In their biggest move on a busy day, the Ducks have traded defenseman Ryan Whitney and a sixth-round draft pick in 2010 to the Edmonton Oilers for Lubomir Visnovsky.
The 33-year-old Visnovsky scored 10 goals and 32 points in 57 games for the Oilers. He led the team with 17 power-play points (four goals, 13 assists).
Both players appeared in the Olympics last week, Visnovsky for fourth-place Slovakia and Whitney for the silver-winning United States.
“Lubomir Visnovsky is a skilled defenseman with a proven track record,” general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “We feel this is a major addition for us, not only for our stretch drive but going forward.”
Whitney, 27, had four goals and 28 points in 62 games this season, and his 13 power-play points were sixth on the team. On Tuesday, Whitney posed at center ice along with Anaheim’s seven medal-winning Olympians, but those would be his last images with the Ducks.
Whitney told TSN on Wednesday that he was surprised by the trade.
“Bob (Murray) called me about an hour ago and said it’s not working here,” he said. “That’s a business decision. Unfortunately it didn’t work out here. I really enjoyed my time here.
“I don’t know why it didn’t work out. … it’s a change, but that’s the business.”
Anaheim absorbs an extra $1.6 million toward the salary cap. Visnovsky is signed through 2013, with a cap hit of $5.6 million each season while Whitney, also signed through 2013, had a cap hit of $4 million.
In terms of salary, Visnovsky becomes the Ducks’ highest-paid player this season, when he is owed $7 million. His front-loaded contract tails off from there, paying $6 million, $5 million and $3 million each of the next three seasons. Whitney’s contract was back-loaded, starting at $4.5 million next season and increasing by $500,000 each season.
Only Scott Niedermayer (26:14) was averaging more time on ice for the Ducks than Whitney (24:33). Visnovsky averaged 20:45 TOI per game in Edmonton but will probably see his ice time rise as the clear number two defenseman.
Whitney appeared in 20 regular-season games for Anaheim last season after being acquired from Pittsburgh (for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi) and posted 10 assists. In 13 playoff games last season, he posted a goal and five assists.
In addition to Visnovsky, the Ducks have received Curtis McElhinney, Joey MacDonald and Aaron Ward, and given up Whitney, Justin Pogge, Vesa Toskala, fourth- and sixth-round draft picks in 2010, and a seventh-round choice in 2011.