When I first heard Dave Nonis call Patrick White's name as Vancouver's first round selection in the NHL Entry Draft this past Friday in Columbus, I thought to my self, Patrick Who? With the likes of David Perron, Michal Repik and Oscer Moller still available at that point, I was certain that the Canucks scouting staff had yet again failed to judge young talent. Without even knowing much about him, I thought his career potential was Ryan Kesler at best and Nathan Smith at worst. To say I wasn't thrilled about the selection is a major understatement. But the more I read about this kid, the more I like him. I have also been very impressed with the way he conducted himself in the few interviews I've heard. Here are some encouraging quotes I've gathered from several people that have seen him play.
"White is incredibly strong with the puck. In last year's state championship game, Roseau head coach Scott Oliver instructed his players to try and play off White, because of his ability to bounce off of checks. White also has a hard, accurate shot which allows him to score a lot of goals. He is also responsible on his own end of the ice, which should make him even more attractive to NHL teams."
"White will head to the University of Minnesota next season. Whichever team drafts him will likely want White to play at least 2 or three years as he develops physically. White has a great deal of strength, but there is a big difference between being high school-strong and NHL-strong, and it takes time to build that strength. White projects to a solid two-way player that can be a solid finisher on a powerplay. White is one of the more complete players in the draft, with no glaring weaknesses. It will just be a matter of how he continues to develop."
"I really like White. I have a feeling he will end up on the gophers top line with Stoa and Okposo. He does everything well. He has the strength and smarts to make things happen. What i like about White the most is his willingness to shoot the puck. Some snipers in the making have the shot but do not shoot. White loves to shoot the puck. He likes to be that guy. I think he will be a steal where he was picked. Supposedly he is taking classes at the U already to work out with team and get early chemistry. He says and does all the right things. I hate to to cross compare stats but Sam Gagner had 11 goals in 40 some games in the USHL last year. This year White had 8 goals in 12 games."
"It's no secret that the Wild like Minnesota high school talent and Minnesota collegians. With White, they'd be getting both as he's headed for the University of Minnesota in 2007-08. However, this wouldn't be merely a public relations selection. Minnesota needs a future first-line center and White fits the bill--albeit a few years down the road. This pick seems like a natural."
"Can be a downright scary player to go up against when his game is on. Had a nice debut in the USHL and his short stay there leaves the mind open as to what he is really capable of. When he’s motivated, he can go out there and control games with his speed and mental game. Can go end to end at a moments notice when he turns on his afterburners. Again, consistency is a problem but not something “scary” enough to warrant dropping him out of the top 30."
"Minnesota : Lots of hometown players in this draft, and some of them are good, and still available. One of them will be quite good, and could turn out as the best sniper of the draft. His name, Patrick White. His shot is great, his release is fast, his shot is deadly accurate. Add to that good skating, good two way game, and you have a complete player. Will need time to reach the NHL, but he’ll be a good one."
"Pat White. Seen him as high as top 10 and as low as "who is Pat White." Totally carried his HS team to back to back state tournament appearance in what i think is the toughest section in the state to begin with. Took second both years. Plays well at both ends. Hard to knock off of the puck. Great shot. Loves to fish out pucks down low and take them out front and bury it. Possible 2 way sniper."
"I watched him play at the MN State Hockey Tournament. He was the leader of the Grand Rapids team. He's a very smooth skating player. The bottom line is he's a gamer. He simply took over the three games I watched him play. He's scores the important goals, very clutch. The knock on him is he can drift in and out of games which I saw at times. However, with the game on the line there wasn't anybody as clutch as him."
"The best stick handler in the draft besides Pat Kane."
"On the other side of the ice, the more I see Pat White, the more I'm convinced he'll be a first round draft pick next summer. He had another great performance. Even though he was held off the scoresheet, he was still making his presence felt on the ice."
"He's a very strong two-way player and can really dominate along the wall with the puck -- very strong kid. Give him three years at Minnesota and I think you'll find yourselves very happy with this pick. I know as a Gopher/Wild fan, I'm loving the fact White's here for the next few years, but now with Vancouver taking him, it's too bad he'll get to eat up the Wild down the road."
"He was also the AP Player of the Year in the state of Minnesota. He won this award over, among others, Ryan McDonagh, who of course went earlier in the first round to Montreal."
"He's a smart two-way center with great puck sense. His poise with the puck is exceptional and his best trait is his ability to draw the opposition to him and then break the defense down by threading the needle with a slick pass. He's also a precise finisher with a quick and accurate shot, especially in tight. His skating is deceptively good and his defensive game is underrated."