Welcome back to another episode of "Name that Panther!" If you would like to know how the list was puzzled together, click here for all the relevant details.
In yesterday's article, we looked at two-time fan favorite and career Panther leader with 16 shorthanded goals, Radek Dvorak (613 games, 113 goals, 155 assists). Today, we take a gander at a 20 year NHL veteran who spent three and a half very productive seasons in South Florida.
To read more, follow the jump.13. Ray Whitney
Whitney, a 5'10" left winger from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, was a star player for the WHL Spokane Chiefs. He increased his offensive statistics in each of his three seasons with the club: 71 games, 17 goals, 33 assists in 1988-89, 71 games, 57 goals, 56 assists in 1989-90, and 72 games, 67 goals, 118 assists in 1990-91. After the season, the San Jose Sharks selected him in the second round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, 23rd overall.
1991-92 would be a very busy year for Whitney. He spent the bulk of the season with the IHL San Diego Gulls (63 games, 36 goals, 54 assists), making token appearances with the Sharks (two games, zero goals, three assists), the Canadian National Team (five games, one goal, zero assists), and Cologne EC in Great Britain (10 games, three goals, six assists). 1992-93 would see him split the season between the Sharks (26 games, four goals, six assists) and the IHL Kansas City Blades (46 games, 20 goals, 33 assists).
Starting in 1993-94, Whitney would enjoy three uninterrupted seasons in the bigs with San Jose (160 games, 44 goals, 62 assists). After starting out slow with the Sharks in 1996-97, (12 games, zero goals, two assists), he would end up spending most of the season with the IHL Utah Grizzlies (43 games, 13 goals, 35 assist), also making a brief appearance with the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades (nine games, one goal, seven assists). The writing was on the wall, and Whitney's services were not retained by San Jose.
Before the 1997-98 season, Whitney signed a free agent contract to play for the Edmonton Oilers. After totalling one goal and three assists in his first nine games, Edmonton placed him on waivers. Florida was more than happy to pick him up in what was probably the best waiver wire grab in team history. He got onto the scoresheet in each of his first seven games and in nine of his first ten with the Panthers, culminating in a two goal, two assist effort on November 26th in a 10-5 dismantling of the Boston Bruins. He then started out December with a five game point streak (one goal, six assists). He had 15 multi-point games that season, including five two-goal efforts. He would lead the team with 32 goals on 156 shots, a better than 20 percent success rate. He also pitched in with a team second best 29 assists, leading the team with 61 points. He led the team with a plus-10 rating and 12 power play goals, getting caught for only 28 penalty minutes. He was the unquestioned offensive leader of the club, even though he only appeared in 68 games.
1998-99 would see Whitney put up 14 multipoint games, including a four point night (one goal, three assists) on November 28th in a 6-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. He averaged 18:20 through 81 games for the Cats, again leading the club with 26 goals (on 193 shots), 38 assists, 64 points, seven power play goals, and six game winners. He collected a minus-3 rating and only 18 penalty minutes.
In 1999-00, Whitney slightly increased his offensive output, scoring a team second best 29 goals on 198 shots (second to future Hall-of-Famer Pavel Bure's 58). He also ranked second on the team with 42 assists and 71 points. He averaged 18:41 in 81 Panthers games, ranking fourth on the team at plus-16, also spending 35 minutes in the box. He figured onto the scoresheet frequently to start out the season, with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in his first 15 games. He enjoyed 16 games where he had more than one point, including a season opening effort (two goals, one assist) in a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals. He added one goal in four playoff games as the Panthers were swept from the opening round by the New Jersey Devils.
In 2000-01, Whitney played in 43 games for the Panthers. On October 30th, he dished out four assists in a 6-5 losing effort to the Devils. In 17:41 per game, he scored 10 goals on 117 shots with 21 assists, 28 penalty minutes, and a minus-16 rating. The Panthers traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets with "future considerations" on March 13th for Kevyn Adams and a fourth round pick (Michael Woodford). Yeah, we lost that one.
Whitney played in parts of three seasons with Columbus (151 games, 45 goals, 95 assists). He would later play with the Detroit Red Wings (67 games, 14 goals 29 assists), the Carolina Hurricanes (372 games, 119 goals, 215 assists) and the Phoenix Coyotes (157 games, 41 goals, 93 assists). He was recently signed by the Dallas Stars to a two-year, $9,000,000 contract.
All-Time Statline: Four seasons, 273 games, 97 goals (ninth all-time), 130 assists (10th all-time), 227 points (10th all-time), plus-7 rating, 109 PIM, 25.5 APS.
Thanks for checking us out today. Make sure to come back next week as we look into three forwards and two defensemen in the rankings from 12 through eight.