A White Christmas Afterall
Ian White no doubt saved the day, the weekend, and quite possibly the entire Christmas season in Toronto last night, after what seemed like another inevitable disappointing loss.
Taking their lead deep into the third period, the Leafs allowed the Penguins to even up the score with just over two minutes left in the game. It was a familiar scenario for the Leafs, blowing the lead late and likely having to settle for one point. But last night, for a change, White rewrote that familiar story.
It was a disappointing turn of events but not an unexpected one. The Leafs would once again have to settle for one point as their overtime stats are horrid and even they knew they had no chance. And then all of the sudden, like a Christmas miracle, the Leafs retake the lead with just over a minute to play in the game and this time, their fourth time, they would hold on to the lead. And the hero was none other than Ian White.
Yes I know that this is now my second blog exclusively on Ian White, and chances are it won't be my last. I will say it right now, Ian White is one of, if not thee most underrated defender in the entire league.
Let's put this into perspective. Ian White, with 21 points, is 14th in the league among defensemen in that category, which is impressive in itself.
But what is even more impressive is that 17 of those points came at even strength. White is tied for 3rd among defenders in the NHL for even-strength points, behind only Mike Green and Tobias Enstrom. He is actually tied at 3rd with Tomas Kaberle.
But the real issue here is that as most of you may already know, Ian White is in the final year of his very underpaid contract, which will pay him a whopping $950,000 this season. Burke needs to get this guy under contract and soon.
Keep in mind that White is only 25 years old and entering the prime of his career. Signing him to a big deal really puts the Kaberle situation at the forefront. With Ian White under contract and ready to take on a bigger role with this team, the time will be right to move Kaberle.
Kaberle has been a soldier for this team. He's a good leader, he's a good player, and from what I've seen, he's definitely a good teammate. Unfortunately, in the salary cap world especially, this is a business, and when a coveted commodity like Tomas Kaberle becomes expendable to your team, you need to capitalize.
Kaberle is definitely needed on this team, but if Ian White can effectively replace his duties, then the returning assets in a Kaberle trade will outweigh having both Kaberle and White. But there's no question, Burke needs to sign White seeing how he is only 25 years old.
He's a character player, one that I would group with the Darcy Tucker's of this world, which is definitely somnething that is needed on this team.
The Leafs are off for a couple of nights and then will be in Edmonton on Wednesday night for a date with the Oilers. That start time is 9:30pm.
Have a good one!