FC Montreal

Colin White looking to make most of opportunity with the Canadiens


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Claimed off waivers last week from the Penguins, former first-round draft pick has been centring Montreal's fourth line since his arrival.

Penguins' Colin White couldn't get his stick on a rebound off Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen during a game last month in Pittsburgh before White switched teams. Photo by Gene J. Puskar /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

As a former first-round draft choice now on his fourth NHL organization, Colin White‘s career has not played out the way he envisioned.

What remains to be determined is whether the lifeline the Canadiens threw White last week, after claiming him off waivers from Pittsburgh, will be his last opportunity.

“There’s ups and downs no matter what,” White said after Tuesday morning’s skate at the Bell Centre and before playing Arizona in his first home game in a Montreal uniform. “You kind of just have to deal with them. For me, it’s just keeping a positive attitude and keeping my foot to the pedal. Working hard every day. Coming to the rink with a smile on my face. Being a good locker-room guy and just finding ways to stay alive and thrive, too.”

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Selected 21st overall by Ottawa in 2015, the 27-year-old has been plagued by injuries — including a serious shoulder mishap from an October 2021 exhibition game that required surgery and limited White to 24 games that season — and has failed to live up to expectations.

He was placed on unconditional waivers by the Senators in July 2022, and bought out from the remaining three years of a six-year, US$28.5-million contract extension he signed in August 2019. White played last season with the Florida Panthers and, although he reached the Stanley Cup final, the organization elected not to give the 6-foot-1, 194-pound forward a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

White attended Penguins training camp this season on a professional tryout and, while he was signed to a one-year contract, the native of Hanover, Mass., also was assigned to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

It has been a lot to digest.

“For me, going to the minors was a good thing,” said White, who produced five goals and 10 points in 21 AHL games. “I got to go down there, play a lot again and get some of my confidence back, carrying pucks and just having fun with it. The group down there was great. The coaches were great. If anything, I think it helped me. I’m just positive about it. It was good for me.

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“As I’ve gotten older, it’s easier for me to put things behind me and just move on. It was tough going to camp (on a PTO), but it was also an opportunity. I made the most of it. There was a good thing that came from it. That’s in the past. Now it’s about moving forward.”

Recalled by Pittsburgh on Jan. 13, the former Boston College product failed to register a point in 11 games. After participating in the Penguins’ morning skate last Thursday, White received a call at 2:15 that afternoon, informing him he’d be switching teams that night. He has been playing centre on the Canadiens’ fourth line, between Tanner Pearson and Jesse Ylönen. Through two games with Montreal, White has no points, is a plus-1 and has produced two shots while averaging 10:32 of ice time.

He also is playing with pink-eye — an inflammation of the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and eyeball, causing itchiness but not affecting White’s vision.

While Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis knew little about White, a former client of Montreal general manager Kent Hughes, he likes what the veteran has brought.

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“You can see he’s got some good tools,” St. Louis said. “He’s not necessarily going to beat you with his feet, but he’s pretty intelligent on the ice. He’s got a lot of poise.”

While White has played many games at the Bell Centre as a member of the opposing team, he was eagerly anticipating skating against the Coyotes, knowing the crowd would be behind him and his teammates despite their five-game losing streak.

“The amount of history in this building,” he said. “Always being on the opposing side, it’ll be amazing to be on this side. I’m sure I’ll get some chills.

“It’s just (about) playing my game and having fun with it. I feel the last two games I’ve carried pucks more, trying to create some chances, playing good defence and hopefully get some bounces. Just play a really good, solid game. It’s just a great opportunity.”

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Page 2

As a former first-round draft choice now on his fourth NHL organization, Colin White‘s career has not played out the way he envisioned.

What remains to be determined is whether the lifeline the Canadiens threw White last week, after claiming him off waivers from Pittsburgh, will be his last opportunity.

“There’s ups and downs no matter what,” White said after Tuesday morning’s skate at the Bell Centre and before playing Arizona in his first home game in a Montreal uniform. “You kind of just have to deal with them. For me, it’s just keeping a positive attitude and keeping my foot to the pedal. Working hard every day. Coming to the rink with a smile on my face. Being a good locker-room guy and just finding ways to stay alive and thrive, too.”

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Selected 21st overall by Ottawa in 2015, the 27-year-old has been plagued by injuries — including a serious shoulder mishap from an October 2021 exhibition game that required surgery and limited White to 24 games that season — and has failed to live up to expectations.

He was placed on unconditional waivers by the Senators in July 2022, and bought out from the remaining three years of a six-year, US$28.5-million contract extension he signed in August 2019. White played last season with the Florida Panthers and, although he reached the Stanley Cup final, the organization elected not to give the 6-foot-1, 194-pound forward a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

White attended Penguins training camp this season on a professional tryout and, while he was signed to a one-year contract, the native of Hanover, Mass., also was assigned to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

It has been a lot to digest.

“For me, going to the minors was a good thing,” said White, who produced five goals and 10 points in 21 AHL games. “I got to go down there, play a lot again and get some of my confidence back, carrying pucks and just having fun with it. The group down there was great. The coaches were great. If anything, I think it helped me. I’m just positive about it. It was good for me.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

“As I’ve gotten older, it’s easier for me to put things behind me and just move on. It was tough going to camp (on a PTO), but it was also an opportunity. I made the most of it. There was a good thing that came from it. That’s in the past. Now it’s about moving forward.”

Recalled by Pittsburgh on Jan. 13, the former Boston College product failed to register a point in 11 games. After participating in the Penguins’ morning skate last Thursday, White received a call at 2:15 that afternoon, informing him he’d be switching teams that night. He has been playing centre on the Canadiens’ fourth line, between Tanner Pearson and Jesse Ylönen. Through two games with Montreal, White has no points, is a plus-1 and has produced two shots while averaging 10:32 of ice time.

He also is playing with pink-eye — an inflammation of the transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and eyeball, causing itchiness but not affecting White’s vision.

While Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis knew little about White, a former client of Montreal general manager Kent Hughes, he likes what the veteran has brought.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

“You can see he’s got some good tools,” St. Louis said. “He’s not necessarily going to beat you with his feet, but he’s pretty intelligent on the ice. He’s got a lot of poise.”

While White has played many games at the Bell Centre as a member of the opposing team, he was eagerly anticipating skating against the Coyotes, knowing the crowd would be behind him and his teammates despite their five-game losing streak.

“The amount of history in this building,” he said. “Always being on the opposing side, it’ll be amazing to be on this side. I’m sure I’ll get some chills.

“It’s just (about) playing my game and having fun with it. I feel the last two games I’ve carried pucks more, trying to create some chances, playing good defence and hopefully get some bounces. Just play a really good, solid game. It’s just a great opportunity.”

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