Comfortable 4th-liner Ryan White Wants Flyers Over Money

VOORHEES, N.J. - Ryan White wore a fitted baseball hat, tucking back his long, shaggy hair.

He greeted everyone, walked to the table and grinned.

"I feel like a big shot every time I get up here," he said with a laugh.

It was a microcosm of White as a player and person, painting a picture of how the 28-year-old forward will approach this offseason, one in which he can test the free-agent waters.

White is not the ostentatious type, nor is he one for press conferences or luxury.

He just wants to be comfortable.

"Are you searching for money and opportunities or are you searching for a place where you're wanted and a place where you are getting minutes and getting a big part of the chance to help your team win?" White said Tuesday at Flyers Skate Zone. "Knowing the system, knowing the coach and having the coach's respect and him liking you and playing you is a big thing. I think that's a tough thing to find sometimes in this league."

White believes he's found it in the Flyers - the reason he wants to return for the 2016-17 season and beyond. The forward will be an unrestricted free agent July 1 after playing two seasons with the Flyers.

He's coming off a one-year deal worth, per, $800,000.

"I'd like to be back," White said. "I think it's a good fit to be here in Philly. I mean, my family loves it here, I love playing here."

White never played more than 52 games in any of his five seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. This past season with the Flyers, he played a career-high 73 and set personal bests with 11 goals and 16 points, bringing a hard-nosed net presence.

He helped form an effective fourth line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde, a group head coach Dave Hakstol seldom changed.

It even made Hakstol blush less than an hour after the Flyers were eliminated from the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Well, I guess I got a smile on my face," Hakstol said when asked about the fourth line Sunday following the Flyers' Game 6 1-0 loss to the Capitals on Sunday. "Those guys, they have been a huge part of our team. For whatever reason, they fit together and they are a hard group to play against. Come playoff time, I thought they were one of the groups that really raised their level and they went out and continued to do a great job at the elevated level of intensity that comes with the playoffs."

Was it enough for the Flyers to offer a new contract to White?

"We have interest in Whitey," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday. "I think Whitey is a good fit for us and I think we're a good fit for him. Is he going to be back? I have no idea, but we'll see what we can do, though."

Much like with restricted free agent Brayden Schenn (see story), the Flyers and White haven't had any recent contract negotiations.

"I haven't talked in a while," he said. "We just wanted to leave everything and let hockey be hockey, that's kind of how Hexy runs things, too, which is nice. I think you're hoping to get something done. And I'd love to be back, love to be a Flyer again.

"So, yeah, we're hoping."

White saw opportunity on the second-unit power play, where he scored three goals in the regular season. He also added a marker in the playoffs right as a man advantage expired. Prior to the season, White had zero power-play goals to his record. The 6-foot, 200-pounder said he learned from watching Wayne Simmonds and listening to assistant coach Joe Mullen.

"With Joey Mullen and just the way he runs things, he really gives you a chance to excel and helps you work on the little things," White said. "Maybe not the big picture all the time, but the little things are what kept me on the power play and kept us having a little success."

Which brings us back to being comfortable - White finally was and doesn't want to lose it.

"In my case, free agency isn't the best situation for every guy," he said. "They say it is. I have been through it a couple times. The first time there wasn't any offers. It's not that great, anyway. Obviously I had a better season, so maybe it will be a little bit better of a market. But I would like to be back and be a Flyer."

White finished his end-of-the-season press conference with a question.

Deep down, he had his answer.

"It's almost to the point where, what do you want to give up to give it away?" he said. "And I think that's kind of a line we have to toe. How much is money worth as compared to being a Flyer and having opportunity?"

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