30 Most Overrated Players in the NHL Today

Joseph Trenton@@TrentonNHLCFLAnalyst IIIMay 14, 2012

30 Most Overrated Players in the NHL Today

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    Certain NHL players take too much credit for their production on the ice for their hockey clubs. As every new season approaches, there are players that may receive more ice time than they deserve, while some players never deliver the results to grant those lofty salary, big minutes and key situations.

    Let's take a look at the 30 most overrated players currently playing in the NHL and look at some of the star treatment their teams have given them unfairly.

    Here it goes.

30. James Reimer: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    James Reimer is the 30th-most overrated player in the NHL. He has played only one full season, and the Leafs played him like a No. 1 goalie. The organization did not even prepare a proper back-up goalie to mentor Reimer or step in when the team struggles in front of him.

    The gamble may have worked for parts of the 2011-12 season, but consistent waves of bad goals allowed down the stretch eventually killed any momentum for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

29. Tomas Kaberle: Montreal Canadiens

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    Montreal Canadiens media were very critical of fired GM Pierre Gauthier for bringing Tomas Kaberle into the organization. Time and time again, Kaberle was forced by coaching staff to play as the fifth or sixth defenseman and play spot duty on the power play unit.

    The Czech player does not even shoot the puck, so he cannot be 100 percent effective on the man advantage anyway.

    Being paid $4.25 million a year, he really needs to be better defensively and shoot the puck more.

28. Ryan Kesler: Vancouver Canucks

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    It was surprising that Ryan Kesler won the Selke Trophy a year ago. He does not possess very good hands, and his shot is below average for NHL offensive forwards. The fact that he won the trophy was one thing, but being able to repeat that effort is another. This past season, Kesler really cost the Vancouver Canucks' playoff season due to his ineffectiveness in all areas of the ice.

    People may argue he suffered a long rehab from injuries, but he came back and never played the same. Canucks are paying him $5 million a year, so he must contribute.

27. Patrick Marleau: San Jose Sharks

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    Many people have been very tough on Patrick Marleau over the years. This year is no different. He did nothing in the San Jose Sharks playoffs series against the St.Louis Blues, and he once wore the captaincy for the team.

    It is clear why he was removed from the C.

    Now aging as a player and costing the team $6.9 million a year against the cap, there is a high possibility that Sharks GM Doug Wilson will show him the door and trade him to another organization desperate for a forward.

26. Linus Omark: Edmonton Oilers

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    Linus Omark may be an YouTube shootout sensation, but he is far from being an NHL player. The Edmonton Oilers gave him many opportunities on their top six and top nine to see what kind of offense he is able to bring on a last-place hockey club—the answer is nothing.

    This past season, Steve Tambellini finally made the right call sending Omark down to the AHL farm team for further development.

    There were rumours that the Omark camp feels unhappy and want to request a trade out of Edmonton. Simply put, he won't get an NHL job anywhere if he can't crack a last-place hockey team for the last two seasons.

25. Nathan Horton: Boston Bruins

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    Nathan Horton has been receiving a lot of credit for things he has never accomplished personally in his career. For example, Horton had no previous playoff experience before the Boston Bruins added him and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

    His offensive ability is over-hyped by a wide margin. Being paid as a top-six forward, he doesn't put up the numbers that he should. Not having scored more than 60 points for the last four seasons is a reason to doubt why he is so coveted by the hockey media.

24. Olli Jokinen: Calgary Flames

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    Olli Jokinen has not been popular in the dressing room for his team, and the Finnish forward seems to get first-line minutes in Calgary.

    It is very concerning for Flames fans because Jokinen is not a capable playmaking center. He also doesn't play the game the right way. All that went right for Jokinen is having coaches who placed him on a line with Jarome Iginla, partially due to the fact there is no other option in Calgary.

    He becomes a free agent this summer, and with the signing of KHL star Roman Cervenka, it is likely Jokinen will have to find a new team.

23. Ales Hemsky

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    Ales Hemsky's glory days are over. Once upon a time, when the Oilers had a team that could compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Ales Hemsky contributed as a good supporting cast for the team.

    Now, with the forward having a lot of young and inexperienced teenagers trying to find their way in the big league, Hemsky has faltered significantly.

    In 2011-12 season, he was paid $5 million salary, but only scored 10 goals and 36 games in 69 games.

    Somehow, Steve Tambellini re-signed him to a $10.0 million contract extension over two years.

22. Joe Pavelski

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    Big Joe, small Joe has been the talk in San Jose for the last two or three seasons. However, Small Joe is not young anymore. He is entering UFA age, and he is getting paid like a top guy in the NHL.

    Unfortunately, like his teammate, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski failed to deliver in the post-season this year. With five playoff games against the St.Louis Blues, Pavelski finished the series with 0-0-0 across the board and taking five minutes in penalties.

21. Tim Connolly: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Tim Connolly was signed by Brian Burke to come over from the Buffalo Sabres to the Leafs last offseason. Given the long history of injuries the forward has suffered throughout his professional career, Brian Burke insisted that the team should take a gamble on Connolly and pay him very handsomely.

    At a $4.75 million cap hit, Connolly is the second highest-paid forward on the team behind Phil Kessel.

    Last season, Connolly scored 36 points in 70 games. 0.50 points a game won't get it done.

20. Ilya Bryzgalov: Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Philadelphia Flyers tried to avoid a situation where they had to play three goalies again in the postseason. So in the 2011 offseason, Paul Holmgren, the general manager, went out to acquire Ilya Bryzgalov to be their new No.1 goalie.

    However, Bryzgalov did not deliver what the Flyers have asked of him. Being paid $10 million last season, Bryzgalov ended the playoffs with a sub-.900 save percentage and over 3.50 goals against average. That will not translate into a long playoff run.

19. Brent Seabrook: Chicago Blackhawks

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    Stan Bowman of the Chicago Blackhawks is paying Brent Seabrook All-Star money for his contributions on the ice.

    Yes, it may be clear that Seabrook can score around 30 points and be a plus player in plus/minus ratings. However, so can many defensemen in the NHL who earn much less than he does.

    With the early playoff exit for the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions this year, it is clearer today that they may have overpaid some players from their Cup run.

18. Drew Doughty: Los Angeles Kings

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    Withdrawing services from the team as an RFA is not a very pretty sight. It is even more absurd when the 22-year-old defenseman does not play up to the money he is getting paid after sitting out of the training camp and preseason to get his money.

    It may be easy to say that  his team is now cruising in the playoffs, but the Kings are almost doing it despite of his bad contract. Doughty is not deserving of the $7.0 million annual salary he receives from Dean Lombardi.

    With just 36 points in 77 regular season games and finishing the year with a minus-two rating, Doughty seems too greedy.

17. Mason Raymond: Vancouver Canucks

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    Mason Raymond is a peripheral speedy player that has no confidence with the puck whatsoever.

    The Canucks unconditionally granted him top-six minutes and power-play minutes to see if he can somehow find his game. However, the Alberta forward has disappointed everybody.

    Ten goals, 10 assists a year is not the kind of season the Canucks coaching staff is looking for from Raymond. He has done less than third-line players such as Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins.

    It is almost a given Raymond will have to take a significant pay cut on his next contract or see himself dealt somewhere else who will take his lofty demands.

16. Jeff Carter: Los Angeles Kings

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    The teams that acquired Jeff Carter this season maybe expected much more out of the Canadian forward. He was traded like a top-flight hockey player to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he did not do nearly enough to lead the team.

    Near the trade deadline, Dean Lombardi took a chance with Carter by sending Jack Johnson to the Blue Jackets. This time, Lombardi sees why Carter may not be what he has hoped.

    It is true that the Kings are doing well so far in the playoffs, but Jeff Carter hasn't been the reason they are in this position. After Game 1 against the Canucks, Carter has gone the next nine games with just two points. That is not very good numbers for a $5.2-plus million player.

15. Paul Stastny: Colorado Avalanche

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    Paul Stastny is a smallish center-ice man that does not skate very swiftly. Colorado struggled to make the postseason, and Stastny had a lot to do what that.

    While the Avalanche relied on Stastny to be their No. 1 center, he failed to perform, and he saw he job stolen away by Matt Duchene in 2010-11. In 2011-12, both Duchene and Stastny failed to show up, and Ryan O'Reilly took his game to another level, showing great determination and drive to succeed.

    Stastny is in the middle of numerous trade speculation, and that is warranted by his poor play.

14. Sergei Gonchar: Ottawa Senators

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    Sergei Gonchar may be close to the end of his career. Having seen the major uprising of Erik Karlsson in Ottawa, the veteran defenseman Gonchar is seeing the sunset of his career.

    After his final year of the contract at $5.5 million a year with the Senators, Gonchar may choose to return to Russia to finish his professional career.

    With seven playoff games, Gonchar contributed one goal and four points. The Senators needed more from him, but he probably doesn't have much left in the tank.

13. Antti Niemi: San Jose Sharks

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    Antti Niemi might have had a good run in the playoffs with the San Jose Sharks, but he certainly hasn't been able to play the same way as his rookie season.

    Doug Wilson spent a lot of effort to bring Niemi over from Chicago, but Niemi may not be the top-flight goalie that the Sharks have hoped for.

    Finishing the regular season with a .910 save percentage, the Sharks required more than that from him. With that performance, the team nearly missed the playoffs until the final moments of the regular season.

12. Cristobal Huet: Chicago Blackhawks

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    The forgotten man in the NHL is Cristobal Huet of the Chicago Blackhawks. There is an internal agreement between the Blackhawks and Huet about lending him to the Swiss league to play hockey. However, the French goalie was grossly overpaid by former-Hawks GM Dale Tallon in the free agent frenzy.

    Although Huet now plays in Europe, the Blackhawks owners continue to pay him more than $5.5 million a year for that mistake. It is easy to see why Dale Tallon is no longer the GM in Chicago.

11. Shawn Horcoff: Edmonton Oilers

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    The Edmonton Oilers probably regret paying forward Shawn Horcoff to a long and expensive contract. Horcoff is the third option behind younger offensive centers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner for the Oilers. With a $5.5 million contract on the books, Horcoff is strictly used in defensive situations, and he isn't the best guy at that anyway.

    Steve Tambellini is likely stuck with Horcoff's contract until 2015, and Oilers owner Sam Katz won't be very pleased.

10. Paul Martin: Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Paul Martin may not be the answer for Ray Shero and the Pittsburgh Penguins after they allowed Hal Gill, Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney go to other organizations.

    The former New Jersey Devil is more of a solid top-four defenseman rather than a guy that can rely on regularly to play as a rock defensively or offensively.

    Having played two full seasons in a Penguins uniform, Martin has scored a total of five regular season goals and one playoff goal for the team. It is difficult to justify for his $5 million salary cap hit with that kind of production.

9. Martin Havlat: San Jose Sharks

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    It is not a good sign when your general manager openly admits that he doesn't know what he has in you near the end of the season, when you are paid so much to play a regular offensive role for the San Jose Sharks.

    Martin Havlat simply cannot shake off the injury bug that has destroyed his NHL career. Seven regular season goals and two playoff goals is not nearly enough for a forward paid $5 million a year.

8. Vincent Lecavalier: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    It may be a surprise to some people that Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning made this list, but he really has not been the same player that he was back in 2008.

    Lecavalier may be highly coveted in Tampa Bay and Montreal, but he is no longer a top-line player in the NHL—at least not now.

    His salary cap hit is $7.727 million a season, and that ranks him sixth-highest paid player in the NHL behind Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal and Rick Nash.

7. Nikolai Khabibulin: Edmonton Oilers

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    Nikolai Khabibulin isn't the Bulin Wall he once was for the Tampa Bay Lightning when he won the Stanley Cup.

    In Edmonton, Khabibulin is enjoying a closing to his long NHL career, and he now serves as an insurance policy to upcoming Devan Dubnyk.

    Being paid at $3.75 million a year to serve as backup, Khabibulin is one of the most expensive backups active in the NHL. He also needs to stay away from DUI charges and jail time for off-ice mischief.

6. Phil Kessel: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Phil Kessel is put in this bad position by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not really his own fault. The Boston Bruins refused to sign Kessel to very high salary for long-term, and Kessel decided to hold out. Brian Burke came out and decided to trade two first-rounders and a second-rounder from his non-playoff team to Boston for the RFA status of Phil Kessel.

    The danger in the transaction wasn't so much about what Kessel could do because Kessel is an impressive young player with very good scoring touch. However, he is up against a Mount Everest he will never be able to climb.

    Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight will easily out-perform Phil Kessel now and into the future. Seguin has already proven his worth by winning a Stanley Cup and following up with a 67-point season.

5. Jay Bouwmeester: Calgary Flames

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    Calgary Flames fans might have been happy at the time, but Jay Bouwmeester has not been as advertised as a Flame playing defense.

    Bouwmeester is very soft for a player of his size, and he hasn't produced the numbers offensively that the team would have liked from him.

    Bouwmeester is getting paid $6.68 million annually by the Flames, and he has only put up 12 goals over three regular seasons for his team.

    Not only that, his team has failed to play a game in the playoffs while he played in Calgary. His streak of non-playoff experience continues.

4. Wade Redden: New York Rangers

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    It is shocking to see the former 50-point defenseman become a player that is stuck in the AHL for the rest of his long contract. Wade Redden has been serving his sentence in Connecticut for the last couple of seasons, and the Rangers do not intend on bring him over to the big league anytime soon.

    Having a $6.5 million salary cap hit on his books, Glen Sathers really made a mistake when he signed Redden to the lucrative contract.

3. Erik Johnson: Colorado Avalanche

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    Erik Johnson, the first-overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft, cannot be forgiven for his lack of production in the NHL to date.

    The St.Louis Blues gave up on Johnson after his entry-level contract expired, and they traded him to Colorado for Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and minor pieces.

    Johnson should be a very strong two-way defenseman that can log 30 minutes a night and put up impressive offensive numbers for his team. However, he has not done any of that very well so far.

2. Ville Leino: Buffalo Sabres

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    New Sabres owner Terry Pegula made his rookie owner mistake by insisting the free-agent signing of unproven winger Ville Leino to the Sabres.

    Not having any past history of scoring more than 19 goals, Leino suddenly became a prized forward in free agency due to a shortage in quality forwards available.

    The Buffalo Sabres ended up overpaying Leino at $4.451 million a year, and he will likely play more minutes in the bottom six of the Sabres rather than a top six scoring role, where he has not done anything. Eight goals and 25 points is not acceptable.

1. Scott Gomez: Montreal Canadiens

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    Much like former teammate Wade Redden, Scott Gomez is being a target of overpaid salary and negligible production for a player in their respective positions.

    Gomez will be a big problem for Marc Bergevin, the new GM for the Montreal Canadiens. He must decide whether he needs to buyout Gomez's contract, send him to the AHL for good or if there is another team willing to take on his big contract.

    The worst thing Gomez has done for the Canadiens? Having a goal-less drought that lasted from February 5, 2011 to February 9, 2012.

    The Canadiens are charged $7.357 million a year against the salary cap for Scott Gomez.