Gophers White traded to San Jose

The 2007 first round pick was traded after struggling his first two years at Minnesota.

by Max Sanders

After being named a finalist for the 2007 Minnesota Mr. Hockey award, the Vancouver Canucks drafted Patrick White in the first round of the NHL Draft after graduating high school. Translating that success to the collegiate level has proven difficult for White âÄî now a junior with the Gophers âÄî and the Canucks have parted ways with their 2007 first-round pick, sending him to the San Jose Sharks in a four-player trade. Many players drafted in the first round opt to go to the pros rather than finishing their collegiate career, but White has maintained his dedication to the Gophers program, and the move to San Jose does not change that. For the Sharks, the White trade is a chance to unload two veterans and save nearly $5 million in cap space while receiving White and another prospect in return. The move comes as a surprise because White said he had maintained communication with the Canucks via e-mail and had not heard any news of a possible trade. âÄúThey never talked to me about anything like that,âÄù White said. âÄúI wasnâÄôt worried about getting traded or anything like that; I didnâÄôt go to sleep at night thinking about it.âÄù While caught by surprise, the move provides White with a fresh start and a second chance at making a first impression. âÄúWhen I found out, I guess I felt like it was a good opportunity for me to make a new first impression on a new organization,âÄù White said. âÄúIâÄôm hoping that this is kind of like a fresh start for me, and IâÄôm looking forward to it.âÄù White has shown flashes of the play that warranted his selection as the 25th pick of the 2007 draft, but playing consistently at that high level has been a struggle. White started off last season scoring just eight points in the GophersâÄô first 27 games. However, he ended the season playing much better hockey, scoring eight points in MinnesotaâÄôs final nine contests. The hot finish provided White with the push he needed for off-season training in hopes of carrying over his late season success into the 2009 season. âÄúIâÄôm happy with the steps that IâÄôve made in the summer, IâÄôve skated a lot more,âÄù White said. âÄúI feel like IâÄôve made improvements, and IâÄôm hoping a lot of other guys have, and I believe they have.âÄù Despite the trade, White is still happy with his choice to finish college before going to the pros. âÄúIâÄôve definitely been one of those guys that wants to finish college, and I want to graduate with a degree,âÄù White said. âÄúIâÄôm sure everything will work out fine; hopefully I can have a good career here and then move on.âÄù White is not the only Gopher with connections to the Canucks. Sophomore Jordan Schroeder was selected by the Canucks in the first round of this yearâÄôs draft with the 22nd overall selection. White is currently at hockey camps and has not had a chance to speak with Schroeder about the trade. Even when White returns, discussing the trade is something Schroeder doesnâÄôt plan on getting involved in. âÄúHonestly, I have no idea about it, and itâÄôs really none of my business to know,âÄù Schroeder said. âÄúItâÄôs the NHL, itâÄôs a business, and they got to do what they have to do.âÄù Despite the trade of a teammate, Schroeder is not worried about his spot in the Canucks organization. âÄúIâÄôm just not going to worry about it,âÄù Schroeder said. âÄúI just got to keep doing what IâÄôm doing, and hopefully they like me and theyâÄôll keep me.âÄù The Sharks have yet to contact White, but San Jose Sharks scout Pat Funk did release a statement after the acquisition: âÄúHeâÄôs a former first-round pick and we feel he gives us more depth at the forward position. We will keep monitoring him during his junior season at Minnesota.âÄù WhatâÄôs next for WhiteâÄôs professional career remains to be seen. Per collective bargaining rules, if the Sharks opt to not sign White to a professional contract they will receive a compensatory second-round pick from the Canucks, leaving White two seasons with the Gophers to ensure his future on hockeyâÄôs biggest stage.