March 31, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ian White (18) skates with the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A Look Back And Ahead At... Ian White

If only the real life Ian White was as good as the virtual one in NHL 13. In the video game, White is a puck-mover extraordinaire, someone you can count on to supply a bunch of the assists left behind when Nicklas Lidstrom hung up his skates. Sadly, the real player did no such thing, ending up so far in the doghouse that his departure from Detroit looks like the one certainty of this offseason.

Looking Back at Ian White’s 2013:

It looked like White would play a big role on the blue line this season, and he was in the lineup for the first three games, scoring a goal against Columbus on January 21. The next night against Dallas, his left leg had an unfortunate meeting with the skate of Jimmy Howard, and he ended up having surgery that kept him out of action for five games.

When he returned, he never quite got back on track. White had a forgettable February, contributing only a single assist in  11 games while playing at a -2. As a result, he began to experience life as a healthy scratch at times during March, and even when he played, his ice time decreased.

White played over 20 minutes against the Blues on April 7, logging 26 shifts and firing two shots on goal. What he probably didn’t realize at the time was that it would be his final game of the season. Mike Babcock banished him to the press box for the final nine games of the regular season, and even after Danny DeKeyser got hurt, White was an onlooker during the playoffs as well.

It’s not that White was bad per se, he just didn’t play as well as the team’s other alternatives. When even Mr. Fragile himself, Carlo Colaiacovo, gets the nod before you in the postseason, the writing is pretty much on the wall.

Looking Ahead to 2013-14:

Unlike other players who will force the Red Wings to make some hard decisions during the summer, the team can cut ties with White with no repercussions, as his contract is up. And it appears that’s exactly what’s going to happen, as Babcock has already been quoted saying, “We wish him luck.”

It’s kind of a shame because White clearly enjoyed playing in Detroit and has been forced to be kind of a nomad in seasons past. But he should find work somewhere, as he’s on the right side of 30, passes the puck well (though he also turns it over on his own end too much at times) and is a willing shot-blocker.

The most he’s ever made in a season is $3 million, and since he’d be available for less than that this time around, teams could do worse than grabbing White for a third pairing role. Any team in the bottom quarter of the NHL in salary that needs help on the blue line should at least consider giving his agent a call.

And hey, if the agent knows how to get in touch with the NHL 13 version of White, that would be even better.


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