Monday, January 08, 2007

Worst NHL Regular This Season

When trying to track the regular NHL player who is playing the worst throughout the season there is a predictable pattern. At the beginning of the year, the worst player is a "name" guy who is playing awful. This is because a "no-name" playing awful would be quickly sent to the minors. These "name" players sometimes play themselves out of jobs if they keep up their poor play, but they get a few extra chances because they have accomplished something in the NHL in the past. After a sufficient number of games, it usually becomes evident that the worst player getting dressed regularly is more of a "no-name" player who is thrown into a league above his talent level. He is usually a hard working "energy" guy who is kept in the lineup because of his effort, despite the fact that he isn't good enoughj to help his team. An example of such a player from last year is Steven Goertzen of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

This season, we started off with name players as the worst NHLer. First I picked Petr Nedved who has been repeatedly waived by Philadelphia before getting claimed by Edmonton. Edmonton could be Nedved's last stop in his career unless he is a success there. Then I picked Derian Hatcher also from the Flyers. While Hatcher has not been good this year, he has not played as poorly as hed did at the start of the year. I think he could still be a solid number 4 or 5 defenceman on most teams in the NHL, but Philadelphia lacks the depth to do so and must play him in a role he is no longer suitable to play.

We are far enough into the season that a lesser name player has had time to show himself as the worst player in the NHL this season, while managing to keep from getting sent to the minors. That player is Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers. He is a fourth line checking forward who works hard and plays an "energy" role. He tries very hard but usually looks like the talent he is playing against is too good for him. He has played in all 43 of the Rangers games so far this year scoring no points and putting up a -9 +/- rating. Hollweg is a second year NHLer. Last year he had a bit more offensive success. He netter 5 points in his 52 games (which are still lacklustre numbers). I think its time that the Rangers tried giving his 8 minutes a night to somebody else. Hollweg isn't helping them at all.

Add Garth Murray from Montreal to that list
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