Colin White shouldn’t necessarily be considered a ‘safe pick’ in the traditional “Frederik Gauthier is going to be an excellent third liner” sense, but that’s not going to stop Leafs fans from approaching the Boston College commit with some skepticism. White’s a talented guy, but nobody cares about things like defence in the first round! We want lots of flash and pizazz and turning over the puck at the blueline like, all the damn time.
But seriously though, White’s a decent prospect, and he’d make for a fine pick in and around where the Toronto Maple Leafs will be picking in the late first. But does he excite us enough to make it to the shortlist? Let’s see…
White had a nice season with the US National U18 team, scoring 23 goals and 54 points in 54 games. They’re not the most eye-popping numbers, but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that all of the prime ice time was eaten up by two stud 17-year olds – Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk. At the U18 World Championships, White added another nine points in seven games, including an overtime goal against Finland in the gold medal game.
The Eye Test
When White’s name comes up, you’re going to hear a lot about his two-way skill, or 200-foot game, or responsible game. At 6’0, 185lbs, White doesn’t exactly have the size to run people over, but he uses his above average skating ability and awareness to play a smart game in all three zones.
White is a smooth, quiet player that gets a lot done. He sees the ice at a high level, he’s creative, but isn’t overly flashy with the puck, and rarely makes mistakes. White is very good defensively, often being the kind of player who is leaned on to kill penalties and take critical defensive zone draws. His skating is what one scout describes as “deceptively quick,” in that he won’t jet down the wing, but he can get to a good top gear and doesn’t labor around the ice.
The Boston College commit is a strong two-way player who does many of the little
things a team needs to be a winner. He is a strong and talented center who relishes playing a 200-foot
game. White is a dynamic skater who is strong laterally and can start and stop on a dime… He uses his incredible straight line speed to blow by defenders on the outside and push the pace, opening up lanes
with the puck on his stick by drawing defensemen in close. A smooth operator in the offensive zone and with the puck on his stick… White doesn’t flash with a bevy of creative tricks when he has the puck; he simply holds it, protecting it and keeping it until he finds an option. A very patient player who is an opportunistic
offensive threat… White plays all situations.
There is not a lot to pick apart with regards to White’s game but one thing NHL teams will likely be thinking is that his upside and offensive ability is not that high.
White has consistently been ranked in the latter half of the first round, and certainly in the area where the Leafs will select. NHL Central Scouting has White ranked 29th amongst North American skaters, which is actually pretty low compared to most of the other lists. McKeen’s and Future Considerations both have him ranked 19th, while HockeyProspect.com has him 23rd. Pronman ranks him 22nd.
Should He Make The Leafs’ Short List?
This is a tough one for me. I don’t have anything against Colin White, and he’s probably a fine pick at 24th overall, but I can’t bring myself to put him ahead of some of the high scorers that will likely still be available. If the goal is to “hit a home run” with the second of their first round picks, Toronto is likely looking at a player that has a higher offensive ceiling. Even if there’s more risk involved, I’m willing to take that chance. White just misses the short list.