The Devils placed both defenseman Colin White and RW Trent Hunter on waivers today. Lou Lamoriello later confirmed that the Devils plan to buy out their contracts if they clear waivers. If the players clear waivers by noon on Tuesday, their contracts could be bought out for 2/3 the remaining contract value spread over twice the number of years remaining. All in all, this would save the Devils $3,333,333 in cap space for the upcoming 2011-2012 season. The players would then become unrestricted free agents and free to sign with any other team.
By placing Hunter on waivers, the Devils have more or less proved the theory I had put forth in my post on Thursday regarding the trade which brought Hunter to the Devils from the Islanders in exchange for Brian Rolston. In that post, I postulated that the Devils made that trade simply to clear cap space. That’s evident now. But regarding Colin White, this move might be slightly more surprising to many people. White has played his entire professional career for the Devils – a career which has spanned 11 seasons and included 2 Stanley Cup championships. Lamoriello described placing White on waivers as “difficult” but a business decision. White had been informed that this could happen if he wasn’t traded, and, although they tried, the Devils weren’t able to trade him.
While White had been a member of the 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cup championship teams, his play declined significantly after he suffered an eye injury in 2007, and he has never been the same player since. Personally, I was never that impressed with White’s quality of play. I remember him making an inordinate number of mistakes and sloppy passes. I was actually sitting in a section of Continental Airlines Arena during the longest playoff game in Devils history (against Tampa Bay in 2003) from which quite a few Devils fans would yell “You suck, White!” every time he touched the puck. But with the eventual losses of Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski from the back end, White slowly emerged as one of the Devils’ top defensemen. I think this may have been more by default than by virtue of his play. But for all of his mistakes and idiotic plays, White was usually able to atone for them by being physical. The dude could fight. Unfortunately, the operative word there is “could”. Past tense. Since his eye injury in 2007, White has rarely engaged in any fights and, quite frankly, hasn’t had that many impressive hits, either. Add to that the fact that he’s not a very fast skater, and one could see how this move by the Devils is a good one.
I respect Colin White as I respect all Devils who have contributed to winning the Cup…and White’s even contributed to two Cup wins. And White was nothing if not loyal to the Devils for over a decade. As such, I truly wish him the best of luck. But it’s time to move on and make room for a younger, faster and more physical crop of defensemen on the roster. Truth be told, this move is probably way overdue. What do you think? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
Colin White was one of only three Devils remaining from the 2003 championship team. The other (and now, only) two are Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias. With White’s departure from the Devils, this now leaves Brodeur and Elias as the only two current Devils who have their names on the Cup. This should, hopefully, result in the Devils being a very hungry team!