Ryan White has been with the Bruins on a tryout basis for a couple of weeks now, He practices with the team, and goes through all of the motions of being an active NHL player on a roster.
But White, 29, hasn’t yet been signed by the B's even though they've been beset by injuries, and there are no guarantees that he’s going to eventually sign with Boston.
For the former Habs, Flyers, Wild and Coyotes forward, the PTO allows him to come back from a concussion suffered while on a training camp tryout with the Vancouver Canucks and stay in shape if some kind of opportunity pops up elsewhere. White said he has standing AHL offers if it gets to that point, but understandably he’s still looking for an NHL deal after posting 9 goals and 16 points in 65 energetic games with Minnesota and Arizona last season.
It’s a bit of a strange limbo for White, being unable to play in games or throw a hit at an opponent in earnest, but he’s being patient with the Bruins as they work things through with their surplus of forwards on the NHL roster right now.
“I haven’t been able to hit anybody or run anybody over in a while, so I’ve been chomping at the bit for a while,” said White, who is on an open-ended tryout with the Bruins that can last as long as both the player and team are interested in playing it out without a formalized contract. “I’m just kind of waiting to see what happens. The team has some things going on that are out of my control a little bit, so I’m just going to continue working hard. This has been good for me coming off the concussion in Vancouver. Just being back with an NHL group, skating and competing and working hard [has been good]. I definitely would like to play in games, but I’m focused in being ready to go.
“Certainly I need to start getting a paycheck again, but I’m kind of focused on being okay to wait a little bit. I’m just waiting for the right opportunity. I feel like I’m an NHL player and that I’m ready to contribute, and if it’s not here then it might be with someone else. A lot can happen in the NHL on a day-to-day basis. I’m just glad to be around a good group and a good veteran team right now, and pushing myself every day.”
So what will eventually give way for White to get on Boston’s NHL roster?
Well, Frank Vatrano and Matt Beleskey both have zero points and have been minus players in the early going, and at a certain point one has to wonder if a move is going to be made with one or the other. A demotion to Providence for either would open up a roster spot for White, and allow him to bring the energy, physicality and decent level of bottom-6 production that he’s shown throughout his 313 career NHL games.
Certainly it would be a drastic move to clear Beleskey off the roster, and it seems premature with plenty of years still left on his contract. But there’s also a sense that the B’s will lose Vatrano if they expose him to waivers. So it remains unclear what exactly the Bruins are going to do to potentially create a spot for White in the short term.
One thing that holds very true: It certainly feels like Boston’s bottom-6 group has some players in it that could use a jolt, and it White could provide it.