Ed Jovanovski and 4 Other NHL Veterans Facing a Downgrade
Part topically humorous and part serious, this list breaks down five potential candidates for a veteran blowout this season. These players, All-Stars and future hall of famers were once considered among the best in their respective positions.
With the natural progression of age however, they have lost a step in the past couple of seasons. Some players, such as Mark Recchi of the Bruins, hang up their skates before posting a lackluster veteran season. Others, such as the five on this list, press their luck for one more season and another shot at Lord Stanley's Cup.
Keep in mind that I have no disrespect towards any of these players. I am merely suggesting that some of them have their best days behind them.
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The greatest Ottawa Senator to ever take the ice, Daniel Alfredsson has amassed 1,023 points over 1,056 games. Arguably Hall of Fame numbers, Alfredsson however may be left off that list because he has never won a Stanley Cup, coming closest in 2006-2007 when he lead his team to the final only to lose to Anaheim.
The biggest concern for the 11-time captain of the Senators may be his health.
Alfie missed the last 28 games of the regular season with a back injury and only put up a career-low 31 points this season. Alfredsson has missed significant time before but it is hard to imagine a 39-year-old to recover fully from back surgery at this stage in his career.
Once regarded as having the greatest hockey sense out of any NHL player, hopefully Alfredsson's illustrious career can regain some steam this season. If not, the sun may be setting for Ottawa.
Ed "JovoCop" Jovanovski
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You know you're aging when your moniker comes from a 1987 action movie. Jovocop has played with the Panthers, Canucks and Coyotes over his 15-year career.
Another veteran plagued by injury, Jovanovski's point totals have been steadily declining since he posted 51 in 2008. This year he managed a measly 14 points in 50 games and sustained a head injury in February.
This did not stop the spend-a-holic Panthers from throwing $16 million at the former Panther for the next four seasons. With his recent injuries, expect Jovanovski to have his credit downgraded this season and for the Panthers to have severely misstepped with this signing.
Whether it is next season or the season after, this end is nearer than the beginning for this policeman of the blue line.
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Over his career Roloson has put up some impressive numbers but has never found a way to be a winning goaltender in the NHL. Fresh off a deep run with the Lightning that saw him lose out for the second time on seriously winning the Stanley Cup, Roloson is only getting older.
By the start of the 2011-2012 season Roloson will be turning 42, an extremely volatile age for goaltenders.
The most acrobatic position in hockey requires strong knees, groins and legs to play effectively. When you get older, these are some of the first muscle groups to deteriorate.
Although Roloson was spectacular in battling the Penguins, Capitals and Bruins last postseason, look for his time on the ice to be reduced next season. Hopefully GM Steve Yzerman has a long-term backup plan after Roloson is no longer effective.
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Yes Lidstrom just won his seventh Norris Trophy by putting up 62 points at the age of 40, becoming the oldest defenseman to do so.
However, Lidstrom is definitely on the downswing of his career. By agreeing to another one-year contract, Lidstrom is feeling out his effectiveness on a yearly basis. Will this finally be the year that the seemingly timeless Lidstrom finally starts to become less effective?
Before answering that question, keep in mind this statistic. Lidstrom has one of the highest career plus-minus ratings in the history of the NHL at plus-429.
That being said, Lidstrom posted his first and only negative season in 2010-2011 with a minus-2. Even though many say that the plus-minus statistic is hogwash, it could still be telling of Lidstrom's age and overall decline defensively. Personally, I can't imagine Detroit without his presence.
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Just like Lidstrom, Brodeur may be considered the best player ever to play his position. The sheer amount of accolades he possesses would take up this entire slide. Brodeur however may be entering into what appears to be his last season in the NHL with more of a sizzle than a bang.
Although all of the Devils team took about a four-month nap last season, Brodeur may have been affected the most. There are two telling statistics that show why this season may be less than stellar for this future Hall of Fame netminder.
Lidstrom has one the highest plus-minus ratings ever and Marty holds the record for most wins by a goaltender in his career. This past season however saw Brodeur post a losing record (23-26-3) for the first and only time in his entire 20-year career. He also only managed a .903 save percentage, his lowest since 1994.
For the Devils' sake, Brodeur's final year on his contract better be much improved than his lackluster 2010-2011 campaign.
Age's natural progression has other ideas for Marty.