Current team: U.S. National Development Program
Weight: 183 lbs.
Central Scouting Ranking: 29 (North America)
ISS Ranking: 15
With the second overall pick, the Sabres will take a player who came out of the United States National Development Program and then decided to head back home to Boston for college. They could take a player who did the same thing at 21, except Colin White will be an Eagle, not a Terrier.
White is heralded as a very solid two-way center. He's put up very solid numbers thus far, and is also very sound in his own zone. He finished sixth on the USNDP, largely because he missed quite a bit of time with a wrist injury and mononucleosis. Mono kept him out of four games at the 2014 Four Nations Tournament, but he still lead the team in points.
White has been at his best at tournaments with the U.S., really coming through when it matters. In the U-17 World Hockey Challenge he averaged a remarkable three points a game, leading the tournament in goals, assists and points. At the U-18s he scored the Gold Medal clinching goal in overtime against Finland, one of his six goals in seven games. In September Chris Peters of CBS Sports said he was considered a top-10 pick by many in the hockey community. That month he was chosen to play in the All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo.
As I mentioned earlier, White will be heading to Boston College to play college hockey next year. The Sabres have shown in the past that they like college prospects, with top players like Hudson Fasching and JT Compher. Both players have been told to return to their schools, showing that the Sabres feel there is a benefit to developing at that level instead of going to the AHL. White could grow into an even stronger player within the year by bulking up and playing against older competition.
The one downside with White is what his ceiling is. He likely is a middle-six forward, and the Sabres have plenty of those right now. He'd need to slide to wing as well based on the Sabres depth chart. Tim Murray may opt for a player with more upside, but you can never have enough players who are responsible in their own zone. Other middle-six prospects in the organization may look promising, but they won't all turn out. With him playing in the USHL and through injury and illness, we may have not seen his full potential yet either.
Where White will be taken is a bit of a mystery, because his rankings are all over the place. That may be due to him being one of the younger players in the draft, and not getting a chance to prove himself in college yet. Central Scouting has him at 29th when it comes to only North American skaters. ISS has him 15th overall amongst all draft prospects, which is quite a bit different.
What They're Saying
"A prolific scoring threat, Colin White is a strong 3-zone player with an eye for scoring chances. Thinks the game at a high level and always seeks to make an impact on the ice, with or without the puck. Never seems to be outbodied and is an exceptional skater. Puck-possession is definitely a strength. All-in-all, a skilled, 200-foot player that does all of the little things right and is able to make a large impact on the game and its outcome."
-Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
"Strong, well-rounded, two-way center…one of the best skaters for this draft…great speed with an excellent stride and tremendous acceleration…moves quickly and is tough to handle when he hits top speed…has great strength on his skates and is tough to separate from the puck…battles hard for possession…drives the net and is strong in close…can beat a goalie in many ways…has a great shot and also distributes the puck well…a very hard worker with an edge to his game…great on defense with a great defensive stick and strong defensive-zone awareness…always in the right spots on the ice and he is a tremendous worker."
"When I'm talking about [White], there's no doubt in my mind this kid is one heck of a hockey player. He's going to be a great pro player. The details you need at the professional level, he has. He does them naturally. He competes naturally. I don't care if he had 100 points, that doesn't make anybody better than anybody else at this level. It might make him only better at this level. It has no bearing on the future.
-Don Granato, USA U-18 coach
"Colin has a lot of hockey sense and a strong two-way game. He is a strong competitor and brings a solid effort every night. He has high end skill and makes the players around him better."
-Dave Gregory, NHL Central Scouting
"White's speedy, responsible game would put him in the Patrice Bergeron mold. Though viewings were restricted, scouts did like what they saw. Now the question is one of ceiling. 'I see him as a really good two-way, third-line guy with an upside,' said another scout. 'At the All-Americans Prospects Game, White was one of the guys I thought was really visible.'"
-The Hockey News