Trade: Whitney Dealt to Ducks

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    The trade went down earlier today and involves a prospect and a shooter from the Ducks.

    To Pittsburgh: Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi
    To Anaheim: Ryan Whitney

    Ryan Whitney, who has only played 28 games this season for Pittsburgh due to a foot injury, has 2 goals and 11 assists on the year. Whitney was considered the odd man out, and with good reason. Now that Sergei Gonchar had returned, and Alex Goligoski is proving to be nothing short of the offensive defenseman to take over for the absence of Whitney, there was nothing really holding the Pens back from moving him.

    The addition of Chris Kunitz, who still has 3 years left on his contract, is the player the organization believes to be the missing piece on a line with Crosby. Kunitz is expected to fill the void left by Armstrong in last year’s deal, and gaining a prospect in Tangradi was almost a replacement piece from dealing away Esposito. The trade looks more like a “patching-up” necessity than an actual pitch to increase the skill on the team.

    In 62 games played this season, Kunitz has netted 16 goals with 19 assists for 35 points on the year with a +9 on the Anaheim lineup. He may not be the explosive sniper people were expecting, but provided with the right chemistry, Kunitz has always looked like he was ready to break out. The Pens hope that holds true once Chris joins up with Crosby.

    What makes the trade that much more interesting is the addition of Eric Tangradi. For those who do not know him, here’s a bit of insight:

    Eric plays for the Belleville Bulls in the OHL, and this year has scored 38 goals, 49 assists and 87 points in 52 games. He was selected in the 2nd round of the 2007 Entry Draft. “He’s still finding out, and we’re trying to convince him every day, just how good he can be.” That quote from Tangradi’s coach with the Belleville Bulls tells a lot about the Philadelphia native. “He features all the tools to be a dominating force on the ice, from size and strength, to offensive ability and vision, to strong skating ability and a rough-and-tumble style. The only missing piece with Tangradi is putting it all together and continuing to fill the role of a power forward on the ice.”

    That’s right, Pens fans, at 6’3” and 214lbs, Tangradi is nothing short of adding a Todd Bertuzzi in his prime to the organization. After losing Roberts and Laraque this offseason, this could be the best trade in years for the Penguins. Tangradi could be in the lineup as early as the start of next season, and given he continues his “power strides” forward, he could be on the top two lines immediately upon making the club. He could be exactly what the organization lacked, and despite all the trades that will go down – and they will go down – between now and the deadline, years from now, this very well be the one that we all remember.

    Consider what Ian White’s trade value is worth. He plays similar minutes per game, has 19 points in 50 games played, may not be as good as Ryan Whitney, but considering they can both provide the same style of game you wonder if this sets the bar, once again, for the players the Leafs have to offer. Could Ian White have landed the Leafs a Chris Kunitz or an Eric Tangradi? Better yet, should the Leafs even trade White?

    Micheal A. Aldred
    [email protected]