1 Player from Each NHL Team That Is Not Being Used to His Potential
Every team has one. One player that it is not playing like it should be. A player that could do so much more if given the chance.
Whether they are young players that haven't yet gotten their shot or veterans who have had a run of bad luck, all the players on this list share a common goal.
Some of these players will break through this season, and some will continue to stay where they are because of depth.
Who are these unlucky players?
Anaheim: Kyle Palmieri
The 21-year-old Kyle Palmieri has had several stints with the Ducks in the past two seasons.
In 18 games, the 2009-first-rounder has totaled four goals, three assists and seven points. In only 51 games in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch, however, he scored 33 goals and 58 points.
The Ducks clearly have plans for him in the future. With his skill, he should be at least a second-line player. However, with the Ducks roster already containing right-wingers Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne, Palmieri will have to bide his time on the third line.
Boston: Jordan Caron
Another 21-year-old who has been waiting for his shot, Jordan Caron will finally make the roster full-time this season. After spending half the 2011-12 season with the Bruins, Boston traded Benoit Pouliot to open up space on the roster for Caron.
Caron is a reliable, two-way player with top-six potential. Just as with the Ducks, the Bruins have two players that will keep Caron will keep Caron from that potential in Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand.
Buffalo: Luke Adam
Young players continue to dominate the list as Luke Adam, 22, represents the Sabres. Adam started the 2011-12 season skating on the first line alongside Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. He ended it by playing 27 games with the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
Adam is better than he played after his hot start last year and should be back on the Sabres roster for the beginning of the season. However, he won't be anywhere he should be. He'll be even farther off if Mikhail Grigorenko makes the team out of training camp.
Calgary: Mikael Backlund
The Calgary Flames have been waiting for Mikael Backlund to fulfill his potential ever since he was drafted 24th overall way back in 2007. Recently, the Flames haven't been doing much to help him reach his potential.
Backlund shouldn't be playing on the third line alongside Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak. He should be playing alongside Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla on the first line.
If he doesn't get the chance, the Flames won't be reaping the benefits.
Carolina: Jay Harrison
Jay Harrison's career will probably end without anyone outside of Toronto and Carolina knowing who he is. That is how quiet his career has been and probably will be in the future.
The 6'4" defenseman is usually found at home in his own end but can contribute offensively when needed. If he was given a spot on a higher defense pairing, he could do much more.
Chicago: Viktor Stalberg
Viktor Stalberg has received playing time next to Jonathan Toews. He's also dropped down into a bottom-six role at times.
In both Chicago and Toronto, Stalberg has shown the potential to be a first-line player and stay there. Unfortunately, Chicago has better players, resulting in his sporadic appearances on the top line.
Colorado: Tyson Barrie
Although Tyson Barrie is a bit on the small side, he could be Colorado's eventual power-play quarterback. For now though, he might languish in the minor leagues for another season.
With the Avalanche's defense being spotty last season, either Barrie or fellow youngster Stefan Elliott will be taking the seventh defenseman spot.
Either way, Barrie will be in a spot that he should not be in based on his talent.
Columbus: Ryan Johansen
OK, if Columbus wanted to bring Ryan Johansen along slowly last season, it might have been understandable. If they do it again this season, it will be downright idiotic.
With Rick Nash gone, Johansen is now Columbus' most offensively gifted forward. The Blue Jackets need him to be at his best this season.
Johansen will probably be game for the challenge. Whether Columbus gives him the challenge is up to them.
Dallas: Cody Eakin
Going completely on his time in Washington, Cody Eakin never broke through and spent most of his time on the fourth-line. If the same happens in Dallas, Eakin will face the same problem in a new city.
Unfortunately, with Jamie Benn, Derek Roy and Vernon Fiddler, the Stars have the centers that will force Cody Eakin to stay in that position.
Detroit: Darren Helm
At the sake of naming someone, Darren Helm gets the nod here. Detroit knows how to use everyone on their roster and knows their potential.
Helm is behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the depth chart, so he makes the most sense in this spot.
Edmonton: Magnus Paajarvi
Out of all of Edmonton's young guns, Magnus Paajarvi was the most disappointing last season. While he didn't exactly play to his potential himself, Paajarvi was going to do nothing for the Oilers while playing for the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL.
Hopefully, Paajarvi and the Oilers can get it together this season.
Florida: Jacob Markstrom
Jacob Markstrom has enough raw talent to be the opening night starter for the Florida Panthers.
The Panthers seem fit to let Markstrom sit in the AHL, while they have Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen between the pipes. It also is an insult to Markstom that the Panthers are one of the teams in on Roberto Luongo.
Markstrom needs to make the NHL full-time soon or he will be lost in the shuffle.
Los Angeles: Alec Martinez
This is another one where a player is pretty much named by default. The LA Kings were a well-oiled machine as the season and playoffs went on.
Alec Martinez is one of the only players that could move up the depth chart if given the chance, so that's why he is here.
Minnesota: Josh Harding
Josh Harding has been waiting patiently for a starting job, which is why it was so puzzling to see him re-sign in Minnesota.
As Niklas Backstrom is still the starting goalie for the time being, Harding is going to have to wait at least another season to get his starting job.
Montreal: Lars Eller
As of right now, the St. Louis Blues have won the trade that sent Jaroslav Halak to Missouri. Not only has Halak out-performed Carey Price, but the return hasn't exactly done well either.
Lars Eller, the primary part of the return, is languishing on the third line, which is probably not the type of player Montreal wanted for their 2010 playoff hero.
The Canadians need to put him in a place where he can succeed.
Nashville: Ryan Ellis
If this list were made after this season, Ryan Ellis would probably not be in this spot. With Ryan Suter now in Minnesota, Ellis could be in the position he was in with the Windsor Spitfires and Team Canada at the World Juniors: offensive leader.
While Shea Weber is still way above him, Ellis has the potential to be the No. 2 defenseman in Nashville. Whether Nashville makes him that remains to be seen.
New Jersey: Mattias Tedenby
Another player who was drafted at least four years ago who still hasn't broken through is Mattias Tedenby. He had a good rookie season in the 2010-11, but one season later, he struggled and was sent to the AHL after 43 games, registering only six points.
At least for this season, Tedenby will probably be held below where he should be, but for the 2013-14 season, he could break through with so many Devils being free agents on July 1, 2013.
New York Islanders: Josh Bailey
The New York Islanders did not draft Josh Bailey ninth overall in the 2008 NHL Draft to play him on the third line.
The Islanders must decide what to do with Bailey at the center position as they already have John Tavares and Frans Nielsen. Ryan Strome and Casey Cizikas are also coming down the pipeline sooner rather than later.
Bailey looks like a player that could use a change of scenery.
New York Rangers: Anton Stralman
Anton Stralman is one of the more underrated defenseman in the NHL. Already appearing for four teams and trying out for a fifth, Stralman has become quite the journeyman.
Playing on the Rangers third pairing, Stralman could be higher on the depth chart. However, on such a deep team like the Rangers, he is more likely to stay right where he is.
Ottawa: Mika Zibanejad
Mika Zibanejad should have been with the Ottawa Senators for the entire season. With the surprise that they made the playoffs last season and took the New York Rangers to a full seven games, a player like Zibanejad could have made the difference in that series.
Hopefully, Ottawa will see their mistake and play Zibanejad on at least the second line.
Philadelphia: Brayden Schenn
Brayden Schenn could be doing so much more if he were on a team other than the Philadelphia Flyers.
At first being kept out of the NHL opening night because of salary cap reasons, Schenn has the potential to be a top-line player.
With Philadelphia, he will usually play on the third line. Now that's unfortunate.
Phoenix: Kyle Chipchura
Like Ryan Ellis, Kyle Chipchura was once captain of Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. Also like Ellis, he has not been given the chance to play a bigger role on his team.
Bouncing from the Montreal Canadiens to the Anaheim Ducks to the Phoenix Coyotes, Chipchura could do more.
On a team like the Coyotes, Chipchura could definitely be higher than the fourth line.
Pittsburgh: Eric Tangradi
For years, Pittsburgh has been clamoring for wingers to play with their talented centers. Yet Eric Tangradi has been languishing in the AHL for years, only having several stints with the Penguins over the years.
Being 6'4", Tangradi could be a force beside Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins need to give him the shot that he has been waiting for.
St. Louis: Matt D'Agostini
Matt D'Agostini cannot catch a break.
After being great for the Blues in 2010-11 season, D'Agostini was troubled with a concussion that cost him 26 games. After coming back, he didn't get his old job back and will be once again fighting for a job this season.
He deserves more than that.
San Jose: Justin Braun
Let's put it this way: Justin Braun was good enough to be named to Team USA at the 2012 World Championships. Yet he is only on San Jose's third defense pairing.
Sadly for Braun, San Jose's defense is pretty good, and Braun will have to amaze a lot of people to move up the depth chart.
Tampa Bay: Brett Connolly
Brett Connolly is on Tampa Bay's second line. He should be on their first line playing alongside Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell. However, that will not happen until Martin St. Louis decides to call it a career.
Until he does, Connolly will have to wait patiently for time to shine.
Toronto: Nazem Kadri
This is for all those Toronto fans that think Nazem Kadri is better than he shown so far. If Kadri could put it all together, he definitely has the offensive talent to be the No. 1 center.
Whether Toronto ever gives him the chance again is another thing. They have given him shot after shot, and he has done nothing with them.
Vancouver: Zack Kassian
Vancouver needs more size when it comes to their top-six wingers. That is why they went out and acquired Zack Kassian from the Buffalo Sabres.
However, if you look at most Vancouver depth charts, Kassian is listed as the fourth-line right-winger.
Kassian is only 21, so he is young and will have growing pains, but he should be given the opportunity the Canucks acquired him to give.
Washington: Wojtek Wolski
Again, this is a player who hasn't lived up to the potential he has. Wojtek Wolski has the potential to be a top-six winger in the NHL, if he can put his obvious talent to good use.
The Washington Capitals need to do their part in seeing if Wolski can put it all together. They need to put him on a line where he can thrive, not where his weakness will be put under a microscope.
Winnipeg: Alex Burmistrov
Entering his third season, Alex Burmistrov needs to take the next step in his career. However, if most depth charts are to be believed, Burmistrov will play on the fourth line. He is not going to make that next step playing in that spot.
If they play him in the top six, he has the potential to be one of the Jets' best players in 2012-13.