Oilers' Whitney maxed out

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:01 PM ET

CALGARY -- As much as the Oilers would like Ryan Whitney to play 30 minutes a night for the next 75 games, it canít, and wonít, happen.

The club needs to find a way to be less reliant, not more, on their all-purpose defenceman.

Whitney leads the Oilers in scoring with seven assists, which is good, but heís also sixth in the NHL in ice time per game (26:02), a stat they donít want to see get much higher.

ďFor me itís just about conserving energy and preparing yourself to play a lot of minutes,Ē said the 27-year-old. ďI think Iíve done that. There have been games where Iíve played really well and games where I can be better. But no matter how you play, when you lose itís disappointing. You can play well and youíre still not happy.Ē

Twenty-six minutes and change is doable for 82 games for Whitney, who was 14th in the league in ice time last season (24:45), but any more than that and it becomes a fatigue issue.

ďIt kind of depends on how many power-play and how many penalty-killing minutes youíre getting,Ē he said. ďItís a lot harder to be out there on the PK the whole game than it is power play, when youíre just moving across the blueline. I feel good right now, obviously itís only been six games, but 25 minutes is really kind of no problem. Itís when you get up around 28-29 that can be when you start feeling it.Ē


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