Penguins Trade Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Kunitz, Eric Tangradi

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Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney was out of the lineup on Wednesday night for what was described as "family matters." As it turns out, Whitney was traded to the Anaheim Ducks for forwards Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.

For the Penguins, they finally get some help on their wings as Kunitz can provide some immediate help up front, while Tangradi instantly becomes the best prospect in a depleted Pittsburgh farm system. According to HockeysFuture, he was the No. 2 prospect in Anaheim prior to the trade.

For Anaheim, you almost have to wonder if there's another move in the works, perhaps one involving Chris Pronger?

Whitney missed a large portion of this season due to foot surgery this offseason, and has been largely ineffective since returning to the lineup. He's also the most disputed Penguins player in recent memory, as fans either love him or hate him. He's only 25, and recorded 59 points just a season ago.

He was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2002 NHL draft and has an impressive 6-foot-4, 220 pound frame, though he rarely plays like it, with the possible exception of this epic beat down of Wade Redden in last year's playoffs. Though, in fairness, that's not really his game. He's a puck-mover.

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He's signed through the end of the 2012-13 season for an average salary of $4 million per year. It's a case of the Penguins dealing from a position of strength (offensive defenseman) to fill a glaring weakness (forwards). The Penguins still have Sergei Gonchar signed through the end of next season, as well as youngsters Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski who are similar players to Whitney.

Kunitz, 29, has 16 goals and 19 assists in 62 games for Anaheim this season and is signed through 2011-12. He's been a steady 20-goal scorer the past three seasons.

Penguins Trade Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Kunitz, Eric Tangradi originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Thu, 26 Feb 2009 12:48:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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