Hello Habs nation!
This piece will be the first of a new segment I'll be writing, on HabsAddict.com, that will take a look at the Canadiens roster heading into the 2012-13 season.
I will be including a brief look back at what each player brought to the team in the 2011-2012 season, as well as what to expect moving forward.
With some roster players yet to be re-signed and the free agent season just about to open, I will only focus on players who are currently inked with the Canadiens.
While Carey Price is rumored to be close to a deal somewhere in the $6.5 million range—for six to seven years—you can expect to have a piece focusing on him shortly.
But alas, the Habs netminder of the future—or so we can hope—has yet to sign and so I will start with another fan favorite whose ink has yet to dry on his newly signed deal: Ryan White.
Ryan White - C - 6'0'' - 193 lbs
2010-11 stats: 20GP - 0G - 3A - minus-7 - 61 PIM
Ryan White will receive $687,500 for the upcoming season, a $62,500 raise from his previous contract, over a one-year term.
As a fan favorite, many fans had hoped that the Canadiens would commit to a longer deal with the rugged center. It would seem Marc Bergevin was weary of White's last campaign—being limited to 20 games due to a sports hernia suffered in training camp.
While White's three assists are hardly going to help the Canadiens in the win column, points are not what White was brought on board for.
In the 20 games he played last season, White managed to find a fisticuffs dance partner seven times. In fact, in a game against the Minnesota Wild on March 1st, Stephane Veilleux dropped the gloves twice with White.
Hockeyfights.com credited White with one win, one draw—both of these against Veilleux—and five losses in his seven bouts.
Hardly impressive but in hockey, winning the fight is not always the point. White is well liked by fans as well as his colleagues due to his willingness to stand up for teammates.
New (old?) coach Michel Therrien's reputation as a guy who likes his team tough, should bode well for White. When Therrien inherited the Habs I'm sure the team's lack of physical play was something he felt needed to be addressed.
The fact that White was the first of the team's pending RFA's to be brought back supports my belief that together, Bergevin and Therrien want to add toughness to a team that has been pushed around for too long.
White averaged 14:31 minutes of ice time per game in his 20 contests last year, and will likely see similar minutes on the fourth line in the coming season. As for his linemates, well, it's likely that they are yet to be signed.
A projected line of White alongside Travis Moen and Brad Staubitz, would bring plenty of toughness to the team's fourth line. Staubitz is set to become a UFA and Moen is unsure whether he will re-up with the Habs or test the market on July 1st.
Brandon Prust is another player the fans would love to see on White's wing, but will only be approachable when the free agency period begins on Canada Day.
How does White's contract bode with you? And where do you see him fitting in on the roster?
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com
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(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images North America)