Ray Whitney's time with the Phoenix Coyotes was short, but the 5'10" winger made a big impression. Not only was he a regular on the stat sheet, totaling 134 points in two seasons with the Coyotes, but also in the hearts of the fans.
2012 was a big year for Whitney. At 40-years-old he nearly had the best year of his 20-year tenure in the league. He led the Coyotes in points, and tallied his 1000th career point in March. Only six active players are part of that club.
Whitney knew his worth heading into free agency, telling the Arizona Republic's Sarah McLellan, "Production-wise they always say the older you get, you're going to fall off. Eventually they're going to be right, but they haven't been. ... I've performed well enough the last five years to warrant a contract that's deserving of it."
Whitney won't have to wait long to make his return to the Jobing.com Arena ice. The Coyotes open the season against the Stars Oct.13.
Don't expect boos from the Coyotes faithful though.
Fans should understand that the elder statesman did not want to ride out the rest of his career in the chaos that is the Phoenix Coyotes organization. For the past three years it has been a tumultuous ride through ownership and relocation threats.
With things still relatively unsettled in the desert, Whitney decided to go with a change of scenery. It may not have been the entire reason for the move, but you have to imagine it was a factor.
One more interesting fact about the Wizard. Whitney has now played for five teams (Flordia, Columbus, Carolina, Phoenix and now Dallas) that did not exist at the time he was drafted in 1991.
Now I leave you with a clip from Fox Sports Arizona's "Snapshot", where Whitney talks with Todd Walsh about what came to be known as the "Where's Whitney" game.
FOX Sports Arizona's "Snapshot - Ray Whitney" (via foxsportsarizona)