Saturday, March 31, 2007

Worst NHL Regular This Season

I try to track the player in the NHL who regularly dresses who has been the worst player so far this season. There are two main trends that emerge in trying to track this player. At the beginning of the season, the player who has played the worst is usually a "name" player. Should a relative unknown play poorly enough to "win" this honor from the start of the season, he would be out of a job and out of the NHL. The first player I picked as the worst regular in the NHL this season was Petr Nedved and he was soon replaced by Derian Hatcher. Both are known players who have had long NHL careers. Both have been considered stars at one point in their careers.

As time goes on, the worst NHL regular shifts and becomes a more unknown depth player who usually has earned the coach's respect by hard work despite not being good enough to be much of an NHL player. In the NHL talent pool there are lots of players who potentially fall in this group. The one hundred worst NHL players are all of similar talent levels. Should one player seem to be establishing himself as the worst of the bunch, likely it won't be long until he shows he is no worse than the rest of the bunch and somebody new takes his spot as the worst so far. From this group, I picked Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers and then Jody Shelley of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both scored a couple points not long after I singled them out, which is more than enough to put them back into the group of one hundred or so borderline NHLers instead of sitting at its bottom.

My newest selection is Jean-Francois Jacques of the Edmonton Oilers. He is a 21 year old who has not scored in his 37 games played. He is a -11 +/- rating. This level of ineptitude of out of line with his CHL and AHL numbers. While Jacques does not project to be a star, it is reasonable to think he might be an NHL player. He has 24 points in 22 AHL games this year to go with his zero in 37 NHL games. Jacques is an energy guy. He is a hard working aggressive checker, who so far has not been able to have any success at the NHL game. He is a "typical" worst NHL regular. He is a hard working player that the coach likes who just isn't very good.

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