Thursday, October 7, 2021

Sens Preview: Colin White Jersey Card

(team and product links go to sponsored Amazon products, player links go to related pages on my blog, news links go to source pages)

This will likely be the preface to all of this year's Season Preview posts: I liked doing last year's format, so I'll be doing it the same way this season as well, partly because of that but also because as a father of a toddler and a baby, I just do not have enough time to write two separate posts per day on each blog. I'll copy these on each one instead. Like last year, the entire scope of the analysis will take place here and the player will have some sort of direct connection to what's written.

Caveats: At this point, despite training camp being set to start, several players haven't found a team yet, many RFAs haven't signed with their respective teams, and a few clubs are currently above the salary cap, which means there is much maneuvering left to do.

Key exits: Evgenii Dadonov (RW), Ryan Dzingel (F), Artem Anisimov (C), Derek Stepan (C), Marcus Hogberg (G), Joey Daccord (G), Matthew Peca (F)

Key Arrivals: Michael Del Zotto (D), Nick Holden (D), Kole Sherwood (RW)

Top prospects: Shane Pinto (C), Filip Gustavsson (G), Jake Sanderson (D), Jacob Bernard-Docker (D), Tyler Boucher (W), Roby Jarventie (LW), Lassi Thomson (D), Ridley Greig (LW), Tyler Kleven (D), Zack Ostapchuk (LW), Egor Sokolov (RW), Mark Kastelic (C), Maxence Guenette (D)

It would take a lot of things to go right with the development of the Ottawa Senators' young stars for the team to be able to contend for a playoff spot until the end of March... but chances are a lot of them will. Most of the forwards will take a step forward (although Tim Stützle may go through a sophomore slump, particularly if asked to fill the #2 centre role instead of remaining on the wing), and the defense showed during the final month of the 2020-21 season that they were ready for more responsibilities. As a matter of fact, had the Sens received just league average goaltending from Matt Murray in any of his first 10 games, they team would have been a lock for the playoffs, seeing as they fell a single point behind the Montréal Canadiens who were in a tailspin at the end of the season, because of a compressed schedule due to a Covid outbreak.

What makes their odds look good:
Finishing the season with a 10-4 record was impressive, but it may be a mirage, due to teams resting players or being unprepared to face them because they were at the bottom of the standings. Illusion or not, these young players learned to win and can now bank that experience for future use.

Question marks: Can sophomore Josh Norris continue progressing to keep a stranglehold on the #1 centre role? Will Murray bounce back, or has he simply lost his way? How many games will Brady Tkachuk miss as a contract holdout, and will it cost him the captaincy (I, for one, would give it to Thomas Chabot at this point, who has bought into what the team is looking to build by signing the eight-year deal that GM Pierre Dorion hopes to build other contracts around)?

This team will be a powerhouse three years from now, it's just a matter of gaining more experience, some of the current contenders taking a step back, and Tkachuk deciding if he wants in or if he'll conspire with brother Matthew to eventually land with the St. Louis Blues together.

Tied for 4th in the Atlantic Division, with the Boston Bruins and Habs.

One key player in the Sens' rebuild had been Colin White, a 2015 first-round pick (21st overall) who plays well in all three zones, once thought to be the team's next first-line pivot (which is why he was given a six-year deal averaging $4.75M after a strong rookie season in 2019) but who can go up and down the lineup without hurting the team while amassing anywhere between 25 and 45 points, perhaps with a peak of 60.

Unfortunately, he will miss the entire 2021-22 season after falling awkwardly and dislocating his right shoulder in a pre-season game.

The good news for the Sens is the Canadiens and Bruins also have plenty of injury troubles to start the season, as do the Pittsburgh Penguins who will be competing for the same Wild Card playoff spot - and Ottawa has the most depth and best prospects of the lot.

Here is White, wearing the Senators' white (away) uniform from a few years ago, on card #DD-CW from Upper Deck's 2017-18 Black Diamond collection and Diamond Debut Relics sub-set:
It features a matching white swatch from a photo shoot.