Colin White Buyout Unfortunate but Needed Step for Ottawa Senators

Colin White buyout
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It was announced on Tuesday afternoon that Colin White had been placed on waivers for purpose of a buyout. This has been a move that Sens fans have discussed as a potential option all season. White never lived up to the contract that he was given, which saw him make $4.75 million per season. So, a Colin White buyout became a clear option. For Ottawa, it shows a step in the right direction. The team is saving money in the long-term, but that can now be used to make some commonly promised improvements. However, it is unfortunate that White never worked with the team.

Colin White Buyout Provides Options

Colin White in Ottawa

The main reason a Colin White buyout is so unfortunate is that he was one of the first players since Bobby Ryan that the Sens gave a long contract to. Betting on his upside, the Sens handed him a six-year, $28.5 million contract in hopes he would become their 2C, or even potentially a 1C. However, that did not end up being the case. White never seemed to find a consistent game with Ottawa and was moved up and down the lineup regardless of what coach used him.

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There is still value in this. Over the past few seasons, White became a defensively responsible 3C that could take some harder matchups if needed. The problem was that he still made too much for that role and that he couldn’t stay healthy. White has missed 58, 11, 10, and 10 games respectively in the four seasons he has been a full NHL player. If you’re going to be an overpaid player, you need to be more available than that.

Regardless, White did seem like one of the guys you could classify as “good in the room”. How much value that truly holds is impossible to determine. But at the very least, he seemed like a good mentor to have for some of the young guys coming up.

Where He Goes Now

The good thing for White is that he still should have plenty of options. Yes, usually your value is at an all-time low when you’re bought out. But White now has a very unique chance to go and boost his value. The Senators will be paying White $875,000 for the next six years, which means regardless he will have a steady income. This could allow him to a sign a cheap one-year deal on a really good team and rebuild his value.

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Look at the contract Nick Paul just got because of his playoff run in Tampa. If White can do even half of that on a team that goes deep like Tampa or say the Colorado Avalanche, he could very easily turn it into another multi-year deal at a lower AAV than what he had with Ottawa. For the teams, they would get a guy who can slide up and down the lineup at a price tag of say $1 million. Way more palatable than $4.5 million.

Where Does Ottawa Go From Here?

The real question becomes, what does Ottawa do now? It can be looked at as a positive the team is willing to acknowledge and move on from a mistake. However, part of moving on is fixing the issue. Buying White out and calling it a day simply isn’t enough. You now need to use that money and spend it elsewhere to upgrade your team. Whether that’s a Free Agent signing next week, or maybe it is a trade target. Jesse Puljujarvi is a name on the market that could be an excellent fit in Ottawa and he wouldn’t cost anywhere close to the price that someone like Alex DeBrincat will be demanding.

The other issue to look at for Ottawa is the right side of their blueline. They do have some promising pieces in Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thompson. However, Nikita Zaitsev and Travis Hamonic are also there. You can’t consider yourself a legit playoff team and have those two both playing meaningful minutes. An upgrade needs to be made somewhere.

Big Decisions to Make

Regardless, the Senators have some big decisions to make this summer. They were all talk and no game last offseason. That simply can’t happen again. A Colin White buyout was step one in giving themselves some additional flexibility. Now the question becomes what do they do to take advantage of that?