NHL Power Rankings: 25 Most Overrated Players in the NHL
Oh, you gotta love controversy.
When the term "overrated" is thrown around, fans tend to mention it in describing a player they hate: Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, etc. Of course, all of those players are bona fide superstars who have the ability to take over games at a moment's notice.
But what about those players who are truly overrated? I'm talking about those players who get lots of hype or lots of money and consistently underachieve or blow big games.
I have a feeling this one might set off a firestorm so, if you have any complaints, feel free to spout off in the comments section.
25. Vincent Lecavalier
Might as well start with a big name, right?
Look, I'm a huge Vinnie Lecavalier fan but he's just not producing up to his contract anymore. Lecavalier signed an 11-year, $85 million contract in 2008 and has only 49 goals since that contract took effect. To put that in perspective, Lecavalier scored 52 goals in 2006-07 alone.
With lingering questions about his wrist since a surgery in 2009, many are wondering whether Lecavalier can return to the form that made him one of the most valuable players on the ice.
24. RJ Umberger
It's hard for me to rip on the hometown boy but someone has to say it: I just don't think RJ Umberger is that great.
Now granted, he was buried on the depth chart in Philadelphia and isn't exactly surrounded by superstars in Columbus but Umberger is supposed to be that superstar.
Commanding almost $4 million a year from the Blue Jackets, Umberger has been a consistent 20-goal scorer the past three years but the only thing that's garnered Columbus is a quick exit from the playoffs via Detroit in 2009.
23. Sergei Gonchar
The minute I watched Sergei Gonchar get turned into a human turnstile by the Montreal Canadiens two seasons ago, I knew he had played his last game as a Penguin.
That, of course, did not stop the Ottawa Senators from giving him a 3-year, $16 million deal complete with a no-trade clause.
Gonchar was a great defenseman, one of the greatest offensive threats on the blue line in history but that is all in the past.
He hasn't played a full season since 2006-07 and has lost the speed that once made him great.
22. Wade Redden
Hey, technically he's still in the New York system, so he's allowed to be included on this list.
The poster boy for free agent overspending, Wade Redden became the highest paid player in American Hockey League history after signing a six-year, $39 million contract and scoring a grand total of five goals after that (he scored 17 for the Senators at one point).
New York Post writer Larry Brooks called the Redden deal "the worst in the history of the NHL, if not in the history of hard-cap pro sports." There's not really much else I can add to that.
21. Sean Horcoff
The captain of the Edmonton Oilers might lead in the locker room but on the ice is a completely different story.
The recipient of a six-year, $33-million contract in 2008, Horcoff has not topped 20 goals in four years and has only led the Oilers to three playoff appearances in ten seasons.
Certainly, his situation in western Canada isn't exactly ideal but you would expect your team captain to step up and deliver some goals, not shrink back and underachieve like his team.
Coincidentally, he's also best friends with an overrated player in another sport: New York Mets outfielder Jason Bay.
20. Olli Jokinen
Unfortunately for Olli Jokinen, injuries have seemed to rob him of the prime of his career. In the past four seasons, Jokinen has missed 91 games due to injury and is a -45 during that time.
While still able to flash his scoring touch at times (17 goals last year for Calgary), the 30-goal scorer we knew in Florida seems to be a thing of the past.
19. Scottie Upshall
Yet another player brought in to strengthen the weak Columbus offense, Scottie Upshall hasn't exactly been an offensive juggernaut during his career.
With a career high of 32 points, Upshall hasn't burned out any goal lights with his shooting and his defensive game leaves a bit to be desired: He was a -12 in only 21 games with Columbus last year.
While he's still a young player, Upshall needs to show a little more and grow into his role as a top player in the Blue Jacket lineup.
18. Dany Heatley
Don't get me wrong, Dany Heatley was once one of the most feared scorers in the NHL and absolutely dominated as a member of the Senators.
However, Heatley's regular season numbers have slid downwards in the past few seasons and he has a large glaring hole in his resume: His playoff performance.
In 66 career playoff games, Heatley only has 15 goals and only five in the past four seasons. To put that in perspective, Sidney Crosby has 30 goals in 62 games and Alex Ovechkin has 25 in 37 games.
If Heatley wants to be considered with elite company, he has to step up his game in the postseason.
17. Joel Ward
Sorry, I just don't see it.
Ward had a really good playoff series last year, leading his team in scoring with 13 points in 12 games. The Washington Capitals jumped at the chance to increase their offensive production, especially in the postseason where they have struggled in recent years.
However, Ward has only 40 goals in three NHL seasons (that's an average of 13 goals per year for all you math majors out there) and was a career minor leaguer before that.
The Caps threw $3 million per year at the guy, so I don't blame him for taking it but don't expect a sudden offensive outburst.
16. Maxime Talbot
Max Talbot is just an example how a great performance on a big stage can increase your value whether it's deserved or not.
Talbot was a great worker bee for the Penguins, helping them win a Stanley Cup in 2009 with two goals in Game 7 against the Red Wings.
However, since then, Talbot logged a grand total of 28 points and seemingly disappeared for weeks on end when the Penguins needed him the most.
His pain in the ass attitude will endear him to the Philadelphia crowd but, unless he plays every game like it's Game 7, the Flyer faithful are going to be disappointed.
15. Ed Jovanovski
Jovanovski was quite the defenseman back in the day, a minutes workhorse who matched up against all the top fowards, Ed was a stalwart on the Vancouver blueline for years.
However, everyone gets old and no one, not even Ed Jovanovski, can avoid that.
Jovanovski is a -40 in the past three years, mostly due to the fact the he simply doesn't have the speed to make up for his risk-taking any longer.
While he does put the puck in the net on occasion still, his inconsistent defensive play might spell the end for one of the most solid D-guys in recent memory.
14. Tim Connolly
Drafted fourth overall in 1999, Connolly was always expected to fulfill his expected potential and become an offensive force in the NHL.
It simply never happened.
Connolly has never topped 20 goals in his entire career but that didn't stop the Maple Leafs from signing him to a 2-year, $9.5 million contract.
Maybe he's going to help carry bags or something.
13. Jay Bouwmeester
No one is arguing with Jay Bouwmeester's ability to put pucks on net (even if only five went in during the past two seasons) but his lack of physicality is downright frustrating.
Put it this way, if Bouwmeester carried a purse on the ice, he would probably hit you with it if you went in front of the net.
A five-year, $33 million contract hasn't lit a fire under his butt either and Calgary seems to have gotten the raw end of that deal.
I'd list his playoff stats as well but there's only one problem: He's never been there.
12. Sean Avery
This was the easiest entry on this list.
Sean Avery makes a mockery of hockey and I can't imagine why any self-respecting franchise would allow itself to employ such a man.
His career high in goals is 15 and he managed to alienate himself from his teammates in Dallas so quickly that he didn't have time to get suspended for anything serious.
His latest arrest for allegedly battering an LAPD police officer is just another example as to why this clown needs to go back to the bush leagues where he belongs.
11. Trent Hunter
Picking on a member of the New York Islanders is like bragging that you could beat a guy with a broken leg in a race, it's just not fair.
Hunter finished third in the Calder voting his rookie year and it's been all downhill since then. He's only played one full season since 2006 and has a grand total of 99 goals in 459 games.
While he is a respected penalty killer, Hunter is a career minus player and has never helped the Isles reach any level of respectability.
10. Marian Hossa
Marian Hossa signed one of the biggest contracts in NHL history with the Chicago Blackhawks, earning $62.8 million over 12 years and causing an NHL investigation into the deal.
Hossa responded to that contract by scoring 51 and 57 points in the past two seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in the process but not exactly lighting the world on fire in the scoring category.
Hossa might be a dynamic power play contributor but he needs to start putting more pucks on net and start justifying that contract.
9. Brian Campbell
Yet another infamous contract, Brian Campbell has a cap hit of $7.1 million to go along with his perennial underachievement.
Campbell was a consistent 40 point defenseman until going to the Blackhawks for huge money and watching his point total plummet each year.
While I'm certainly not saying that Campbell is a terrible player, it's just that $7 million is a little much to be paying a guy who only plays 60-some games and scores five goals.
8. Ville Leino
This offseason definitely had a shortage of quality scoring wingers and, as a result, players like Leino got severely overpaid.
Leino has played three seasons in the NHL and has scored 9, 6, and 19 goals respectively. Those aren't exactly numbers that make you stand up and cheer but apparently Buffalo thought they were worth $27 million over six years.
7. Mike Richards
Mike Richards was once anointed by Pierre McGuire as the best captain in the league.
After the 2007-2008 season, the Flyers signed Richards to a huge 12-year contract extension worth $69 million and seemed to immediately regret it.
A very good two-way player, Richards would be a great compliment to a team but, being paid like a superstar makes him overrated.
6. Scott Gomez
$8 million for Scott Gomez? These general managers are aware there is a salary cap, correct?
The kings of giving out ridiculous contracts, the New York Rangers, handed Gomez an insane $51.5 million, seven-year contract and Gomez responded by, well, being himself.
The problem was that Scott Gomez being himself translated to 32 goals over three seasons and a severe cap problem for the Rangers.
More recently, Gomez scored seven goals last year with the Canadiens and was a minus 15. Needless to say, the Rangers pretty much set the bar for terrible contracts in the last decade.
5. Zach Bogosian
This is another case where I just don't see where all the hype is coming from.
Zach Bogosian is a young player but he's been touted as the next coming of Nick Lidstrom and I don't understand why. He's a -45 in the past two seasons and had 17 points in 71 games last year. Those aren't exactly numbers that cause you to reserve a spot in the All-Star game for him.
Bogosian might grow into himself or, better, get traded to a team with some talent on it and prove me wrong but for now, he' just another overrated player.
4. Roberto Luongo
Here comes the hate mail.
Roberto Luongo is a great regular season goaltender, there is not a question about that but it's no secret that he comes apart when all the chips are on the table in the playoffs.
Some people like to point to his Olympic gold medal as proof of his greatness but there are two problems with that:
1. He allowed Zach Parise to score with 25 seconds left in the game to tie it and send it to overtime.
2. Sidney Crosby bailed him out.
Add to that his implosions during last year's playoffs and we have ourselves and overrated player. If Roberto wants to be considered an elite goaltender, he has to keep it together when the weather starts to get warm.
3. Chris Drury
Yes, he just recently got bought out but that doesn't change the fact that, until two weeks ago, he was making $8 million per year.
Did I mention he scored one goal last year?
Yep, and 14 the year before in case that changes your mind a little bit. I'll give you one guess who gave him that ridiculous contract,
Drury made about $32 million in the past four years and he responded with 52 goals. He scored 37 the year before the Rangers signed him so, needless to say, his career is on the downswing.
2. Dion Phaneuf
Dion Phaneuf won an award in 2010. No, it wasn't the Norris and it certainly wasn't the Hart. He was voted the Most Overrated Player in the NHL by his fellow players.
Once seen as one of the most promising young defensemen in the league, Phaneuf's point production plummeted once he left Calgary and only scored 30 points last year (he had 60 in 2007).
The worst part of the this whole thing might be the fact that he's the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Remember when that used to mean something?
Yeah, me neither.
1. Rick DiPietro
Yeah, keep smiling and collecting that paycheck, Rick.
In 2006, escaped mental patient and acting Islanders GM Garth Snow signed DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract and he rewarded them by becoming the most injury prone person on the face of the planet.
From 2008-2010, DiPietro played in only 13 games until attempting to make a full, "healthy" comeback this past season. Playing in 28 games, DiPietro didn't exactly light the world on fire and surrendered the starting job to senior citizen Dwayne Roloson.
DiPietro got the starting job back when Roloson was traded to the Lightning later that year and promptly got punched in the face by Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson.
Big surprise here: He was injured.
Ricky returned in March and won one more game, increasing his total on the year to 8.
How many more years left?
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