This is tough for me between Ray Whitney & Tuomo Ruutu. I think Tuomo makes a bigger impact and makes his presence felt on the ice more than Ray, however, that all goes with Ray being so underrated and overlooked in my opinion.
When thinking who is 'more valuable' to the team, I really want to say Ruutu as I believe he brings more of an impact to the ice and can be a game changer in terms of if we win or if we lose. For instance, would we have gone 3 rounds in the playoffs without Ruutu? I honestly don't think we would have. Statistics aside, he was (in my opinion of course) one of our best players each and every game and he is right up there below Cam Ward and Eric Staal as to why we advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. I'm not so sure I can say the same thing about Ray Whitney in terms of would the team have gotten to the Eastern Conference Finals without him. I also ask myself, which player would hurt the teams chances of making the playoffs if they were to go down to serious injury? Tuomo Ruutu or Ray Whitney? For me, again, it is Tuomo Ruutu. All in all, I like our chances leaning on Tuomo Ruutu rather than Ray Whitney. Therefore, in terms of being 'most valuable' to the team and how we do, I have to give the nod here to Tuomo Ruutu.
It's funny, when I began writing here my choice was Ray Whitney for the many reasons I listed about him in the Round #3 poll before giving my vote to Joni Pitkanen... Good thing I didn't vote before I got going here.
Don't worry Ray, you'll be getting my vote soon enough. There are just a few here on the team in which I feel have a bigger impact in whether we win or lose a game, a playoff series, or advance a round or two.
It's a tough call for me. I ended up picking Whitney because he's pretty much the only true playmaker on the team and he's just been so consistent since he arrived (he's #10 in franchise assists and should crack the top 10 in points). Ruutu had a solid first year but without history on his side it's tough to chose him over Ray.
As much as I'm a Ruutu fan, I have to go with the Wizard here... Not only for his points, but as someone else pointed out in an earlier thread, his leadership this past year was needed very much...
Ray has always been a favorite of mine. He has gone through a lot of teams before finally finding a home here(could be said of most of the team). At his age, he still has a real love for the game and helping the kids succeed. I forget for sure who it was, maybe Helminen, but after his first NHL goal, they showed Ray on the beach just jumping up and down like one of us normal crazy fans. I have no stats to prove it, but it seemed to me as the season went on, he took less and less of his moronic penalties...
I feel his presence on and off the ice has made a major impact on the team, and he'll always be one of those true character guys to me that make a team come together...
While I'm completely cool with the consensus on Joni at #3, I voted for Ray in that spot so obviously I think he should be high on the MVP list.
However, seeing how he already looks to be a shoe-in for the #4 spot even without my vote, I used the opportunity to vote for Tuomo, mainly for the same reasons Guerzy and dmonk voted for him.
Ruuty's my favorite player, you're not going to find a bigger fan of his on the planet. I just love to watch him play hockey. He plays all heart on every shift every game, and he had a great year. That being said, I think he can be a lot better, and the expectations are higher now that he's been rewarded with a hefty contract. He needs to figure out how to engage his noggin as much as he engages his emotion, and use his talent and skill in addition to his ability to knock someone into next week. Sometimes less is more. I think that will come with maturity along with the right coaching, which I think we have in place to help him succeed. If he can figure that out, I think he'll be outstanding.