#7: Ian White
The best players you've never heard of
Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Pos.: D - Ht.: 5-10 - Wt.: 185
Hometown: Winnipeg, Man.
Key stats: For an undersized defenceman who's going to make an impact with his point totals, his numbers aren't overwhelming: one goal, seven assists, -5 and 43 shots on goal. Even still, White deserves a lot of credit for bringing some stability to the Leafs blueline when Pavel Kubina went down with an injury. Toronto essentially entered the season with a set Top 4 grouping and an array of indistinguishable No. 6-type young blueliners, but White has stood out in playing 21 minutes per game and moving the puck well out of the zone. He's one of the team leaders in blocked shots (4th, 25) and is playing about three minutes per game shorthanded and 1:40 on the power play.
James on Ian: As an avid WHL watcher a few years back, I saw White quite a few times with the Swift Current Broncos, and at that level he was one of those elite-level smallish defenders that have always had a hard time jumping up to the NHL. White scored 12, 32, 24 and nine goals in his four WHL campaigns, and had two point-per-game seasons. That point production continued last season with the AHL Marlies, where he had 37 points in just 59 games, and he auditioned with the Leafs in 12 games late in the year. Perhaps what White's best known for is his turn as a power-play specialist on Team Canada at the 2003 World Junior Championship, but was unable to play in the 2004 event because of an ankle injury.
Pub for Ian:
The skull tattoos — one laughing, the other crying — on Ian White's upper back help explain why his teammates sometimes label the Winnipeg native as wild.
It is a common mistake.
White, who after each hockey season "gets some fresh paint on [his] body for the beach," calls racing four-wheelers around the sand pits at his parents' cottage "relaxing." But his penchant for tattoos and ATVs is not what makes him a thrill-seeker.
His size, or the lack thereof, as he attempts to play defence in the National Hockey League is.
"When you're young, it's pretty hard-core to get some skulls," he said pointing to one of the tattoos. "You know, if something bad happens you laugh now and cry later."— National Post