Realistic Expectations: Ryan White

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

With the departure of Zac Rinaldo to the Bruins for a third round pick, the default replacement for the agitator role is Ryan White.

White had some decent results last season, however his scoring was fueled by a 101.76 PDO and a 14.29 personal shooting percentage, which means his scoring is highly unlikely to return.

Via Behind the Net

Via Behind the Net

From an agitation perspective, while White took fewer penalties than Rinaldo, he also drew far less making for a worse penalty differential. So, while there will be less instances of frustrating minors or reputation calls, there will also be fewer powerplay chances coming back the other way.

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

From a puck possession standpoint, over the past three seasons, White’s contributions have come in shot suppression. He suppresses shots at a third line level which is useful as he’d outpace his fourth line role. However, Zac Rinaldo did the same.

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

Now, experience tells us it’s highly unlikely that Rinaldo was anything more than a replacement level player. And that means attempting to find the mitigating circumstance that caused this discrepancy.

Via Behind the Net

Via Behind the Net

And there is the mitigating situation; Ryan White faced tougher opponents with inferior linemates while Rinaldo was carried by his linemates against inferior opponents. Given that White faced these difficult opponents with fourth line help; it’s fair to assume that a fourth line of White-Umberger-Bellemarre isn’t actually that bad.

I’ve argued that RJ Umberger is, in terms of talent, a perfect fit for the fourth line. With VandeVelde and White, this fourth line would actually be fairly decent, albeit expensive. White’s perfect for a fourth line role as his expected contributions would actually improve if dropped in role and allowed to face easier opponents.

While Ryan White’s goal scoring might be an aberration, he’s more likely to find himself in a fourth line role who can occasionally take a shift on the penalty kill. He’s likely to be a slight improvement in total over Rinaldo. If not; he’ll find himself on the role of the thirteenth forward.

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