Dallas Stars Sign Ray Whitney To Two-Year, $9 Million Deal

GLENDALE AZ - OCTOBER 21: Ray Whitney #13 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena on October 21 2010 in Glendale Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Kings 4-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ray Whitney

The Dallas Stars have made their first free agent splash of the 2012 NHL Free Agent season by signing 40-year old Ray Whitney, formerly of the Phoenix Coyotes to a two-year, $9 million deal.

Whitney scored 77 points with the Coyotes last season (24, 53) including 20 points on the power play. He's a right handed shot that plays on either wing, so the Stars can slot him around Jamie Benn, Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson in various configurations.

TSN reports the deal is $4 million in salary and $5 million in potential bonuses and the Dallas Stars have said details will soon follow. Update: The deal is now reported to be $8 million in salary and $1 million in bonus. However the contract is structured, bonuses still count toward cap-hits under the current CBA, so his hit is presumed to be $4.5 million, making him the second highest paid Dallas Star behind Alex Goligoski.

According to Dreger with TSN, Whitney's deal includes no-move clause and a modified no-trade clause. He can supply 10 team list upon request.

"Ray Whitney was among the most productive players in the league last season and showed he remains extremely capable and dangerous," Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "He's a winner, a competitor and a leader, and we're very excited he'll be a Dallas Star."

He'll be a power play "specialist" according to TSN, and can be a creator, racking up 12 assists on the power play last season with the Coyotes. He was a +26 on the year.

The move to sign an older, veteran forward as a stop-gap until younger bodies can come was not unexpected, but the move makes a team that many thought to be undergoing a "youth movement" decidedly older, as Whitney is one of the more "seasoned" players in the entire league.

Is a stop-gap a necessary step in a "youth-movement" lasting multiple seasons, or should the Stars have played the kids next season and bypassed such a move?

Full release after the jump...

Frisco, TX - The Dallas Stars announced today the club has signed forward Ray Whitney to a two-year, $9 million contract through the 2013-14 season ($4.5 million per season).

Whitney, 40, collected 77 points (24 goals, 53 assists) in 82 games for Phoenix last season, good for 12th in the league in points, and earned Second-Team All-NHL honors. Among league leaders, he was sixth in assists and ninth in plus/minus (+26), and he led the Coyotes in points, assists and plus/minus.

"Ray Whitney was among the most productive players in the league last season and showed he remains extremely capable and dangerous," Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "He's a winner, a competitor and a leader, and we're very excited he'll be a Dallas Star."

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, ranks seventh amongst active NHL players in games played (1,229) and career points (1,003), sixth in assists (638) and 12th in goals (365). Last season as a member of the Coyotes, Whitney recorded his highest point total since his 2008-09 campaign with Carolina (32 goals, 51 assists for 83 points). He recorded his 1,000th career point last season against Anaheim on March 31, becoming only the 79th player in league history to reach 1,000 career points.

Whitney was a member of the 2006 Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, and in 103 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, has recorded 21 goals and 32 assists for 52 points. In 16 playoff games with Phoenix last season, Whitney collected seven points (2 goals, 5 assists).

Selected 23rd overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, Whitney has played for seven franchises (San Jose, Edmonton, Florida, Columbus, Detroit, Carolina and Phoenix) over the course of his 20 NHL seasons.

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