MONTREAL — The Senators have a decision to make on Colin White.
His Boston College Eagles were officially eliminated from the NCAA playoffs Saturday night with a 4-3 loss to UMass Lowell at the TD Garden which means the Senators are free to negotiate with the 20-year-old centre who would like to leave school this spring and turn pro.
Senators assistant GM Randy Lee, who is handling the talks, reached out to White’s camp after the loss and the club is weighing its options to try to determine the best route. White was a standout for Team USA at the world junior championships but that doesn’t mean he’s NHL-ready, which is why Ottawa wants to do what’s best for both sides.
Here are the possibilities:
A) Sign him to an amateur tryout: White would finish the year with the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton and would agree to an entry-level contract in the off-season. The Senators like this road because they don’t lose a year on White for free agency and the cheap contract. He could get plenty of playing time in Binghamton with the club out of the playoff picture. This is Ottawa’s preferred scenario and, if he accepts it, White could be in the lineup Friday at the Canadian Tire Centre against the Marlies.
B) Sign him to an entry-level deal: The Senators could go this route and it would be the preferred option for White. This means burning a year on his contract and the Senators would rather not do that. It will be tough for White to get playing time with Ottawa trying to clinch a playoff spot, especially with the acquisition of forwards Alex Burrows and Viktor Stalberg.
C) Back to school: It doesn’t sound like either White or the Senators wants this, so somebody will have to compromise to make sure it doesn’t occur. If he goes back to school, he’d have to play two more years before being a UFA and neither side wants that to happen.
ANDY FEELING DANDY
It was no surprise to see goalie Craig Anderson make back-to-back starts in this series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Whatever was bothering him after the club’s 4-2 win over the Avalanche last Saturday in Colorado wasn’t that serious and he just needed a couple of days off the ice to let it settle down.
Anderson said he made good progress in a short period of time and that’s why he was able to start at home on Saturday.
“We were pretty cautious with it just to make sure that this doesn’t end up being something long-term,” Anderson said following the 4-3 shootout loss. “By taking a few days with the rest we need, we can nip it in the bud and go on from here. The long-term goal is getting to the playoffs and be healthy for that.
“We’ve got to get there first. (Mike) Condon has great for us all year long. He played well this week. We just didn’t want to push it unless you have to but we weren’t in a situation where I need to play through pain.”
Boucher said before Sunday’s game in Montreal that there was no need to make a change.
“His health is fine. He’s got tons of energy. He’s missed three months so that’s one of the things we definitely know will be on our side. He’s done it before,” Boucher said.
“It’s always about the circumstances. If you feel your goaltender is healthy and has got energy let’s go. He’s ready to go. If you feel that it’ll be a moment where it’s better to play your other guy then you do. It’s clear when he’s ready to go. I’ve said it every time, when he’s ready to go, he’s going.”
NO BIG DEAL
Yes, these were big games against the Habs, but Boucher doesn’t want anybody to overstate what they mean in the big picture since neither team has reached the playoffs yet.
“Having lived the NHL playoffs, this is exciting but that’s not the NHL playoffs,” he said following Saturday’s loss. “When you make it bigger than what it is, right now, it’s an important game for points. Just like (Sunday) and Boston (on Tuesday) is going to be an important game. It’s not about first place, it’s about get in wherever against whoever and be ready.
“Right now, it’s a such tough fight. You lose two or three and everybody has caught up. It’s about making the playoffs. I know what the playoffs (are) I’ve made it to (Game 7) of the conference final. It’s something else, it’s another gear.”
THE LAST WORDS
Winger Mike Hoffman, who had an assist in the club’s loss to Montreal Saturday, reached the 50-point plateau for the second time in his career. He went into Sunday’s game needing only an assist to tie his career high of 30. Last year, he finished with 29-30-59 points in 58 games … According to Elias Sports, Karlsson, who scored his 14th of the season to tie it up 3-3 and send it to OT in Ottawa, is the first blueliner to score 65 points in four straight years since Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey completed the feat in 1993-94 … Boucher opted not to make any changes Sunday. That meant defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka and forward Chris DiDomenico were scratched.