Saturday night, Colin White suited up for what could potentially be his last collegiate game. White’s Boston College Eagles took on UMass Lowell in a great Hockey East championship game which saw the Eagles fall by a score of 4-3, thus ending any hopes the Eagles had for a spot in the NCAA tournament. This sparked debate on Twitter as to whether or not White should turn pro before the end of the NHL season and join the Sens on a playoff run.
Colin White finished the season with 33 points in 35 games played resulting in a .943 point per game average. This is a very telling statistic on the amount of points a player will put up in the NHL. There is a very simple formula called NHLE to predict a player’s NHL point total based upon their last season outside of the NHL. After doing this calculation it predicts White would realistically score 32 points over an 82 game season ranking him 9th in rookie scoring this season. Much of the debate on whether or not to sign him is centered around the thought that he may not be guaranteed a roster spot with Ottawa as it appears the Sens currently have a full and deep roster.
Personally, I do not agree, as Colin White provides an immediate upgrade to the bottom 6. Chris Kelly is currently on pace to score 14 points this season, Tommy Wingels is on pace for 16 points, Chris Neil for 5 points and Tom Pyatt for 22 points. This just proves Colin White provides a much needed offensive jumpstart to the Senators bottom 6. The Ottawa Senators currently sit 19th in goals per game which simply put is just not good enough. Last year’s Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins ranked 3rd in the league and if the Senators really want to “win now” as they claim, then they need to get more offense generated. White could also help the power play as he contributed 10 goals on the power play over his career in Boston.
However hockey is not all about offence, as the Dallas Stars continue to make very clear. Some people may make the argument that adding a rookie into the mix at this point in the season could hurt the team defensively. However White has a great two-way game and was a plus player in both his seasons with BC whereas the 4th line (Stalberg – Kelly – Wingels) combined this season is a -16. (Also, a certain Mark Stone made his NHL debut in the playoffs for the Sens).
There really is no reason for anyone to believe that Colin White should not be signed immediately and added to the lineup as soon as possible. Sens fans need look no further than Nashville’s recent debacle with Jimmy Vesey to feel a sense of uneasy at the Senators’ current situation with their own unsigned first round pick. In terms of getting into games for the NHL club this season, White could provide a great jumpstart for the team as they play out a tough schedule down the stretch with 7 of their last 12 games being against teams in the playoffs. White provides cheap depth for what can hopefully be a deep playoff run and I personally believe the experience of a trip to the playoffs is far more valuable than saving a year of his entry level deal.