The Detroit Red Wings did not make a huge splash in free agency this offseason. Everyone probably expected them to, but with a weaker crop of players out there, Detroit did the smart thing and didn't sign James Wisniewski or Ed Jovanovski for a way too much money.
Instead they did the smart thing and signed Ian White to a 2 year deal worth $2.875 per season (ironically less than Jonathan Ericsson's whopper of a deal).
At first, Wings fans seemed to be disappointed with White's signing. I myself was sceptical as to whether he could fill Brian Rafalski's shoes. But now, in the midst of a 4-0 start by Detroit, it's looking like White may even surpass Raffy's performance.
White, 27-years-old, has never really been in the right situation. He started in Toronto with high expectations, but never panned out and was shipped to Calgary in the Dion Phanuef deal. He then hopped around to Carolina and San Jose last year, beating the Wings in the second round of the playoffs.
When I watched the Leafs on HNIC, White was a player that usually stood out as a bright spot on a bad Toronto team. Even in last year's playoffs, we saw the rocket of a slapper that he has a couple times.
He is a right handed shot and has been playing more minutes than Nicklas Lidstrom. While Mike Babcock said that Lidstrom wouldn't lead the Wings in ice time, everyone, including myself, thought Niklas Kronwall would. So far, White has earned the right to play top defensive minutes.
White has two goals and an assist in four games this year, with a plus four rating and four penalty minutes. He is on the top powerplay with Lidstrom and while last year it was always Rafalski setting up Lidstrom for the one timers, this year it's Lidstrom-to-White. They still use the same techniques as last year (switching sides for a one timer) and it has worked well so far. It lead to the overtime powerplay goal by Johan Franzen last night in Minnesota.
So far, so good for Ian White in Detroit. His abrasive game and puck movement skills will make him one of the steal signings of the offseason.
- Detroit dominated Vanouver in a 2-0 win a few nights ago. Jimmy Howard got the shutout. Valterri Filppula and White scored for Detroit.
- Johan Franzen scored in OT to beat Minnesota yesterday 3-2.
- Detroit has 35+ shots in all four games they have played
- Cory Emmerton is making it hard for Patrick Eaves and Fabian Brunnstrom to find playing time
- Expect Ty Conklin to get a start in goal in one of the next two games.