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 cant, and wont, 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 hes also sixth in the NHL in ice time per game (26:02), a stat they dont want to see get much higher.

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

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.

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


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