In a decisive Game 6 match-up of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Ottawa Senators have decided to go outside the box. Following an embarrassing 7-0 loss in Game 5, head coach Guy Boucher has made the call that the team needs a different look tonight, and that means rookie center Colin White will get the call. This is the third NHL game for white and, obviously, the first playoff game of his young career. Will he be a game-changer for the Senators?
White may be making his NHL postseason debut, but he’s actually played postseason hockey already this season. White signed his entry-level contract with Ottawa on April 2nd, after his NCAA season with Boston College came to an end. White, the 21st overall pick in 2015, was nearly a point-per-game player for BC this season, with 16 goals and 17 assists in 35 games, and helped to lead the Eagles to finals of the Hockey East conference tournament. However, White’s squad fell to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and without the automatic bid, did not have the resume to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Since then, White has played in just five games – two scoreless outings with Ottawa and three games (with three points) for the AHL Binghamton Senators, who missed the playoffs – and he is now being called on to enter the Eastern Conference Final cold and provide a spark on offense. White’s inclusion is not so much the result of injury, although Alexandre Burrows remains sidelined, but instead a decision of pace and positioning. Ottawa dressed seven defenseman for Game 5, which was undoubtedly their worst performance of the 2017 postseason, and Bocher decided not to continue that practice. He also declined to dress slower physical veteran forwards like Chris Kelly or Chris Neil in favor or the young White, hoping that his youthful energy would help to keep pace with the speedy Penguins. White is a well-rounded prospect with high-end possession ability and good visions and hockey intelligence. However, he’s being thrown into the fire in this situation, as the Senators are desperate for all the help they can get to stay alive tonight.