The Flames and Colin white



New Jersey beat writer Tom Gulitti reports today that the Devils have put both Trent Hunter and Colin White on waivers, with the intent of buying both out. Both remain useful NHLers, but for the Flames purposes Colin White is the more interesting target.

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With the departure of Robyn Regehr, there remains a significant hole in the Flames back-end. Feaster has acquired a lot of depth defenders ranging from Clay Wilson to Chris Butler this off-season, but none of them have a history of facing the tough match-ups Robyn Regehr faced night-in, night-out.

Colin White is such a defender. The 34-year old is no spring chicken and isn’t going to put up much offense, but he’s been a hard minutes muncher for years. Last season, he saw the third hardest quality of competition on the team and had the toughest zone start out of any Devils blueliner. When Brent Sutter was in NJ, White was top-four in terms of quality of competition and had the third hardest zone start on the blueline, so the Flames current bench boss is familiar with White and his potential utility.

White’s ticket for next season is $3 million with just one year remaining on the contract, so there’s little risk in grabbing him off of waivers.

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The alternative is to hope White clears waivers and is bought out. The Flames would be free to offer him a new, cheaper contract…but so would everyone else. That’s assuming no one else scoops him off of the waiver wire.

As for Trent Hunter, I actually have a lot of time for him as a middle-tier option despite his ever falling output since his 25-goal rookie season. When he’s healthy, Hunter routinely has one of the better relative possession rates on the Islanders and would probably do more numbers-wise if he had any support to speak of.

There’s a couple of reasons Hunter probably doesn’t make sense for the Flames. Firstly, the club already has some 15-one way contracts up front. Even if you assume Ivanans is done and P3L won’t play on the parent club, there’s still too many bodies jostling for too few positions. Unless someone like Nik Hagman goes away, there isn’t any room for Trent Hunter.

In addition, the big winger has struggled with injuries over his career. He hasn’t played a full season since 2007-08 and appeared in just 17 contests last year with a torn MCL.

Like White, if Hunter is indeed bought out he may make for an intriguing, lost-cost, low-risk acquisition. Again, though, Feaster would have to clear the decks a bit for a Hunter addition to make any sense.

Overall, Hunter is a potentially interesting acquisition, but White is more of a priority given the Flames needs. It will be interesting to see if either them makes it through waivers.

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  • RKD

    I think the flames should be looking at up and coming talent rather then to keep filling holes with so called experience good locker room guys. How do you expect to get better without giving a chance to some one who may surprise and become something. I believe are coaching staff is set. We have talent in the minors. There is also going a huge amount of dollars coming off the cap next year and Zach in nj only singed for one year. This year honestly I don’t see the flames doing any better or worse. Maybe worse to up the value in are picks. But what ever the flames do let the team grow! Quit adopting well maybes, what ifs, that can’t conbruite for years to come because the year to retire is alot sooner then later.


    Colin White is a big boy and sticks up for his team-mates 10 out of 10 times. I would think picking him up would be a smart move, but the Flames don’t have 3 million to spend. What would you do to clear up space Kent?

    • They would. They have about 1.8M in cap-space now, although Ivanans on LTIR would free up a tad. If you bump Mikkelson to the minors by adding White, then you’re getting pretty close.

      That said, The Flames would still have to do some minor roster juggling. They may prefer to see if he gets bought out as a result.

  • RKD

    The Flames would be smart to pick up White, he will solidify the d and allow Butler to be groomed in slowly.

    Butler needs to be transitioned into a top 4 role, rather than being forced into it.

    White has won two Stanley Cups so his experience will be invaluable to the younger d-men. Not sure how good his foot-speed is. I think he’s slightly more offensive than Reggie is.

  • loudogYYC

    The risk with the buy out is that you may have to offer him a 2 year contract to get him signed. Although probably cheap, you’d have to commit 2 years to a player in the wrong age group.

    I say the Flames pluck White now and tinker with the numbers later. His cap hit is the same as Hagmans and he’ll hopefully be gone by the start of next season.

    Do it Feaster!

  • Although I too think it would be a good move to pick up Colin White, it will once again show the youngsters that Flames management is more interested in playing veterans than giving them a chance.

    We need to let the kids have a chance. Bring up Brodie, bring up Negrin, bring up Ramage. We can’t do this if Colin White is slowly skating up and down the ice, filling up minutes for us.

    If we had a solid chance at making the playoffs, and perhaps going deep, I would be just fine with picking up White, and moving guys to the AHL. As is, however, I think even if we make the playoffs, playing White means the young guys lose a year of potential NHL-level experience. Maybe that’s good, maybe that’s bad – I’m not the coach.

    • There isn’t a single young player on this roster who would be competing with White if he was acquired by the Flames. With the exit of Erixon, the organization doesn’t have a kid capable of leaping into the top-4 rotation.

      TJ Brodie is competing with the likes of Babchuk, Butler, Mikkelson, Carson etc for ice time and those dudes are already here. Brodie is also the only prospect of note in terms of challenging for NHL ice time on the back-end.

    • I’m for and against it. He can definately play a top 4 role for the Flames. Also, if we decided Butler is playing top 4/5 minutes this season, he could be a valuable asset in helping the transition of Chris Butler becoming a top 4 NHL D-man.

      In no world would Negrin or Ramage be brought up this season. The defensemen knocking on the door are Brodie and potentially Breen. Ramage or Negrin havn’t ever shown signs they’re ready to compete for a roster spot yet.

      I’m against this move because it takes away NHL experience from Brodie. But now with all our top 6 defensive depth, he might not even get any games.

  • Vintage Flame

    Picking up White makes sense to me. He would be a solid option in the 3-4 pairing and we still have the room to develop the younger talent.

    Namely Brodie and Butler. I don’t see Ramage making the Flames this year except out of desparation or injury. That being said I also think it’s counter-productive to rush a player like Ramage. A year in Abbotsford would serve him well and allow him to develop his leadership skills at a pro level.

    I still think the Flames can and will move Hagman. They have far too many forwards right now, and it just makes sense that Hags is the one (of a few) to be moved. It also becomes a necessity to make the cap room for White.

    I think if they wait for him to clear waivers they will lose him to another squad. Wouldn’t be surprised to see DEdmonton make a play for him. They could probably make him a “killer” offer.

  • loudogYYC

    picking up colin white makes sense because:

    1. the flames need more defensemen (bouw, babs, gio, sarich, carson, butler, mikkelson, brodie, negrin aren’t anywhere near enough for a long playoff run har har)

    2. with the loss of regehr, phaneuf, erixon & aulie for no tangible return, it would be good to get yet another roster d-man.

    3. with the loss of staios, it woudl be good to get yet another oldie for leadership’s sake.

    4. we could see if the starfish(TM) applies to all defensemen named “white.”

  • everton fc

    White is older than Sarich, by a year.

    So we add $3mil White… move $4mill Regehr… White’s 3 years older than Regehr…


    I always liked White, though…

    As reported, Hunter hasn’t played a full season since 07-08. Always liked him, too.

    Both are good guys. Don’t forget White’s eye injury. Devils fans say he hasn’t been the same since. And Hunter’s knee…

    I say stay away… Move on…

  • White is now UFA. Be interesting to see where he lands.

    As for more articles, they’re coming (the FN contributor search blogoff will start soon, probably as early as tomorrow). In addition, please direct your requests for more material to one Mr. Patrick Steinberg.