Three years in a row now, Ryan White has has played at least 20 games with the Montreal Canadiens, and every once in a while he seems like a fixture. Coming into last season, it seemed like there was nothing that would stop White from being a regular in the lineup, but a lack of discipline got him into trouble several times last season, and each time it had fans and media asking whether it was the end of his Habs career.
Michel Therrien, though, has commented that he would much rather have to rein a player in, than push them to go further, which would seem to work in White's favour. You see, Ryan White is insane. He has a screw loose, he's a BAMF.
But aside from that, he's also a pretty good player, and for the first time last year, he was actually given a role with responsibility. But at 25 years old, can White step up and improve his game, or is he going to stay on the fringes?
In the following graph, the blue line is White's even-strength Fenwick percentage from 2010 to 2013, the red line is his team's even-strength Fenwick percentage without him on the ice, and the green line is White's offensive zone start percentage, giving us insight into his usage and role. All statistics are at even strength, and all are rolling 10-game averages. What this means is that aside from the first 10 points in the graph, every point represents a 10-game sample, giving us a better grasp of trends.
With all that information on one graph, it can look a little messy and be tough to decipher, so I've included trend lines for each statistic. To understand the trend lines, blue turns into black, red turns into yellow, and green turns into purple. The x-axis is simply the games to represent time, and the y-axis is the percentage in decimal form, and the placement of the y-axis is the beginning of the 2013 season.
White's career isn't even 100 games old, so it's very difficult to see where he's going from here. All we really have is snippets, but from those we can see that he's been getting progressively tougher minutes, but he has not in any way been a world beater in those minutes.
He has displayed a surprising amount of offense in the past, but that part of his game hasn't really translated to the NHL yet. Whether it will or not is an open question, but at 25 White has only once shown consistent offensive acumen at a fourth line level, and that was two years ago.
White's true value comes on the defensive side of the puck though, as he is actually quite smart and makes smart reads in the defensive zone, especially on the penalty kill. Where White gets into trouble is discipline, as previously mentioned. Until last season, he actually drew more penalties than he took, and he'll need to get back to that form or he'll be pushed out of the lineup by Michael Bournival.