Ryan White, the Montreal Canadiens' lone worthwhile asset from the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, has signed a one year deal with the Habs for just $687,500. It's a very moderate raise on the $625,000 White made last year.
White was poised for a breakout year going into 2011-12 after earning himself a roster spot towards the end of the previous season with his hard work and defensive awareness. He had earned Jacques Martin's trust and had become a well liked teammate for the lumps he took and gave out.
One incident clearly stands above the rest in how fans view Ryan White, which was how he reacted to Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk attempting to take out P.K. Subban's knees:
Johnny Boychuk vs Ryan White Mar 8, 2011 (via hockeyfightsdotcom)
White's season was derailed by hernia surgery during training camp, however, and he had to wait until the Canadiens were all but eliminated to make his season debut. Even with a long absence and struggling to return to form, White was clearly the best of a mediocre group of 4th liners. Even Randy Cunneyworth recognized this and played White in excruciatingly tough minutes for a 4th liner at even strength. Only Josh Gorges faced tougher competition, and only Mike Blunden started in the offensive zone less often than White.
The Canadiens made a smart move here. White is a roster player who can play on your 3rd line in a pinch, and a guy who chips in with scoring more than you would expect him to. The biggest flaw in White's game is perhaps that he's too willing to fight. He missed the end of the season with a suspected concussion after fighting Erik Gudbranson, a player far out of White's league physically.
With these injuries, it makes perfect sense that Bergevin and Co. chose to give White a 1 year contract.