Colin White signed a six-year, $28.5 million contract with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. It has an average annual value of $4.75 million.
The 22-year-old forward, who was a restricted free agent, had 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 71 games as a rookie last season.
"This is something that both parties wanted all along," White said. "I think it was the right move for both myself and Ottawa. I couldn't be more proud to be a Senator for the next six years."
White said having the securtity of a long-term contract can only help his game.
"If anything, I think it's less pressure now because I can just play," he said. "Outplaying this contract is a goal of mine, so every year I just want to get better and continue to improve in any way that I can."
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said White's ability to play center and wing will help new coach D.J. Smith, who was hired May 23.
"We anticipate that Colin will be a center," Dorion told TSN 1200 radio in Ottawa, "but what we like about him is his versatility, and his speed sometimes shows more coming off the wing, when he can burst and explode, but at the same time, I know D.J. really likes the way [White] plays a 200-foot game and his commitment as a centerman down low, and within D.J.'s system, these centermen are really going to have to bear down in their own end, and Colin is very good at doing that."
Video: White inks six-year, $28.5 million contract with Sens
Selected by Ottawa in the first round (No. 21) of the 2015 NHL Draft, White has 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 94 regular-season games and no points in one Stanley Cup Playoff game.
"We feel that he's just scratching the surface," Dorion said. "We feel there's tremendous potential, and we saw that more as the season went on last year. We feel his skating ability is very underrated, he's a good talent. But more importantly, he plays the game the right way. He plays a 200-foot game, he's really responsible, he's got a good stick in his own end, he commits down low, he can transition as good as anyone because of his skating ability, he goes to the net."
Dorion said he was relieved White's contract situation is resolved heading into training camp, especially with so many NHL restricted free agents unsigned.
"I think you have to give some credit to Colin here. ... we talked about the fact, both Colin and us, we didn't want to have a training camp holdout," Dorion said. "We know what's going on around the League, and from our side of things, we were able to get it done."