Stars' Ray Whitney mulling retirement at age 42
Ray Whitney may retire before next season unless he can find the right situation for him and his family. At 42, his options could be limited.
For more than 20 years, Ray Whitney has been part of the National Hockey League. The man known as “The Wizard” just wrapped the 22nd NHL season he’s appeared in, skating in 69 games with the resurgent Dallas Stars at 41 years old. With his contract set to expire this summer after a season in which he was lightly used, Whitney may not have many options to continue his playing career.
In a conversation with the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson, Whitney expressed disappointment with how he was used by the Stars this season – he was essentially relegated to special teams play and very few shifts otherwise – and knows there won’t be many teams looking for an aging forward. He turns 42 on Thursday, but feels he still can play.
Whitney won’t play just anywhere, though, citing his desire to stay west, ideally with the Coyotes, to be near his family’s home in Phoenix.
More from the Edmonton Journal:
“It was not a great year [in Dallas] … I’m not sure there are a whole lot of options out there,” Whitney admitted. “The legs are still there, but it’s nearly impossible to get the legs moving when you’re over 40 and playing eight to 10 minutes and only on the power play.”
“Phoenix could be the easiest solution, but I don’t know what their plans are. My daughter’s in Grade 7 now and it’s time to get her settled, get the family all set. Moving around is all done for them.”
So this could be the end of the line for Whitney, who broke into the league with the San Jose Sharks and spent time with the Oilers, Panthers, Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Hurricanes, Coyotes and Stars. He won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with Carolina and actually had one of the most productive seasons of his career at age 39 with Phoenix in 2011-12, when he posted 77 points in 82 games.
This year was a far cry from that, though. Whitney put up just 32 points this year, the lowest total he’s had in a season in which he played at least 60 games. He was nearly a point-per-game player in 2012-13, when he put up 29 points in just 32 games however, so there just may beat least a little something left in the tank in the right situation.
With such a specific desires in terms of destination and with last season being the first real hint of his skills declining, retirement seems imminent. Whitney told the Journal he would like to work in management with a league sometime in the near future after he hangs up the skates for good.
Over his career, The Wizard was thrilling to watch. He posted 1,064 points in 1,330 games, topping 20 goals nine times including two 30-plus goal seasons.
Selected in the 1991 NHL Draft in the second round by San Jose, Whitney is the only player left in the league from that draft class. Teemu Selanne, who was drafted in 1988 will retire after this season, while 1990 draftee Martin Brodeur’s status for next year remains unclear. Fellow 1990 selection Jaromir Jagr will play on, though.
For those of us that grew up on early 1990s hockey, these next few years are going to be tough as the remaining great players of the era dwindle away.
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