I had gotten pretty deep into one of those "five bargain bin free agents" pieces in relation to Ottawa's probable lack of depth scoring for this season forthcoming, but in the course of my research I realized pretty much every blog does those and also I've done those before, but mostly I need to come to terms with the fact that I just really want to write about Colin White again. I've already spilled gallons of metaphorical ink here at Silver Seven about White and his place with the Senators and if you thought I would stop just because he doesn't play for the team anymore then you don't know me. Yeah, you obviously have a hundred reasons as to why White won't come back to Ottawa and I don't really know the CBA rules around signing a player you've already bought out but I need to get these thoughts out one way or the other. Let's go!
Ottawa Needs White
This whole exercise started out with me wanting to write about players other than Colin White because I sincerely believe Ottawa will need reinforcements to try to compensate for the departure of Alex DeBrincat. No one player, barring a last minute blockbuster trade, will fill the void, and a big name free agent signing like Vladimir Tarasenko will have major salary cap reprecussions without actually providing the same dividends. Dominik Kubalik will score a bit. Mathieu Joseph should bounce back. Josh Norris will get healthy. Egor Sokolov and Ridly Greig could break out. But what's one more contingency plan when you already need to bank on that many contingency plans? The Sens need all the help at forward they can get so let's just go ahead and whittle my abandoned list of five bargain bin free agents to one. Sign Colin White. (But also still Jesse Puljujärvi too.)
White Needs Ottawa
If things hadn't gone badly enough for White (getting bought out by the Sens of all teams) the Panthers experiment at building the Sens of the South failed miserably with White struggling alongside the likes of Rudolfs Balcers and Chris Tierney. White played the second most games of any of his NHL seasons to date but scored at his lowest rate since his rookie campaign. Even White's nerd stats that I spent years defending plummeted in South Florida. The guy seriously misses Ottawa. I can't think of any other explanation. He played on a great Panthers team that went all the way to the Cup finals and yet he regressed. If for no other reason than to vindicate me and all of the hours I've spent writing about White's potential, get him back in Ottawa and get his career back on track. We all know White and DJ Smith get along swimmingly.
Ottawa Is already Paying White
Now based on my understanding (a cursory googling) of the CBA, the Sens can again sign White despite having bought him out because a year has elapsed. Hooray for loopholes! I seriously doubt White has very high salary expectations after getting bought out, having the worst season of his career, and getting non-tendered--so that bodes well for Ottawa. Plus the Sens have to pay him $875K this year (and the four next ones) so it just seems logical that Ottawa should keep White in the fold. Save the postage on those cheques (yes, I know, people get paid electronically). With the Senators getting pretty close to the salary cap (especially once we know the new cap hits for Shane Pinto and Egor Sokolov), you can't have that much dead cap space holding you back. This reunion would turn that dead cap space into only like half-dead zombie cap space. Vampire cap space.
The Ends no longer Justify the Means
To, once again, make this all about me, I came to terms with the Colin White buyout pretty quickly once I found out the Ottawa Senators had acquired Alex fucking DeBrincat (and also Claude fucking Giroux) thus assembling maybe their best top-six ever(?). But a year removed and now with no DeBrincat I feel anger and confusion again. For your own purposes you can certainly make the argument that Ottawa has benefited from the added cap space of having bought out White even in a post-DeBrincat paradigm but I'm not a soulless monster who can put a monetary value on a player's departure (except in every single case that isn't this particular one). Now that I can't have my cake, I absolutely want to eat it too. Maybe you think Colin White would hardly amount to a consolation prize for losing Alex DeBrincat but for me, DeBrincat was the consolation prize for losing White. We still have time to make things right.
Need I really remind anyone that Thomas Chabot and Colin White have literally the exact same birthday and the Ottawa Senators drafted them three selections apart in the 2015 entry draft? How can you have that kind of instantly likable narrartive and then just scrap it? Remember when all the players on this team got to have their buddies? Chabot also gets to have Joseph in the fold now. Brady Tkachuk has Josh Norris. All the UND alumni get to play together. Lassi Thomson and Roby Järventie played for the same program in Finland. Egor Sokolov played with Kevin Mandolese in the Q. Ridly Greig played with Cole Reinhardt in Brandon. Pierre Dorion even reunited Anton Forsberg with Joonas Korpisalo. The buddy system has become a core component in the Ottawa Senators' team identity. Don't mess with such a beautiful thing.
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