White a shade underweight

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Ian White has plans to get bigger this summer but it may not be necessary for future success.

The Maple Leafs' rookie defenceman is rather generously listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, and said he would like to add 10 to 15 pounds, primarily in his legs and trunk, during the off-season.

But if the NHL progresses in its current non-clutching, freer-flowing state, smaller defencemen should be able to thrive.

"We all see the changes in the game," Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "There are not much confrontations around the nets anymore so a smaller guy who uses his head and positions well should be able to play well.

"I think Ian could become an effective player. The new game allows for smaller people (to compete)."

White has been good in his first two Leafs appearances, recording two assists and averaging 18 minutes, 41 seconds of ice time. Though he does not want to compare himself to anybody, he knows if all works out he could provide the kinds of things the offensively talented but small Brian Rafalski does for the New Jersey Devils.

"I've been told by a lot of coaches in the past to watch how he plays and see some of the things he does out there," White said. "We have some similarities and I try to pick up some parts of his game and try to incorporate them into mine."

White will stay with the Leafs for the time being but knows he could play an important role for the Toronto Marlies in the playoffs. Once that is done, he will head home to Steinbach, Man., with the intent of returning for training camp next fall better suited to possible full-time employment with the Leafs.

There will be plenty of competition, with fellow rookie defencemen Staffan Kronwall, Andy Wozniewski, Jay Harrison and Brendan Bell in the mix.

"I don't want to get sluggish or anything, but I am probably going to do a lot of lower body stuff," White said. "Hopefully it will make me quicker so I can earn a full-time spot."


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