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Ray Whitney(notes): veteran winger, Cup champion, pending free-agent, leading scorer on an awful team. In other words, a perfect candidate for a trade deadline transaction.

Would he excel wearing the orange, black and playoff bubble pressure of the Philadelphia Flyers? Would Whitney "look good" as a Chicago Blackhawks forward?

Is he a "great fit" for the Boston Bruins, who are in such an offensive slump that Marc Savard(notes) is wondering about sacrificing poultry? (Here we thought the Coyotes were supposed to be the "Major League"-esque franchise this season, yet Savard's become suddenly become Pedro Cerrano.)

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN has the Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators and those Phoenix Coyotes in the mix for Whitney, writing that the Carolina Hurricanes will seek "a pick and/or prospect in return, which means inquiring clubs would be taking a sizeable cap hit without sending any salary the other way."

He also said that the Los Angeles Kings view Whitney as a "Plan B" in the Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) hunt, which made yesterday's TSN report about Whitney and the Kings even more interesting -- in the sense that Whitney is using his no-trade clause to ensure his longevity in the NHL, Carolina's needs be damned.

From Bob McKenzie, who also offered details on what the Kings might have sent the Canes:

The Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings progressed so far along on Whitney trade talks recently that sources tell TSN that Kings' general manager Dean Lombardi was given permission by Carolina GM Jim Rutherford to talk to Whitney's agent J.P. Barry about a contract extension.

And that apparently is where things went off the rails. Sources say Whitney was looking for a three-year deal from the Kings in exchange to waive his NTC to go to Los Angeles.

The Kings apparently balked. A one year deal might be workable for L.A. but three? No chance.

If accurate, this report does two things to the Whitney derby.

First, it scuttles the commonly held belief that Whitney was going to "Tkachuk" this thing, going to a contender at the deadline and then returning to the Canes in the summer.

Second, it clearly shows Whitney as a player who knows he has the leverage here, both with his current team and his suitors. If he wants to be a Pittsburgh Penguins player -- as has been speculated -- and the feeling is mutual, then the Wizard can force GM Jim Rutherford's hand for a deal.

Canes Country sought to explain why Carolina handed a now-37-year-old player a no-trade clause, but it still seems foolhardy.

There's no question that the addition of Ray Whitney could have an enormous impact on a team's Stanley Cup chances -- we're still enamored with him joining the kiddie corps in Colorado -- but the field for his services decreases dramatically if it means signing him past 40 years old. But he's got the power.

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