010, Whitney was traded along with a 2010 sixth round draft pick (Brandon Davidson) to the Edmonton Oilers, in exchange for defenceman Ľubomír Višňovský.[10] The deal marked the second time that Whitney had been traded within a year, even though he has a no-trade clause in his contract.[5]

Whitney made his Oilers debut at Rexall Place on March 5, against the Minnesota Wild. His first goal for his new team would come later in the month, as the Oilers defeated the Detroit Red Wings on March 19. Whitney flourished in his new surroundings, as he finished the 2009–10 season in Edmonton with 11 points from 19 games, one of those goals coming against former team, Anaheim. He also tied with injured winger, Aleš Hemský, as the Oilers team leader for plus-minus totals, with +7.[11]

Whitney underwent a second osteotomy in May 2010, this time to realign the bones in his right foot.[12]

On December 28, 2010, in a game against the Buffalo Sabres, Whitney suffered from a right ankle injury.[13] It was later announced that Whitney would miss the remainder of the 2010–11 season, needing surgery.[14]

On April 28, 2013, it was announced that Whitney would not be returning to the Oilers for a fifth season.[15]

Florida Panthers[edit]

On September 29, 2013, Whitney signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers. Whitney appeared scoreless in seven games with the Panthers to begin the 2013–14 season before on November 8, 2013, he was placed on waivers. Unclaimed, Whitney was assigned to the Panthers' AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, for the remainder of the season.


Whitney was an unrestricted free agent following the 2013–14 season. After failing to sign a contract with an NHL, Whitney made a move to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and on October 16, 2014, he signed a contract with HC Sochi.[16] In the 2014–15 season, Whitney scored 19 points in 42 games in the inaugural season for Sochi. As a free agent, Whitney left Russia after one season and signed a one-year contract with Swedish club, Modo Hockey of the SHL on June 24, 2015.[17] Whitney announced his retirement on September 20, 2015 via Twitter.

International play[edit]

Medal record
Ice hockey
Competitor for  United States
Winter Olympics
Silver medal – second place 2010 Vancouver

Whitney first represented USA Hockey at the 2000 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. He played six games, and scored his first international goal. The United States finished the tournament in fourth place.

A year later, he would play in the 2001 IIHF U18 Championships. Whitney picked up a single assist, in six games, as the United States finished in sixth place.

The next year, he moved onto the United States' U20 team at the 2002 World Juniors. It was here Whitney picked up his first international goal. He posted 3 points (one goals and two assists) in seven games, as the United States finished in fifth place.

He would also play the following year in the 2003 World Juniors. Whitney posted better numbers than the year previous, picking up five points (one goal and four assists) in seven games, as the United States finished in fourth place.

With injuries to fellow defensemen Paul Martin and Mike Komisarek, Whitney was selected as a replacement to represent the United States in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, held in Vancouver, British Columbia. This marked Whitney's first time as an Olympic competitor.[18] He and his team were runners-up and won the Silver Medal. It was Whitney's former teammate, Sidney Crosby, who scored the game-winning goal, which saw Canada defeat the United States 3–2, in overtime.[19] Whitney played in all six games, not collecting any points.

During this time, Whitney also wrote a blog throughout the games, sharing his thoughts, feelings and experiences.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Ryan has a younger brother, Sean, who is also an aspiring hockey player. He is currently playing his junior year at Cornell University, as a defenseman.[21]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1999–00 Thayer Academy ISL 22 5 33 38
2000–01 U.S. National Development Team U18 40 7 23 30 64
2000–01 U.S. National Development Team USHL 20 2 8 10 22
2001–02 Boston University HE 35 4 17 21 46
2002–03 Boston University HE 34 3 10 13 48
2003–04 Boston University HE 38 9 16 25 56
2003–04 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 20 1 9 10 0
2004–05 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 80 6 35 41 101 11 2 7 9 12
2005–06 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 9 5 9 14 6 11 1 4 5 8
2005–06 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 68 6 32 38 85
2006–07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 81 14 45 59 77 5 1 1 2 6
2007–08 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 12 28 40 45 20 1 5 6 25
2008–09 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 1 0 1 1 2
2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 28 2 11 13 16
2008–09 Anaheim Ducks NHL 20 0 10 10 12 13 1 5 6 9
2009–10 Anaheim Ducks NHL 62 4 24 28 48
2009–10 Edmonton Oilers NHL 19 3 8 11 22
2010–11 Edmonton Oilers NHL 35 2 25 27 33
2011–12 Edmonton Oilers NHL 51 3 17 20 16
2012–13 Edmonton Oilers NHL 34 4 9 13 23
2013–14 Florida Panthers NHL 7 0 0 0 6
2013–14 San Antonio Rampage AHL 45 7 16 23 52
2014–15 HC Sochi KHL 42 6 13 19 23 4 0 1 1 0
NHL totals 481 50 209 259 383 38 3 11 14 40


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2000 United States WHC17 4th 6 1 0 1 2
2001 United States WJC18 6th 6 0 1 1 8
2002 United States WJC 5th 7 1 2 3 20
2003 United States WJC 4th 7 1 4 5 14
2010 United States Oly 2nd 6 0 0 0 0
Junior totals 26 3 7 10 44
Senior totals 6 0 0 0 0

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-Hockey East Rookie Team 2001–02 [22]
2007 NHL YoungStars Team 2007 [23]


  1. ^ "Ryan Whitney on Twitter". Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  2. ^ Olympic Spirit | News | USA Hockey
  3. ^ Podell, Ira (December 2, 2005). "Rangers run winning streak to six". USA Today. Retrieved August 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ Pittsburgh Penguins – Team
  5. ^ a b "NHL Salary Calculator". CapGeek.com. May 20, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  6. ^ Detroit Red Wings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Recap – June 4, 2008
  7. ^ Lightning shutout Penguins 2–0 in Ryan Whitney's return
  8. ^ Roarke, Shawn P. (February 26, 2009). "Penguins deal Whitney to Ducks for Kunitz, prospect". NHL.com. Retrieved February 26, 2009. 
  9. ^ Ducks at Red Wings – May 14, 2009
  10. ^ Oilers acquire Ryan Whitney
  11. ^ Edmonton Oilers Statistics – NHL Hockey
  12. ^ Whitney steps towards better future
  13. ^ Sabres vs. Oilers December 28, 2010
  14. ^ Oilers Whitney needs surgery on injured ankle
  15. ^ "Ryan Whitney’s days as an Edmonton Oiler over". Edmonton Journal. 2013-04-28. Retrieved 2013-04-28. 
  16. ^ Mahiban, Dhiren (October 16, 2014). "Whitney signs in KHL". Pro Hockey Talk. NBC Sports. 
  17. ^ "Ryan Whitney ready for play in Modo" (in Swedish). Modo Hockey. 2015-06-24. Retrieved 2015-06-24. 
  18. ^ 2010 Vancouver Games: Ryan Whitney of Anaheim Ducks, Tim Gleason of Carolina Hurricanes named as replacements
  19. ^ Men's Gold Medal Game : Schedule and Results : Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics
  20. ^ Ryan Whitney's blog – 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
  21. ^ Eliteprospects.com – Sean Whitney
  22. ^ HockeyEastOnline.com – Hockey East All-Stars
  23. ^ "NHL YoungStars Game Historical Summaries – 2007". National Hockey League. 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Colby Armstrong
Pittsburgh Penguins first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Marc-André Fleury