3. Colin White (Last year: 3, Reader rank: 2)
Colin White’s first pro season probably didn’t go quite as planned.
It wasn’t a very good start. His chances of making the team out of camp evaporated when he broke his wrist during pre-season play against Toronto. This led to his season starting in Belleville, nearly a month into the season.
Once his season finally got started, success was tough to find. While he ranked respectively well at fourth on the team in points, that’s not a high bar to clear given the B-Sens last season. That fourth on the team was 252nd in the AHL. While he played closer to half the season than full, switching to points per game doesn’t do him any favours. It drops him to 5th on the team and 258th in the league.
He did make it to the NHL this season and appeared in 21 games for Ottawa, but he couldn’t manage to stick on the roster. Those games were spread across 4 separate recalls (though 3 were very close together), with the longest stint lasting just 18 days.
He scored just two goals and four assists, so he didn’t quite set the league on fire with his scoring. The on-ice numbers were also pretty dismal too. He had the second worst CF% out of forwards with 10+ games in a Sens uniform, the worst FF% and the worst scoring chance %. He had the highest on-ice PDO as well, which is rarely a good sign.
One positive to point out - when you look at the rate of events against the Senators while he was on the ice compared to when he was off, every one of those rates was lower. Fewer shot attempts against, fewer scoring chances against, fewer goals against. Unfortunately, for almost everything the rates dropped more at the opposite end of the ice.
As can happen with a skilled call-up, his line-mates were an interesting mix. While he eventually settled mostly into playing with Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman, it was all over the place for his first two call-ups. The closest thing to a pattern in his line-mates was three games in a row with Zack Smith, but the third forward playing with them kept changing.
While the shuffling of line-mates (and the quality of some of them) tempers things a little bit when it comes to the on-ice numbers, it’s worth noting that every forward that he played 20+ minutes of 5 on 5 with had a higher CF% away from White.
So what does this season hold in store? Hopefully more consistent line-mates for one, and a start to the season that isn’t derailed by another injury. Don’t underestimate the value of a full camp and not starting a season straight off of injury rehab. A bit more experience in the faceoff circle could help raise his percentages there.
Also remember that he’s only played 23 regular season NHL games, and is still considered a rookie. Colin White still has loads of potential, but he needs to start showing it.