If I would have told you a year ago that Todd White would account for 73 points in the upcoming season, chances are you would have laughed me clear out of the blogosphere. He was coming off a very lackluster 14 goal, 23 assist performance in his first season in Atlanta and his soft play…most notibly on the defensive side of the ice…earned him the nickname “Charmin” around these parts.
Prior to his arrival in Thrasherville, in the two seasons he played with the Minnesota Wild, White scored 19 goals and 40 points during 61 games as well as 13 goals and 44 points in 77 games. He was a -1 and +8 in his two years there as well. In fact, heading into last season, the most productive year Whitey ever enjoyed in his NHL career was in 2002-03 when he netted 25 goals and 35 assists for 60 points while playing for the Ottawa Senators. He was a +19 that season.
So as you can see, to have predicted such an effort from White…espcially playing for a team that was coming off a 76-point effort the season prior…would have gotten you some very long odds in Vegas.
However, to his credit, that’s exactly what he did.
He began the year centering the team’s second line with the veteran Slava Kozlov to his left and the youngster Bryan Little to his right. For the first half of the season that was the most productive and reliable line the Thrashers put out there. He and Little finished off the season with Kaptain Kovy on the top line. The 22 goals last year were not tops for White, however his 51 assists and 73 overall points were.
But the big question that I have about the 5′-10″. 195-pound native of Kanata, ON is…which Todd White are we more likely to see this season?
The one that surprised us all with the career-high 73 points or more of last year?
The one that was all but invisible on the ice two seasons ago?
Or, and this is what I believe…something in between?
Remember, last season was a “career” year…and one such campaign does not necessarily guarantee a follow-up performance at the same level. Certainly I don’t think we’ll see the pedestrian numbers that he put up in his first season in a Thrashers uniform, but I can’t say I’m quite as confident that he’ll match…or top… last year’s either.
Of course, much of that could depend on where he spends his time in the lineup. If the Thrashers don’t make any other major moves to acquire another forward, I would think we would see White, Kozlov and Little form the team’s second line again…and that would be just fine with me. If that is the case, then I think White and that line can be very productive once again.
For the record, I’d like to see Peverley playing the pivot between Kovy and Antropov on the first line.
However, if certain rumors are true and Atlanta brings in, say, Nikolai Zherdev…then that would shuffle things around on the top two lines. Kovy, Antropov and Zherdev could very well be your first line…then the second line could be something like Kozlov, Peverley and Little. If so, then White might be playing down with Reasoner and Armstrong. Is that any way to reward a player’s career year?
Now, some might say to leave White between Little and Kozlov…then place Peverley on the third line. But I think that would really be a waste of Pevs abilities.
Besides, either way you go with that, where would you play Evander Kane? In either scenario, your answer would have to be…Vancouver.
Now please don’t misunderstand me, none of this is at all meant to be a slam on Todd White and I’m certainly not trying …ahem…put the squeeze…ahem… on the player formerly known as Charmin. Like I said prior, I do not believe we’ll see a return to the 2007-09 type of numbers for him. But I’m also skeptical of seeing 73 again as well…though I’d love to be wrong.
Given all that, I’ll throw this matter out to you placing the over/under line on his total point production this coming season at…65.
Look…It’s Rawhide In Russian!
I was recently “cyber-interviewed” by Vadim Kuznetsov who writes for Tribuna.Sports.Ru…and here is the link to his writeup. I warn you though, it’s in Russian. So maybe our friend and frequesnt contributer “Russian” might help us out with the translation, eh?
Anyway, the subject matter includes this summer’s moves by the team, Kovalchuk’s re-signing and how I think the team will do this season.