Philadelphia Flyers forward Ryan White set career highs in games played, goals and points this season with a regular gig on the fourth line.
Down the stretch of the Philadelphia Flyers season, the 4th line received quite a bit of attention. This 4th line of White, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Chris VandeVelde , were often praised for being “annoying to play against”, and received an amount of ice time more in line with many teams’ 3rd lines.
That praise may or may not have been entirely justified, but no doubt coach Dave Hakstol liked and trusted this group. Forward Ryan White was perhaps the most notable of this group, and is a bit of a fan favorite. He led the trio in goals, big hits, and fights. Philly fans love that combination.
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Now that the season is over, White is the only member of the line that is not signed for next season. Both White and the Flyers have already expressed mutual interest in the player returning to Philadelphia, but the Flyers need to evaluate how much White is worth to the Flyers.
To cover the basics, White is 28 years old. He played 73 games last season, scoring 11 goals and 5 assists, and finished the season at -9. In the past, White has been a borderline NHL player, and this is the first season he has been a regular in an NHL lineup.
In terms of possession, White is right alongside his 4th line teammates.
Viewed as this, it reminds you that the Flyers 4th line is still a 4th line.
White can also be compared to his linemates in terms of production, where he did bring a bit more to the table this season. With 11 goals, he exceeds the combined output of Bellemare (7 goals) and VandeVelde (2 goals). This output, however, still places White in the bottom tier of NHL regulars in terms of production per minute.
This seems like the expected range of White’s output at this stage of his career. Viewed by possession and production, White’s first, injury-shortened, season with the Philadelphia Flyers looks like a bit of an anomaly, but he is also at the peak of his career.
Beyond 5v5 play, White is also a factor on special teams. White isn’t as prominent in the penalty kill as VandeVelde and Bellemare, but he is in the forward rotation for PK work. White also earned a spot on the Flyers second PP unit. There, he proved capable as a net front presence, setting screens and scoring the first 3 power play goals of his career.
You put all these factors together, and you get the picture of a reliable role player. He plays with heart, hitting and fighting. He can also play in all situations, but there shouldn’t be misconceptions that White is more than a mediocre player in production and possession.
The Philadelphia Flyers paid Ryan White peanuts last season–$800,000. White was definitely worth that to the Flyers. Given his total contributions to the Flyers, the Flyers will be interested in bringing him back at a modest-but-reasonable raise. Presuming no team throws a multi-year deal at White nearing $2 million per season, I expect White to resign with the Flyers and to continue this role with the team.