It was obvious in the offseason that the Montreal Canadiens was not going to keep forward Ryan White on the roster when he received no qualifying offer from the team. Becoming a UFA on July 1, he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.
Despite a pectoral muscle tear that sidelined him for 14 contest, he played 52 games in the 2013-14 season, which was a personal career-high. White finished the season with two goals and six points, a fourth liner who saw more defensive-zone starts than any other Habs player.
What many Habs fans enjoyed about White is his no-nonsense toughness. He went up against any player in the league without shying away from fights or confrontations. He went up against players who were bigger and tougher, and took penalties for doing so. Fans enjoyed his style and cheered him on. A physical player, White lost his regular spot when Montreal acquired Dale Weise from the Vancouver Canucks. Weise stepped up to the plate as a productive, consistent member of the team, becoming an instant fan and coach’s favorite.
This isn’t to take anything away from White. He had already won the hearts of fans when he first appeared on the Canadiens’ roster in the 2009-10 season. He was respected for his heart and his hard work on the ice. Many fans questioned why he wasn’t put into the lineup in the Eastern Conference Finals when the New York Rangers were clearly taking control and the Canadiens were shaky after losing Carey Price in net.
White had acquired an undeserved reputation as undisciplined and someone who took selfish penalties, but his numbers (50 penalty minutes in 52 games) don’t agree. In fact, he was brought in for some of the more physical matches (against such teams as the Boston Bruins, and ironically Flyers). HE stepped up to the task and accomplished what was asked of him.
When this deal was announced, the reaction from Habs fans was disappointment that he was no longer going to play for the team. I agree; he’s completely dedicated to his team, and his tenacity is notable. While fans wish him the best, there’s no doubt it will be tough to watch him do to the Habs what the Habs used to rely on him to do to other players.
Flyers fans should check out ABC Tickets for the complete Flyers schedule to see which games they want to go to in order to see Ryan White on the ice!