Sunday, 24 June 2012

Ryan White deserves a mulligan for 2011-12

Some of the comments regarding Ryan White seem to be based strictly on what he showed last season.  He's being relegated to being noting more than a crasher and fighter by many posters here, but in fact he is a player of some talent.

I've noted before how he's a kid who his Calgary Hitmen coaches loved.  They described him as a headsy guy who played hard and always seemed to have the puck.  His promise is illustrated by the fact that he was ranked above Ben Maxwell and Milan Lucic for skaters coming out of the WHL in his draft year.

Possibly the reason he 'fell' below those two guys is that he was described as having a bad body.  He wasn't a guy with great fitness or an inspiring physique, and it's possible his doughy appearance at the Combine turned off a few scout, but he changed his habits once he was drafted and began to work hard off the ice to improve his athleticism.  To see him charging around the ice now, there's no reason to suspect that fitness or power is an issue with him anymore.

Last season wasn't a great one for Ryan, he didn't put up points as we might have expected from him, and didn't seem as useful as the previous year.  Let's remember he had to undergo hernia surgery early in the season and recover from that, it's a tricky, painful condition, and it hampered his development.  He was miscast as the team fighter, a role which he assumed gamely, when others wouldn't.

So let's give Ryan a mulligan regarding 2012.  Let's give him another season in a new dressing room, with new teammates and new chemistry, and an adjusted roster that will allow him to play on the fourth line and provide valuable minutes and services for his new coaching staff.  Let's see if he can play his way on the club for good.  If at the end of the season the results still aren't great, and we don't see progression, we'll have a brace of kids in Hamilton who will be chomping at the bit for a shot at the Grand Club.

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