Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Worst NHL Regular so Far This Season

So far this season I have made picks at the best player in the NHL and best position player in the NHL so far this season. Now I will turn my attention to another interesting question - one which is less of an honor for the chosen player. Which NHL regular has been the worst player in the league so far this year? I restrict the question to NHL regulars because the worst player in the NHL this year is likely one of many bit players who has hardly had any ice time. Its hard to figure out who get this dishonor unless we see the player in action for a regular shift for a few games.

In order to get enough playing time while playing poorly, a player must have some kind of expectations that he will produce. A marginal player who plays poorly soon finds himself a healthy scratch or in the minor leagues.

Since it has been 18 months since the last NHL games, the player who has been the worst NHL regular is likely somebody who has aged poorly during the lockout. He must be somebody with a bit of a track record as a decent NHL player.

My choice fror this dishonor is Shawn McEachern of the Boston Bruins. In seven games this year so far, McEachern has averaged a little over fifteen minutes of play per game. This is roughly equivalent to being rolled out regularly on one of four lines. In this playing time, McEachern has not produced offensively. He has no points whatsoever. He has also been a defensive liability for the Bruins. This lack of defence is partially shown by his NHL worst +/- rating. McEachern is an NHL worst -7. Boston has not been a poor enough team where its players should have that poor +/- ratings. The team has only three wins in seven games which is unspectacular, but nowhere near the league worst.

McEachern may get himself into better shape and start to play better. After the lockout, some older players are finding the NHL a bit too fast for them and even retiring.

I actually thought McEachern was one of Boston's best forwards in their Saturday night loss to the Sens.
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