# Don’t Give Up on This Kid Just Yet!

on October 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

Discuss it Here >>>

Alright everybody, let’s sit down and do some good old fashioned stat crunching. I call this the GM Game.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you had two young defensemen: Player A and Player B.

Let’s talk physical traits first: Player A is 5’10, 174 lbs. Player B is 5’10, 185 1bs. Hmmm… clearly both seem like undersized defensemen. So obviously, their worth in the NHL would likely be determined by their offensive output right? Correct. On to Stage 2.

Rookie seasons in the NHL at age 23:

Player A: 0.463 PPG (38 point pace), -5 rating, 24 MPG

Player B: 0.342 PPG (28 point pace), +8 rating, 18 MPG

So after a quick glance through the stats, we can probably infer that both are fairly talented offensively, with Player A getting more minutes, and outproducing Player B.

Now one very important factor to consider when comparing offensive defensemen, is the amount of time they receive on the PP.

Player A received 470 PP minutes, playing on the #1 PPÂ and recording 26 PP points.

Player B received 134 PP minutes, playing on the #2 PP and recording 6 PP points.

Roughly 4 times more minutes on the PP, roughly 4 times more PP points. Makes sense. No surprise there. So what happens when we remove power play totals from the equation?

Player A: 0.14 even strength PPG

Player B: 0.26 even strength PPG

Well now this starts to get interesting. Does this mean that PP time aside, Player B may be the more talented offensive player? Perhaps.

Clearly, we can see that from the stats presented above, perhaps the onlyÂ difference between Player B outproducing Player A is lack of opportunity? That might not necessarily be true, but it’s certainly a justifiable possibility to explore.

Now, as armchair GM’s, take a few minutes to think about this one if you need to. Which Player would you rather have moving forward? Would you give both players a shot to play on your top six?

No Peeking now!

….

….

….

Alright. So, here are the answers:

Player A is one of the top prospects in the NHL, and one of the league’s brightest up-and-coming offesnive defensemen, Atlanta’s Tobias Enstrom.

Player B is the former WJC Canadian defender, and current press box seat warmer, Toronto’s Ian White.

Makes you at least pause and think, doesn’t it?

Here’s something else to chew on: At age 19 in the WHL, Ian White scored 79 points in 70 games. At same age 19 in the WHL, Ryan Getzlaf scored 68 points in 70 games.

Hmmm……

Always a pleasure,

Alex Tran

[email protected]

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]

• Tyler

Fair enough, but this is going into year 3.5 for White and year 2 for Enstrom. Enstrom’s first full year was better than Whites, but mark my words, if Enstrom regresses the way that White did last year, Atlanta will be looking at dumping him the same way that the Leafs are looking at dumping White.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Blair

There’s no doubt White can produce points, but he doesn’t seem to be able to contribute defensively – and the Leafs have far too many defenseman like this. I’m hoping White gets showcased in the coming games and we see him block some shots, put up some points, and play smart (he is very intelligent off the ice but we have yet to see that transition in to playing smart defensively on the ice). He doesn’t need to be a banger or to play overly physical if he can play smart and use his stick well. If we see that side of him then the Leafs should hang on to him and focus on trading Kaberle and Kubina for big returns.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
• hebsie99

No way white is 5’10″ and 185 pounds. More like 5’7″ 160. Seems that a minimum floor of 5’10″ for player heights was negotiated in the CBA along with the salary floor. No one is ever listed under 5’10″.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

Blair, I agree with you about Toronto having a problem with too many offensive defensemen.

My point was just that if you want to trade White, then you should be fully aware of what he brings to the table, and what his potential is and receive an appropriate return.

Be 100% sure that you want to move ahead without him, as opposed to simply writing him off as junk.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
• http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com Pension Plan Puppets

I knew as soon as you mentioned small defenders that one was White.

I’d echo Tyler’s sentiment about White’s regression although I’d add that his defensive game (maybe not his stats) has never really developed. He still can’t lift a stick in front of the net to save his life, he still can’t make a clearance on his backhand, and he still gets outmuscled all over the ice.

He’s not good enough to be a PP specialist, too small for the PK, and too much of a liability at even strength.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

And Tyler, I don’t think we’ll see that happen with Atlanta if Enstrom if he regresses, because they’ve ensured that their young defensemen have spots on the team.

Toronto went out and signed Frogren, Finger, and elected to keep Kaberle/Kubina, and then traded for Van Ryn. So that’s 5 of 6 available spots right there.

There are many examples of talented young defenders regressing in their 2nd full seasons, (i.e. the dreaded sopohomore jinx) who get more of a shot.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]

PPP, as I showed in the stats above, White has been just as good on the PP as Enstrom, and even better ES.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]

And yes everybody, White is 5’10, 185.

As you can see in this picture, http://mirtle.blogspot.com/2006/11/7-ian-whitethe-best-players-youve.html, White is just barely shorter than the 6’1 Stajan.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Mark Ribble

It seems that White is the forgotten man in the early going, and it’s really too bad. He’s got a definite upside, and despite his size, played very well at times last year. I think there is potential there for him to become a top 6 guy anywhere in the league. I just wonder where he fits in with the Leafs. They seems to have pushed him out of the top six just by osmosis. He didn’t seem to standout in pre-season, and managed to look okay up front when he spent time on the wing. Maybe once Finger returns and all the dust settles, he will get another shot….if they don’t trade him before then.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Blair

I’m in absolute agreement with you on that Alex. I’m tired of the Leafs getting a poor return in their trades, which happens for two reasons: they don’t realize the potential they are trading and/or desparation. The Leafs always seem to be desparate when they need to make moves and the desparate team is the one that gets the short end of the stick and gives up too much.

If White alone can fetch anything upwards of a 2nd rounder I’d take it in a heart beat.

I thought your comparison was actually between White and Boyle. You wouldn’t be far off by saying White is a poor man’s Boyle (and developing) and look what Boyle fetched.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

Excellent comparison Blair.

Dan Boyle was let go by Florida (what’s wrong with that organization?!) after he put up 22 points in 69 games (very similar to White’s age 23 campaign) at age 25, despite a history of strong offensive production (again, like White in the WHL).

And Boyle has about 1 inch and 5 lbs on White.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Jacob

Regardless of where White stood in the minors or at what position he was drafted (even Chad Kilger was a first round pick… Patrick Stefan… hell, I think even Wade Belak and Aki Berg were first round picks) it doesn’t change the fact that defensively, White has a lot to learn and he’s had ample time. But it does make you wonder if Paul Maurice was just that terrible of a coach.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

Jacob, I think it’s more a matter of coaching to be honest.

White tries to hit, block shots, etc.

What he lacks is someone to teach him to play a solid positional game like Kaberle, in order to minimize battling in corners and maximize quick movement of the puck and transition out of the defensive zone.

Like Toskala, White is IMO a vicim of bad team defense and gets caught runing around everywhere.

If in a proper defensive system, I think White can maximize his potential and offensive production.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Jacob

Perhaps he’s better off doing so elsewhere then because he is clearly not getting it defensively here. I prefer him as a forward.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Blair

I thought White made a decent forward as well. He always seemed to be in the center of the action and making good plays. I’d rather see him play right now than Stajan or Poni.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Troy

I agree that White has value, and potential.

Let’s not forget that he’s still only 24 years of age, and after goalies, defense-men take the most time to mature.
Some players also develop faster than others.

I’d like to see White work on his strength, and positioning, then I believe you’d see a top 4 D-man.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

Exactly Troy, I agree with you.

White broke in with a solid rookie season after a very impressive training camp, and amassed great 5 on 5 point totals, and held his own on the PP despite very limited minutes.

He played roughly 18.5 minutes a night (roughly 2nd pairing minutes) and did not look out of place at all.

Then he just had a terrible sophomore season, and now we’re suddenly writing him off.

That’s the part that confuses me about this rebuild. It’s clear that White’s got talent. Why isn’t he being given a 2nd chance?

We don’t want to have another Dan Boyle situation here, as pointed out earlier in the comments.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Jacob

He had a rough training camp this season, but last season he was paired off with the sluggish and streaky player that is Hal Gill. Maurice and Gill ruined his career and he hasn;t come back from it since.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Troy

Jacob, I think that’s a little harsh to say Maurice and Hal ruined Ian’s carrier. I thought Gill and White played very well together. In my opinion, the plus/minus rating of -9, which was the significant stain on Whites record last season, was reflective of the team as much, or more than the pairing.
In fact, Hal Gill was even when he left the Leafs last year.
Do you realize that the team as a whole was -29?

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

That’s a good point Troy.

The team as a whole did a terrible job defensively last season, and thus a player of White’s stature can really get exposed.

As we saw a few times last season, even excellent defenders like Kubina (#1 D-man on Tampa’s Cup winning team) and Gill (very reliable D-man for Pittsburgh during their Cup run) can look terrible out there if faster wingers are allowed to free wheel around them thanks to lack of team support.

Stick Gill and Kubina on other team’s, and they excel.

Same case with White.

The poor guy’s pinned in his own zone for entire shifts. How is he supposed to do what he’s in the NHL to do?

Let’s say for example he plays for Detroit. Guys like Datsyuk, Draper, Holmstrom, Draper, etc, come in, win the battles, get the puck back, and then suddenly White is looking fantastic leading the rush the other way.

Boyle got burned in Florida the same way.

Stick a reliable defenseman next to him (Kubina), along with a very good team and great goalie behind him (Khabibulin) and then suddenly he can do what he does best.

If some defensive-minded team in need of a PP QB (I’m looking at you Columbus) gives White a shot, I think he would surprise many people.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
• Troy

Very well put.

VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

lmao, I included Draper twice.

God that guy is overrated =P

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]