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Visnovsky for Whitney sneaks past deadline

In a move that must have produced screams of unbridled agony from LA Kings blogger Rudy Kelly, the Anaheim Ducks moved Team USA defenseman Ryan Whitney to the Edmonton Oilers for talented but oft-injured defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and a sixth round draft pick.

Now, looking at mere offensive stats, the trade might not seem particularly lopsided (both average a little more than a point every two games in their careers). Really, if you just glance at them in a search you’ll even notice that the cleft-chinned Whitney is about seven years younger. Heck, Whitney’s contract is cheaper. Whitney’s cap hit is $4 million while Visnovsky’s is $5.6 million and both deals run through the 2012-13 season.

After saying all that, I still think the Oilers were fleeced in this deal. Why?

Because Whitney is prolific when it comes to coughing up backbreaking turnovers. In the past three seasons, Whitney has averaged 65 with a whopping 91 in the 07-08 season (Visnovsky averaged 46 per year on lesser teams).

Oilers blog Copper and Blue captures my feelings quite well. Benjamin Massey imagines how that phone call played out:

“So [Oilers GM Steve Tambellini] calls Anaheim. “Hey,” he says. “You guys were asking about Lubomir Visnovsky earlier? Well, I think maybe we could make this work.”

Bob Murray, on the other end, is nobody’s fool. He aims high and works his way down. “So how about Ryan Whitney?” says Bob. “He’s younger, bigger, and he makes less.” He’s also worse. Considerably worse. Epically worse.

Steve Tambellini glances at the clock. It’s 12:45, Mountain Standard Time. He knows that if he doesn’t pull the trigger on something his press conference will be awkward, or it would be if Edmonton’s hockey media wasn’t competing to get him into the sack.

“Throw in a sixth-round pick,” Tambellini says.

Bob Murray spits out his coffee.

And we’re the ones who get burned.”

Not a great day to be an Edmonton Oilers fan.