Whitney, Aucoin leave Coyotes in free agency

Ray Whitney won’t be back with the Coyotes next season.

The Dallas Stars targeted the 40-year-old Whitney early in the NHL’s free-agency period Sunday and quickly signed the Coyotes’ top point producer last season to a two-year, $9 million contract.

Whitney, who became a fan favorite via his “Where’s Whitney” look-ins during TV teammates’ television appearances, had 24 goals and 77 points last season and has 1,003 points in his career, which began two decades ago with the San Jose Sharks.

“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 Coyotes are still in talks to bring back longtime captain Shane Doan, an unrestricted free agent who has spent his entire career with the franchise, and agreed to a two-year deal Sunday with former Flames forward David Moss.

Also on Sunday, veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who spent the past three seasons in Phoenix, agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with Columbus.

It became unlikely that Aucoin, who turns 39 on Tuesday, would be brought back when the Coyotes traded for defenseman Zbynek Michalek last week. The Coyotes also are likely to lose unrestricted-free-agent defenseman Michal Rozsival, who made $5 million last season and likely will command a similar deal in free agency.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.