The Edmonton Oilers will begin a long stretch of games on Thursday night without their top defenseman and leading scorer Ryan Whitney, as he suffered a major ankle injury this week, which is expected to keep him out for at least a month. The reports are suggesting that it could be an even longer stretch of time, if Whitney's ankle requires surgery, which they won't know for a few days yet.
Whitney leaves the Oilers line-up in 7th place among defensemen in scoring this season with 2 goals and 25 assists in 35 games, which has him also ranked 85th in the league in scoring. These were both big improvements to his career numbers, to which he was pace to smash his career-best numbers, which he set in 2010 with 39 points in 81 games.
The Oilers will now have to rely on Tom Gilbert and Kurtis Foster a little bit more, but neither of those defensemen have been close to posting Whitney-type numbers this year.
Not only are the Oilers losing their top defenseman for the long-term, so is Stacey C., who has Whitney in the draft this year. Stacey's defense is in the bottom half of the pool this season and will likely only get lower with the loss of his top guy. However, Stacey still sits in 8th spot in the standings, 25 points out of the money and with players dropping all around, he might not be affected too badly.
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