The Most Frustrating Player to Watch on Every NHL Team in 2014-15

Steve Macfarlane@@MacfarlaneHKYFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2014

The Most Frustrating Player to Watch on Every NHL Team in 2014-15

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    Admit it—every team has a player you find frustrating to watch for some reason or another. Even if it so happens to be the NHL team you cheer for.

    There's the guy who takes too many penalties, the guy who constantly turns the puck over, the guy who goes overboard with the moves and never seems to want to shoot.

    Whatever it is that sets you off, try to keep your cool while watching on TV.

    In the meantime, click ahead to see which player on every NHL team we find most tough to tolerate at the moment. Feel free to leave your comments below as well. 

Anaheim Ducks: Dany Heatley

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    By the numbers: Four games, no goals, no assists, six shots, minus-two rating, 11:50 average ice time

    Why he's frustrating: The cap-friendly one-year deal Heatley signed ($1 million) to join the Ducks in the offseason has made the experiment easier to swallow for those who have not been fans of Heatley's work in the past couple of campaigns, but it's still difficult to see a guy who has twice scored 50 goals in a season and netted 40 on a couple of other occasions struggle so badly at the age of 33.

    Can things change: The decline has been so steep, it's tough to imagine Heatley turning things around now. Considering the Ducks were missing Corey Perry with the mumps on Wednesday night, according to the OC Register's Eric Stephens, the veteran's future seems pretty clear. 

Arizona Coyotes: Mike Smith

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    By the numbers: 4-8-0 record, .895 save percentage, 3.29 goals-against average

    Why he's frustrating: Smith has had a save percentage below .900 just once in his previous eight seasons and a goals-against average over 3.00 just once as well. His individual numbers this year have been bad, which makes you wonder whether the Coyotes are performing so terribly in the Western Conference because of Smith's average goaltending, as opposed to the team's woes leading to Smith's disappointing start. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

    Can things change: It doesn't look good for the 32-year-old netminder. His start to the season was beyond awful, as he allowed six goals in a single game three times in his first six games. A more solid stretch followed, including a pair of wins while allowing two goals against in consecutive contests, but he regressed again this week with a four-goal loss on Tuesday.

Boston Bruins: Dennis Seidenberg

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    By the numbers: 17 games, two goals, three assists, five points, plus-six rating, 29 shots

    Why he's frustrating: From no points in his first nine games of the season to five in his last eight, Seidenberg has been hot and cold for the Bruins in a season they need to find some consistency from their veterans in order to stand out in an Eastern Conference. He talked about his own frustrations earlier in the season with MetroWest Daily News blogger Dan Cagen.

    Can things change: Seidenberg is 33 and still working his way back from a knee injury that he suffered last season, but he's capable of more than he's given the Bruins so far this season. The trend upward is a good sign over the last month.

Buffalo Sabres: Chris Stewart

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    By the numbers: 17 games, one goal, one assist, two points, minus-11 rating, 40 shots, 2.5 shooting percentage

    Why he's frustrating: On a team with very little talent and plenty of opportunity for players to step up and showcase their skills for potential trades out of town, Stewart continues to play as if he lacks motivation. Occasionally, he'll drop the gloves or flash a glimpse of the powerful shot that got him to the NHL, but that only adds to the frustration that has had him the subject of trade rumors again recently, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.

    Can things change: Probably, but who knows how long it might last? Stewart does have 40 shots to his credit—more than two per game on average—but an insanely low shot percentage. That bodes well for at least a mild increase in goals if he keeps up the shots. A trade out of town could spark him slightly as well.

Calgary Flames: Devin Setoguchi

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    By the numbers: 10 games, no goals, no assists, 12 shots, minus-seven rating

    Why he's frustrating: Setoguchi has two 20-goal seasons and a 30-goal campaign on his NHL resume but continually disappoints fans who expect to see speed and skill on display when he gets into the Flames lineup. I say "when he gets in," because he has been a healthy scratch more often than not for the team this season despite a rebuild that has meant plenty of opportunity for players in Calgary to show they belong. There seems to be a disconnect though between Setoguchi's talent and his effort.

    Can things change: The 27-year-old had no takers before the Flames brought him to training camp on a tryout basis and then signed him to a one-year deal worth $750,000. This could be his last NHL stop.

Carolina Hurricanes: Alexander Semin

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    By the numbers: 12 games, no goals, five assists, five points, minus-five rating, 16 shots

    Why he's frustrating: When the Carolina Hurricanes signed Alexander Semin in 2012, it was because of his incredible ability to score goals. He has done none of that this season, and head coach Bill Peters hasn't tried to hide his unhappiness over that fact—even sitting the talented and highly paid winger while lambasting his effort and decision-making in the process.

    Can things change: Semin is too talented to be kept off the scoresheet for much longer, but his days of scoring in the 30s and 40s seem to be behind him.

Chicago Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw

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    By the numbers: 16 games, three goals, three assists, six points, 29 shots, minus-two rating

    Why he's frustrating: The presence of Brad Richards as competition for the second-line center spot should be pushing Shaw to be better. His numbers aren't awful, but it's fair to expect more after his chemistry was on display with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad in last year's playoffs.

    Can things change: Shaw does play a more aggressive game than Richards and should be able to fend off the veteran for most, if not all, of the season.

Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog

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    By the numbers: 17 games, four goals, two assists, six points, minus-10 rating, 51 shots

    Why he's frustrating: The point total is secondary here, although that's a point of frustration for the 21-year-old who scored 26 goals and 65 points last season and is on pace for fewer than 20 goals and 30 points at the moment. More concerning is how dramatically his plus/minus has dipped. He was the team leader with a plus-21 rating a year ago but is third worst on the team so far this season.

    Head coach Patrick Roy has plenty of problems but had to break up his captain's line as a result of the disappointment.

    Can things change: It's hard to imagine Landeskog not improving on his point totals as the year progresses, but the advanced stats folks have been expecting a sharp decline in the Avalanche's overall performance this year because of horrendous underlying numbers a year ago when the team's Corsi-for percentage was sixth worst in the league and its Fenwick-for percentage was fourth worst, per Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com. Tie that into the plus/minus problem and you can see there's no quick fix in store for Landeskog or the team.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Jack Johnson

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    By the numbers: 12 games, no goals, five assists, five points, minus-11 rating, 15 shots

    Why he's frustrating: There's no shortage of anti-Johnson literature out there. Some call him overrated, while others suggest he is just plain bad. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but Johnson's stats tell you he's still struggling with his positional game, and his possession numbers are some of the worst in the entire league. Johnson's Corsi-for percentage is 194th out of 214 defensemen listed at Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, and his minus-11 rating is second-worst on the Blue Jackets.

    Can things change: For people to overlook Johnson's shortcomings, he'd have to be at least a 40-plus-point defenseman. He hasn't hit that mark since 2011. At 27, Johnson's formative coaching years are behind him.

Dallas Stars: Ales Hemsky

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    By the numbers: 15 games, no goals, one assist, one point, minus-seven rating, 23 shots

    Why he's frustrating: Some thought the match was made in heaven. Jason Spezza was headed to Dallas via trade, and his former Ottawa Senators wingman, Hemsky, signed up as a free agent in the summer. The two showed zero chemistry in the early going, with Hemsky looking as if he suddenly forgot how he previously racked up 17 points in 20 games with Spezza in Canada's capital. Spezza got moved to the top line, and Hemsky is now looking like the odd man out as a healthy scratch, according to Sportsnet's Mark Spector.

    Can things change: Aside from his solid showing in Ottawa, Hemsky hasn't been all that productive since about 2011. The 31-year-old's career numbers—495 points in 687 games—show he has skill, but with just 100 in his last 197, that skill is clearly in decline.

Detroit Red Wings: Stephen Weiss

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    By the numbers: One game, no points, no shots, 8:03 ice time

    Why he's frustrating: Can anyone remember the last time Stephen Weiss was healthy? The 31-year-old center has played all of 27 games with the Detroit Red Wings in two seasons—only one this year before an AHL conditioning stint turned into another injury. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Willis recently discussed the idea of a buyout at the end of this season, and unless Weiss finally stays healthy and contributes, it's a real possibility.

    Can things change: Considering Weiss hasn't played a full season since, well, never, and hasn't hit the 60-point plateau since 2010, I'm not betting on a sudden return to form.

Edmonton Oilers: Leon Draisaitl

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    By the numbers: 17 games, two goals, three assists, five points, 12:25 average ice time per game, 24 shots, 43.5 faceoff percentage

    Why he's frustrating: It's not the rookie 19-year-old's fault, but he's being forced to play a full-time NHL role before he's really prepared. He's getting the trial-by-fire experience, and according to Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Matheson, he is being protected in the process with sheltered minutes and offensive-zone starts. Head coach Dallas Eakins doesn't help with the frustration when talking to Matheson about the kid getting multiple mulligans. The Edmonton Oilers are supposed to be winning games, not grooming kids who could be progressing at other levels:

    When you’re that age, all we want those guys to do is come out, play with passion, have fun and really enjoy that you’re in a league that you’ve been watching your whole life. Keith Acton put it best the other day when we were talking about young players in the league and he equated it to golf. Young guys have a whole bunch of mulligans. They make mistakes and they’re out there playing with passion and they get mulligans. ‘Ah, go again, go again.’ The reason why I think a lot of the perception of players in their second years, they tend to struggle, well they’re really not; there’s no more mulligans. You’re not a first year guy anymore. Leon knows he has lots of mulligans.

    Can things change: In this case, Draisaitl will definitely improve throughout the trials and tribulations. But his education isn't making the Oilers any better this season.

Florida Panthers: Tomas Kopecky

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    By the numbers: 13 games, no goals, two assists, minus-four rating, 17 shots

    Why he's frustrating: Kopecky led the Panthers with 15 goals in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. His total fell to four last year while battling a concussion, and he hasn't been able to score so far through the start of this NHL season. The Panthers are relying on some production from their veterans—including the 32-year-old Kopecky—as guidance for the many talented young players on the team. They're not getting it from him.

    Can things change: It's possible Kopecky's offensive game will make strides now that he's getting an opportunity alongside Scottie Upshall and Aleksander Barkov Jr., via Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel.

Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Brown

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    By the numbers: 17 games, two goals, no assists, two points, 40 shots, minus-three rating

    Why he's frustrating: The Kings captain is once again getting off to a rocky start to the season, managing very little in the offensive department and not throwing his body around the way he usually does, either. He has 35 hits for an average of just over two per game. If he's not scoring, he needs to be hitting.

    Can things change: With some balance to the lines, Brown could find some chemistry with Mike Richards and Dwight King.

Minnesota Wild: Thomas Vanek

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    By the numbers: 15 games, one goal, eight assists, nine points, 30 shots

    Why he's frustrating: The Wild power play is one of the two worst in the NHL, and the guy they signed to a three-year, $19.5-million contract has just a single goal on the man advantage all season.

    Can things change: If Vanek starts shooting more, he should improve his numbers. He's taken three or more shots in a game just three times on the season so far. That, combined with his paltry 3.3 shooting percentage, means plenty of room for an uptick in production.

Montreal Canadiens: Rene Bourque

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    By the numbers: 13 games, no goals, two assists, two points, minus-nine rating, 18 shots

    Why he's frustrating: Bourque is a three-time 20-goal scorer who at times seems like a perfect package of size, strength and speed and at others looks completely disinterested in trying. He was one of the Canadiens' best playoff performers last spring with eight goals and 11 points in 17 games but has fallen completely out of favor this year.

    Can things change: Not at the NHL level for now. Bourque's act was growing tired in Montreal, so the Habs shipped him off to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs after all 29 other teams passed on him via waivers, via NHL.com's Arpon Basu.

Nashville Predators: Olli Jokinen

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    By the numbers: 16 games, no goals, no assists, 30 shots, minus-two rating

    Why he's frustrating: Head coach Peter Laviolette suggests the veteran is playing just fine, via The Tennessean's Maren Angus, but no points through almost a quarter of the season for a guy who has eclipsed the 30-goal mark four times in his NHL career is not what the Predators expected. Also, after more than a decade of being bald, the Finn has grown out his hair. It's creepy.

    Can things change: For the hair, all he needs is a set of clippers and a razor. I'm not sure how to help with the goals thing.

New Jersey Devils: Ryane Clowe

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    By the numbers: 13 games, one goal, three assists, four points, 15 shots

    Why he's frustrating: You can't blame a guy for suffering head injuries, but that doesn't make them any less frustrating. Clowe had two concussions last season and was limited to 43 games. He's sitting out with another head injury, via Rich Chere of NJ.com.

    Can things change: Clowe is injury-prone and has been for years. It's unlikely that these ailments will stop troubling him.

New York Islanders: Cory Conacher

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    By the numbers: 13 games, one goal, two assists, three points, minus-three rating

    Why he's frustrating: He started the season on a line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo but is now a healthy scratch more often than not. How does this happen when all you need to do to contribute points while playing with Tavares is not fall down while heading to the front of the other team's net?

    Can things change: At this point, Conacher has quickly fallen out of favor in Tampa, Ottawa, Buffalo and now New York. Don't count on him finding anything but a new AHL home in the near future.

New York Rangers: Ryan McDonagh

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    By the numbers: 10 games, no goals, three assists, three points, 22 shots

    Why he's frustrating: McDonagh had a huge breakout season a year ago, was named captain and has fallen well short of expectations so far this season. He's also out as long as a month with a shoulder separation.

    Can things change: Once he gets healthy again, McDonagh should be able to improve on his numbers. He's only 25 and just learning to deal with the lofty expectations now on his shoulders.

Ottawa Senators: Mika Zibanejad

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    By the numbers: 16 games, two goals, two assists, four points, minus-two rating, 23 shots

    Why he's frustrating: With Jason Spezza's departure, there are plenty of minutes and ample opportunity for both Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad to step up. Neither has thrived in the bigger roles, and Zibanejad has been a massive disappointment from a points perspective. The 21-year-old is playing 15:14 of ice time per game but is on pace for a 20-point season.

    Can things change: The jury is still out on what Zibanejad is capable of. He's young and has time to grow into a second-line role.

Philadelphia Flyers: Luke Schenn

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    By the numbers: 14 games, one goal, one assist, two points, minus-five rating

    Why he's frustrating: The whole defensive group is a mess, but the longtime Flyer is already a favorite scapegoat. It's not all unwarranted, however. Schenn has the second-worst plus-minus rating on the team and leads Philly in giveaways.

    Can things change: Schenn is still just 25, but the mistakes he's prone to making continue to happen, so it's doubtful he can make major strides forward anytime soon.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury

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    By the numbers: 9-3-0 record, 2.15 goals-against average, .924 save percentage

    Why he's frustrating: It's unusual to list someone having such a strong season as a frustration, but in the case of Fleury, it's warranted. The goaltender continues to impress in the regular season after disappointing in the playoffs, which most Penguins fans would love to swap out as qualities.

    Can things change: Doubtful. The pressure simply isn't the same in the regular season. Fleury has a track record of caving under pressure.

San Jose Sharks: Tomas Hertl

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    By the numbers: 18 games, three goals, four assists, seven points, 22 shots

    Why he's frustrating: The dreaded sophomore slump. Hertl had 15 goals and 25 points in 37 games last season as a rookie but is struggling to find the scoresheet so far. He doesn't look anywhere near as dangerous or creative as he was a year ago.

    Can things change: For sure. Hertl is only 21 and will have some ups and downs throughout his career—probably more ups than downs.

St. Louis Blues: Patrik Berglund

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    By the numbers: 14 games, one goal, one assist, two points, minus-two rating

    Why he's frustrating: Berglund has been teasing the Blues for the better part of a decade, hitting or flirting with the 20-goal mark in five of his six NHL seasons but failing to live up to the lofty expectations of a former first-round pick (25th overall by the Blues in 2006). His production has taken a massive dip this season, and he's been bumped back in the lineup because of the team's depth, but that should lead to better matchups against the opposition's "lesser" players and an opportunity to take advantage with his size (6'3", 217 lbs) and speed.

    Can things change: There's still time for Berglund to maximize his potential. He's just 26 years old, and despite his inconsistencies, he has been an important contributor to the Blues in the past.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Brenden Morrow

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    By the numbers: 17 games, no goals, two assists, two points, three shots

    Why he's frustrating: It's less a case of being frustrated with Morrow as a player and more about the position he's in now as a veteran who is forced to be more of a role player than a key contributor after a solid NHL career that is missing one thing—a Stanley Cup victory.

    Can things change: His role won't change, but the missing piece to his resume could be added if the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to play well and come out of the Eastern Conference Final.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jake Gardiner

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    By the numbers: 14 games, one goal, three assists, four points, minus-three rating, 11 shots

    Why he's frustrating: Brain cramps that turn into gawdawful giveaways. A lack of elite offensive numbers for a defenseman who seems to have keen instincts for that part of the game. There's a reason Gardiner is almost always being mentioned in one trade rumor or another, such as this one last year from CBS Sports' Brian Stubits.

    Can things change: Defensemen who show a knack for bad plays have a limited window to get those kinks coached out of their system. Guys like Jack Johnson and Dion Phaneuf never seem to learn, while others like Andrew Ference can change their games for the better—although they all make mistakes eventually. Gardiner is 24 and still has some time to get it, whether or not he's with the Maple Leafs when it clicks.

Vancouver Canucks: Zack Kassian

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    By the numbers: 13 games, two goals, two assists, four points, minus-four rating, 20 shots

    Why he's frustrating: He's big, strong, offensively gifted and, well, not the greatest thinker in the game. With five goals in seven games to start last season, Kassian appeared to be on the brink of becoming a premier power forward. But he stalled and struggled to put up points when separated from the Sedin twins. Now he's morphed into a good player with a penchant for making dumb plays.

    Can things change: He has enough raw talent to make an impact in more than just thuggery. But he won't put up big points without the right talent on his line, and the Canucks may not be deep enough just yet.

Washington Capitals: Brooks Orpik

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    By the numbers: 15 games, no goals, four assists, four points, minus-five rating

    Why he's frustrating: The big free-agent signing was brought in to kill penalties and shut down the opposition's big lines. It's hard to do that when he's in the penalty box all the time. Orpik leads the team with 22 penalty minutes.

    Can things change: We'll see if his penalties are a result of his adjustment to a new team and taper off later in the season, or if he's being forced to make up for a lack of foot speed with other methods. He took 13 minor penalty minutes all of last season and is at 11 already, so it looks like this could be an anomaly.

Winnipeg Jets: Evander Kane

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    By the numbers: Nine games, one goal, two assists, three points, 28 shots, 15 penalty minutes

    Why he's frustrating: Kane's points have come in a two-game stretch against some of the league's top teams. But in the other games, against weaker opponents? Nothing.

    Can things change: Kane is still just 23, and although he has some maturing to do on and off the ice, he will eventually be one of the best power forwards in the game.