Ducks upgrade defense and power play

March, 3, 2010
3/03/10
5:04
PM PT

The Ducks ended up making a reasonably big deal, after all, acquiring defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Ryan Whitney and a sixth-round draft pick.

Visnovsky, 33, moves the puck well and he has absolute cannon for a shot. The Slovakia native be a welcome addition when the Ducks are on the power play, and GM Bob Murray is undoubtedly thinking ahead to the time when his team no longer has Scott Niedermayer as the anchor of its blue line.

"Lubo," of course, is very familiar to fans of the Kings, who originally picked him in the 2000 draft. He has 87 goals and 252 assists in 594 games split between the Kings and Oilers and has represented Slovakia at the Olympics four times.

The season has been horrid for the Oilers, but Visnovsky has been a consistent bright spot, leading all Oilers defensemen with 10 goals and 32 points. He's a terrific skater and a dependable passer, able to make that all-important first pass when breaking out of the defensive zone. The only knock on him is his size -- or lack thereof. At 5 fee 9, 187 pounds, he's small, no other word for it, and as a result has had his share of injuries during his eight-year career.

But the view here is he's a significant upgrade from Whitney, who was acquired by the Ducks at the deadline last season for Chris Kunitz, mainly for his offensive prowess. But in 62 games this season, Whitney has only four goals and 24 assists.

It's funny. On Tuesday, there was Whitney, a member of Team USA at the Vancouver Games, at center ice at the Honda Center, sporting his silver medal along with six other Ducks teammates who also were medalists.

Today, he's gone. Onto another challenge with another team, where he can hopefully revive a career that seemed to get sidetracked in Anaheim.

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