The Ottawa Senators have signed their biggest contract since Bobby Ryan in 2014, inking Colin White to a six-year contract. The young centre will be sticking around for the long-term, with the contract carrying an average annual value of $4.75 million.
It's official!!— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) August 21, 2019
News Release: #Sens sign forward Colin White to a six-year contract: https://t.co/CQZeXfwLgG
Communiqué : Les Sénateurs accordent un contrat de six ans à l'attaquant Colin White : https://t.co/111rwIjf4m pic.twitter.com/voi6WrLlEg
Originally drafted 21st overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, White is one of the many players of that draft class to become part of the Senators’ current young core, including Thomas Chabot (who shares the exact same birthday as White), Filip Chlapik, Christian Wolanin and Joey Daccord.
After struggling on a weak Belleville Senators roster in 2017-18, White spent the entire of last season playing in the NHL, scoring 41 points in 71 games. Even before the departure of Matt Duchene, White worked his way up to playing on Ottawa’s first line at 22 years old, next to Mark Stone and Brady Tkachuk. His two-way style made him one of Ottawa’s more defensively solid players in a season where they were historically bad defensively, while also managing to hold his ground on offence.
With his six-year deal, the Senators buy one year of unrestricted free agency, with White slated to hit the open market in 2026 at 28 years old. The salary increases every year, starting at $4 million next season and increasing to $6.25 million in the final season.
The Senators are taking a gamble with term, expecting that White will continue to be a valuable player through his mid-20s (he also has yet to play 100 NHL games). With a cap hit below $5 million, however, the value is very team-friendly based on what White has already shown. He may even have more room to grow, which could make this deal look better as the years go on.
The long-term extension also cuts the Senators’ disastrous streak of losing out on contract negotiations, after being unable to re-sign any of Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, Mark Stone or Ryan Dzingel. White is obviously in a very different situation due to the team holding his rights as a restricted free agent, although it’s a nice change of pace from the hellscape Sens fans have been experiencing over the last two seasons.
White’s extension concludes all the Senators’ RFA signings this off-season. Looking ahead to next season, the Senators have an even larger crop of RFAs in need of extensions, including Thomas Chabot, Chris Tierney, Connor Brown, Anthony Duclair, Max Veronneau, Christian Jaros and Rudolfs Balcers. All mentioned players are already eligible to be extended as of July 1st.