Ryan Whitney understands confidence can sometimes be elusive.

A couple of seasons ago, the Edmonton Oilers defenceman had loads of it and could probably have shared some with his struggling teammates.

Now Whitney is trying to gain it back after sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch for the previous two games.

“Any player will tell you that confidence is a big key,” said Whitney, who expects to draw back into the lineup Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. “It’s tough to play when you know that if you make a mistake you’re going to be out of the lineup. You really can’t play like that. You have to hope that they (coaching staff) start showing confidence in you and you start playing in a way that you deserve it.”

Whitney sat out both in the Oilers loss to the Dallas Stars Tuesday and win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday.

He was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career earlier this month against the Vancouver Canucks, then returned to the lineup for a pair of games as Mark Fistric nursed a back injury.

“We feel that there is an opportunity for Ryan to react and to add to what’s been one of our challenges, scoring offensively five-on-five,” said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger. “He knows what our expectations are and we’re going to give him that opportunity.”

Whitney has three assists in 10 games so far this season. Only rookie Justin Schultz has been more productive from the back end.