It's every fan's worst nightmare.
There's a player on the ice for your team. He is highly regarded around the league, paid like a superstar and a total fan favorite. The only problem is, you cannot figure out why.
Every team has a player or two who is overrated by some or all of the fanbase and/or the hockey world in general.
Perhaps it's a player who puts up numbers but does so only because of the players around him. Maybe a player is overrated because he fails to contribute in all three zones of the ice.
Whatever it may be that causes a team's pricey skater to be overrated, there is rarely a consensus on the issue.
From my point of view, here is the most overrated player on each NHL team. Feel free to let me have it and get the discussion going. That's the best way to cope with these issues.
After four straight seasons of at least 50 points, Shawn Horcoff's production has fallen off a cliff in the past two seasons.
During the span of the last two years Horcoff has missed 40 games and amassed a measly 63 points total. To add to that, Horcoff was a combined minus-30.
Being injury prone is one thing. Not being able to produce when you're healthy is another thing entirely.
Horcoff is getting paid to lead this group of young talented players. Unfortunately, at 32 years old he may already be past his prime.
At the trading deadline the St. Louis Blues made a splash by acquiring productive power forward Chris Stewart for former No. 1 draft pick Erik Johnson.
The Avalanche made the deal hoping that Johnson could live up to the potential that made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2006. Unfortunately, he has not nearly lived up the hype thus far.
Johnson is constantly remembered as a No. 1 overall pick and a member of the 2010 United States Olympic team. However, few realize how incredibly average he has been throughout his tenure in the NHL.
He appeared to be turning a corner a season ago, when he racked up a career-high 39 points. This season, though, he fell back down to 29 points and didn't look all that great defensively in the process.
Johnson has a shot to develop into a solid blueliner, though his upside should now be considered a solid second-pairing defenseman.
It's tough to call any Florida Panther overrated given the complete lack of attention that is paid to hockey in the Sunshine State.
That being said, David Booth is the most overrated player on the team by default. While he is one of the team's stronger players, his impact tends to be magnified because he plays on a horrible team.
Booth likely would not crack the top line on most NHL teams and would be hard pressed to find the second line in some cases simply because he is such a liability in the defensive zone.
If a player plays for the New York Islanders, can he really be overrated?
Well, it's tough to say, but Trent Hunter certainly fits the bill as an overrated player in my book.
Hunter possesses some skill but fails to match that with production on the ice. Some will argue that his defensive game makes up for his lack of offense. However, Hunter is incredibly average in all aspects of the game. He struggles to stay healthy and has surpassed 50 points just once in his career.
Also, for a player considered so solid defensively, Hunter has had some pedestrian plus-minus ratings throughout his career.
The issue with offensive defensemen is that as they age, they tend to become quite useless.
That has been the case for Sergei Gonchar. Once a speedy, point-scoring defender, Gonchar has lost his offensive luster and become nothing more than an overpaid cone on Ottawa's blue line.
Not only is he getting paid $5.5 million, but Gonchar is also unable to complete an entire season these days.
Making the switch from forward to defenseman earned Dustin Byfuglien an All-Star appearance and plenty of praise league-wide.
Despite all of Byfuglien's success, he tends to get a bit overrated considering how raw he is in the defensive aspect of his game.
He's a very solid defenseman but still has plenty of room to grow into the position.
One of the most curious moves during the season was Columbus acquiring Craig Rivet.
Rivet has been one of the worst captains in the NHL over the past few seasons in addition to his pedestrian play on both ends of the ice.
Not sure what the Blue Jackets saw in this guy to warrant paying $1.75 million for his services.
Enough is enough.
The talk of Martin Brodeur being the best goaltender of all time needs to stop. He played behind stellar defensive players and a genius system for years, which drastically inflated his statistics. In addition, Brodeur has never carried the New Jersey Devils the way Patrick Roy carried the Avs or Dominik Hasek carried the Sabres.
Now that that's out of the way, Brodeur is still overrated in the league today. The idea that this guy can start in the NHL is a bit of a joke. He was awful in the Olympics, as well as the 2010 NHL playoffs, and has struggled to stay healthy.
Martin Brodeur is nothing more than a backup at this point in his career, but he gets treated like one of the best goalies in the league.
Relax, Leafs fans.
Luke Schenn is a promising young talent capable of developing into a top-pairing defenseman. However, everyone needs to slow down and let the kid develop.
Touting him as the savior of the franchise will do Schenn little good in terms of his development. The kid is talented, but given the media frenzy up in Toronto, he has actually been a bit overrated.
Give him time.
Similar to Schenn in Toronto, Cal Clutterbuck is treated as the next unstoppable two-way forward. Unfortunately, he is limited in his offensive abilities and not all that strong in the defensive zone.
Clutterbuck is still very young, and the energy he brings on the forecheck is tremendous, but people need to take him for what he is: a solid third-liner with 50-point upside.
Barret Jackman is often praised as a dependable veteran presence on the blue line.
That's cute and all, but Jackman simply is not all that talented. He brings very little to the table offensively and is a steady second-pairing type of talent on defense.
Jackman is tough and mildly reliable on the back end but certainly not a standout talent on the blue line by any means.
For some strange reason the Carolina Hurricanes felt as if Bryan Allen still possessed some value, dealing for him at the deadline.
Allen was a top-five draft pick back in 1998, and that is his most noteworthy accomplishment throughout his hockey career.
His services aren't cheap either.
Bryan McCabe was once a well-rounded defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He piled up points and was dependable in his own end.
In his later years McCabe has become a huge defensive liability, making him a curious acquisition by the New York Rangers at the trading deadline.
The Rangers could definitely stand to upgrade from McCabe this offseason.
Jay Bouwmeester is another former Panther defenseman that is too highly regarded in his new home.
Don't get me wrong—Bouwmeester is a tremendous skater and moves the puck with ease. However, his play in his own end is overrated by my estimation.
He does not have the top-end ability to handle opponents down low and clear bodies from the front of the net.
Bouwmeester is an above-average player—just not one of the best defensemen in the league.
Anyone without respect for the game of hockey will praise Mike Ribeiro for his offensive abilities and his impact on the game in all three zones.
The more intelligent hockey fans realize that Mike Ribeiro will always be a diving, gutless player incapable of forechecking or handling his responsibilities in the defensive zone.
The lack of respect Ribeiro has shown for the game of hockey over the years makes him deserving of less than half of the respect he receives across the league.
That's right—I said it. America's golden boy is overrated.
Now, Ryan Miller is still one of the five to 10 best goaltenders in the NHL. However, why does he always get a free pass when he plays poorly?
Game 7 of the opening round against the Flyers this season was a shaky game for Miller, but the announcers and fans alike are left making excuses for USA's netminder.
I'm not saying Miller isn't one of the best in the league; I'm simply saying he is capable of flaws and not without his imperfections.
Perhaps overpaid is the better word for Scott Gomez, but no matter what way you slice it, Gomez's $7.3 million salary is the most outrageous in the entire league.
Gomez was never a dominant player in the NHL and, like most American-born players, was overrated simply because he was born in the United States.
Gomez has scored 30 goals once in his career and reached 70 points just four times, yet he is paid like a perennial 80-point producer.
Marian Hossa has been overrated in recent years.
Since joining the Chicago Blackhawks, Hossa has failed to reach 60 points despite being paid over $5 million.
Hossa has also displayed some durability issues late in his career that have detracted from his impact.
Like Scott Gomez, Ryan Smyth may be a bit more overpaid than overrated. However, a guy like Smyth does not deserve to be paid over $6 million a year—that's for sure.
Smyth was once a gutsy competitor but has lost his edge in recent seasons. The production simply does not match the paycheck for this King.
Radim Vrbata is a guy who came into the league with a lot of hype and has managed to sustain that hype despite a lack of production.
Vrbata went through a rough patch in which he got let go from the Lightning. However, he still manages to rake in over $4 million a year.
He has some skill and a decent shot, but he is not nearly fast enough for his lack of size.
Being paid to carry the load offensively for the defensive-minded Nashville Predators, Martin Erat has failed to live up to the hype.
He has never surpassed 30 goals in a season and has consistently produced around 50 points for the Predators.
For years it seems people have been waiting for Erat to take that next step, but it just hasn't happened.
When is Jason Blake going to live up to his potential?
Blake is the prototypical waste of talent. The guy simply shows very little desire in the offensive and defensive zones and has never put up the kind of points someone with his salary should.
Steve Downie is a tough player to figure out.
Based on his size, it seems like he should be a skill player. However, he tends to try to play the role of the agitator. Unfortunately, Downie does not display nearly enough toughness to agitate anyone. He falls down at the slightest of contact and couldn't harm a fly.
The Bruins are a tough team to choose just one overrated player from. Tim Thomas, Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara could all be considered.
However, no player has failed to live up to his billing more than Tomas Kaberle.
The Boston Bruins gave up a king's ransom to acquire him at the deadline, and all he has done is show little interest in the offensive zone and turn the puck over carelessly.
What an expensive rental Kaberle has been.
Hockey is becoming a young man's game.
That trend has not had a positive impact on players like Kris Draper.
Draper is still a tremendous leader and a decent defensive zone presence. However, he does not impact the game in the same way he once did.
Another team with plenty of overrated players is the San Jose Sharks.
Sure, Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau dominate during the regular season, but what good is that if they don't follow it up with postseason success?
The Sharks have reached the Western Conference finals, so they are finally knocking on the door. However, I won't be convinced until Thornton and company hoist the Cup.
There are a few glaring issues with Brooks Orpik's game that tend to go unnoticed.
The American-born defenseman lays a ton of hits but also tends to take a lot of stupid penalties in doing so. Orpik needs to improve his discipline on the ice.
Also, Orpik turns the puck over a ton in his own zone, which is why he is a career minus. Considering the team he plays on, there is no excuse for Orpik having a minus-one for his career.
When one thinks of the Philadelphia Flyers, words that come to mind are tough, hard-nosed and physical.
Anyone who utters those same adjectives when describing Jeff Carter does not watch him play.
Carter is supposed to be the goal-scoring threat on Philly's roster, yet he tends to disappear in the playoffs. In addition, he does not have an aggressive or physical bone in his body. Carter constantly seems to be playing scared and is easily removed from the puck.
Talk about a guy who does not fit the mold of a Philadelphia Flyer.
Despite making strides in the defensive aspects of his game, Mike Green is still just a glorified left winger for the most part.
Green piles up points but fails to be the physical presence the Capitals desperately need on the back end.
Until he improves his play in front of his own net, Green can never be considered for the Norris Trophy despite his tremendous offensive talent.
Look at this guy's linemates. Now look at his numbers.
Something doesn't match up. Burrows should be piling up numbers playing alongside the Sedins, yet he has just one 60-point season in his career.
His numbers are inflated due to the Sedins, but they aren't even that impressive to begin with.