The Maple Leafs' tough and gritty blue-liner Ian White has proven through his play in the last calendar year that he is more than just another player on the Leafs' blue line.
The 5' 10", 190 pound defenseman has been very underrated by the media and fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, even though his continuously steady play suggests that he may be the Leafs' most reliable blue-liner both from an offensive and defensive standpoint.
In my opinion, he is more than deserving of at least an "A" on his jersey, and down the road a couple of years from now I can easily see him being the Leafs next Captain, the franchise's first since Mats Sundin left the team.
Now those are pretty tough shoes to fill, especially considering that Sundin is the Leafs' all-time goals and points leader, and captained this historic franchise for over a decade. But something tells me that if anyone can do it on their current roster, it would be No. 7.
Offensively from the blue line, White is more than capable of getting at least 25-30 points in a healthy year, and is on pace to set career highs in goals, assists, and points if he plays in every game this year. He possesses a wicked slap shot from the point, as displayed tonight in his game-winning goal with a minute and a half to play in regulation. Not only is it fast and hard, but it is also accurate. Therefore, he is also a huge weapon on the Leafs' top power play unit.
Defensively, this man is solid. For the most part, White has always been a plus player with the Buds, who hits hard and always finishes his check. His is also fearless on the team's penalty kill, diving to block shots in any area, by any shooter, regardless of how much it will hurt. Now that is a team player! Simply put, he is a 5-foot-10 defenseman who plays like he is 6-foot-10; he is just a beast out there!
Ian White definitely resembles everything that the team's General Manager Brian Burke is looking for in his players, in terms of grit, belligerence, toughness, heart, and character. You can bet that the impending unrestricted free agent will have a new contract offer coming his way shortly, one which will see him be paid roughly between $3 million and $4 million per season, with a no-trade clause(just kidding).
Seriously though, this man is the most underrated player in the league in my opinion, and hopefully he will be back next season as part of the core of the Leafs' blue line, and hopefully with an "A" on his jersey.
As for the captaincy situation plaguing the Leafs right now, Ian White has my vote!