White Making Most of Early Season Opportunity

Rookie Center Helping Lift Dangerous Ottawa Offense

While Vancouver Canucks wunderkind Elias Pettersson is taking the NHL by storm, thousands of miles away in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, another rookie is quietly making a name for himself.

 

Even though this is Colin White’s third season with the Senators, he technically qualifies as a rookie after a two-game trial in 2016-17 and 21 games last season. 

 

Having a previous taste of the NHL helped raise White’s comfort level coming into training camp this season, resulting in getting off to a strong start as he sits tied for second among NHL rookies in points with 16.

 

He spent most of last season with the Sens’ AHL club, Belleville, collecting 27 points in 47 games. But it was his experience with the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2018 IIHF World Championships that really kickstarted his confidence.

 

“It was huge,” said the Hanover, Mass., native. “Coming into this season it really helped me. It gave me a lot of confidence, and helped me feel comfortable coming into camp. I’ve been with these guys for a little bit so it definitely helped.”

 

White played on a line with tournament MVP Patrick Kane and scored two goals and an assist in 10 games as the U.S. won a bronze medal in Denmark. This year he’s spent time on a line with some of the Senators' skilled players, playing the wing with Matt Duchene or centering Mark Stone.

 

With Ottawa battling through a myriad of distractions in the offseason, even some trickling into this season, their current rebuild has given players longer leashes. It’s tough to get established at the NHL level when the thought of a mistake can get a young player stapled to the bench. Instead, a lot of the rookies, such as Brady Tkachuk, defenseman Maxime Lajoie and forward Drake Batherson have reveled in the spotlight.

 

It’s made an impression on fourth-year pro Ryan Dzingel on how important this new class of players have been to the Sens’ current lineup, as well as the organization’s future.

 Recent international experience with Team USA has helped raise White's confidence level, enabling him to begin establishing himself at the NHL level.Recent international experience with Team USA has helped raise White's confidence level, enabling him to begin establishing himself at the NHL level.

“I think they’ve had a lot of opportunity and they’ve taken it and they’ve gone with it,” Dzingel said. “It’s awesome for them and it’s awesome for their careers. I’m happy for them because I know it’s tough as a young guy.”

 

All throughout his development, White placed an emphasis on doing all the little things right, which in turn would lead to a large impact on the game and its outcome. It’s a mentality he established during his two seasons with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program before heading to Boston College for two years.

 

With his strong 200-foot game, White has been called upon on multiple occasions to represent the U.S., each time putting together an inspiring performance. 

 

Tabbed an alternate captain each appearance in the World Juniors, White had seven points in 2016 before notching eight points in 2017, including a team-leading seven goals as the U.S. came away with their fourth gold medal in the tournament.

 

White tallied the game-tying goal in the third period of the gold-medal game vs. Canada, equalizing the score at four a piece before the U.S. prevailed in the shootout.

 

After establishing a strong international resume, White is beginning to produce at the NHL level, alongside peers from the gold medal winning World Junior squad that are making monumental contributions to each of their teams. Players such as Arizona’s Clayton Keller and Boston’s Charlie McAvoy, shifting the game’s best to a younger and younger demographic, a group White is proud to be a part of.

 

“It’s pretty exciting,” White said. “Getting to play with a lot of those players growing up, it’s exciting to see them doing well, it really shows what the game’s becoming now. It’s definitely pretty cool.”

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