In a hockey world marred by the overpriced contract and misguided signings, we find a haven of overrated NHLers.
Overrated might be understood a number of ways, a player might be overrated by his franchise's management, a coach who plays him far too many minutes or a fan base that lives and dies by the player, blinded by an immovable bias that gives the player a shine seen only by those wearing the same jersey in the stands and in front of their TVs.
Because of the aforementioned overpriced contracts, these overrated players can be found on just about every NHL roster - some may boast multiple, although boast might not be the right word in this context.
While many of the players on the list are somewhat obvious, others might come as a touch of a surprise. Perhaps a team is devoid of a true overrated player, while others may be judged on unconventional factors.
As much as teams would love (for the most part) to unload themselves of these players - with some sort of return, if possible - the reality is that NHL teams will have to work around the practically unsolvable cap problem. A bad contract or an overvalued player might not always bury a team, but a lot of the times it does a lot more damage to a team's championship hopes than it does good.
30 Anaheim Ducks - Ryan Kesler
29 Arizona Coyotes - Antoine Vermette
For years, Antoine Vermette was given a long leash by fans and pundits alike due to his misfortune of playing on a horrendous Phoenix/Arizona roster during what were arguably the prime years of his career.
Vermette was finally released from his perceived hell last season, as he was shipped to Chicago at the trade deadline en route to a Stanley Cup run and victory. Vermette, who was expected to slide right into the Hawks second-line void, disappointed severely in ChiTown and while he had a few big moments during the playoffs, his overall play left much to be desired.
28 Boston Bruins - Matt Beleskey
When Matt Beleskey is considered one of the top free agent options during any particular summer, you know it's a weak class.
Beleskey went on a bit of a hot streak at the right time and teams around the league - as usual - allowed the whole picture to be clouded by one very nice part of it. Beleskey was pursued by numerous teams, but landed in Boston, essentially replacing Milan Lucic for nearly the same price.
Why Bruins management thought this was a good idea, no one will ever truly understand. Beleskey is a classic grinder with some offensive touch. He got hot playing alongside two of the league's elite - Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry - and fooled everyone into believing he can be a top-six scoring power forward.
27 Buffalo Sabres - Evander Kane
26 Calgary Flames - Dougie Hamilton
25 Carolina Hurricanes - Jordan Staal
Are we done believing the "Jordan Staal is a top-end offensive talent" crowd?
24 Chicago Blackhawks - Corey Crawford
It's painful to have to slot a guy like Corey Crawford into a list like this, but the Blackhawks loaded roster didn't leave many options. Crawford "wins out" because there have been too many instances where he's had to pick up the slack and hasn't been able to do so. Crawford was phenomenal during most of last year's Cup run and fairly good in 2013, but his playoff numbers take a significant dip in the years the Hawks were eliminated while he was the team's starter.
23 Colorado Avalanche - Semyon Varlamov
Remember when Varly was a Vezina finalist and a top candidate for MVP a few years ago?
Yeah, those memories are fading faster than the Avalanche's playoff hopes.
He's stuck behind a horrendous possession team, but Varlamov's play has taken a serious nosedive since his career year in 2013-2014. He's currently lugging around a 3.26 GAA an .890 save percentage.
22 Columbus Blue Jackets - David Savard
21 Dallas Stars - Ales Hemsky
One of the league's most enigmatic players over the past decade, Alex Hemsky continues to fool people into thinking he's still good offensive player.
20 Detroit Red Wings - Mike Green
19 Edmonton Oilers - Benoit Pouliot
This might only apply to the people who actually signed Pouliot, but he fits right into this slot before some of the plumbers on the Oilers and the top-end talent that doesn't deserve to be on this list.
Pouliot has been a bust in every sense of the word, but he's still managed to be a decent NHL player. That being said, he's barely worth $4 million a year and he definitely didn't warrant a five-year commitment. He's yet to crack 20 goals or 40 points in an NHL season. What more do you need to know?
18 Florida Panthers - Dave Bolland
17 Los Angeles Kings - Marian Gaborik
It really is too bad that a guy with as much talent as Marian Gaborik has to end up on a list like this, but it's easy to argue that this is a case where the brand is doing more for the money than the actual product. Gaborik was once considered among the NHL elite, and while many still do, they are basing it on his past performances and not on what is happening right in front of their faces.
16 Minnesota Wild - Nino Niederreiter
Once considered the player who would single-handedly pull Switzerland out of hockey obscurity and into the world of hockey powers, Niederreiter has become nothing more than a luxury for the Wild - luxury in the sense that he's not a need, he's a want, due tothe fact that many still think he can be a top-end offensive talent.
15 Montreal Canadiens - Dale Weise
Everyone in Montreal is loving what Dale Weise has been doing since he was acquired, but people need to take it easy with the comparisons to Guy Lafleur, no matter how tongue-in-cheek they may be.
14 Nashville Predators - Ryan Ellis
13 New Jersey Devils - Travis Zajac
12 New York Islanders - Mikhail Grabovski
11 New York Rangers - Rick Nash
Yeah, we went there.
That sound you hear is Rangers fans losing their minds, perhaps mixed in with a few Jackets supporters who still have a soft spot for Nash.
Sure, Nash is a 40-goal scorer. Sure, Nash is an intimidating power-forward. However, many talk about him as an elite player - in the discussion alongside the likes of Stamkos, Perry and Ovechkin.
Is he really? Let's find out.
For a guy who's scored nearly 400 goals in the NHL, his goal totals have fluctuated drastically several times. He's also only topped 70 points once in his career.
"But he won the Rocket Richard Trophy!", they'll cry. Nash won the trophy with 41 goals, the lowest total in the trophy's history (excluding the lockout year) - and he was tied with two other guys.
"But he's scored 30 eight times!" they'll roar. Sure, but how many times have you heard the phrase "Nash can do more" or "Nash has more in him?" Rick Nash is expected to finish over 40 goals every season, and rightfully so, because he has as much talent as anyone in the league and he's making close to eight million - and yet he's only done it three times.
10 Ottawa Senators - Bobby Ryan
This one, unlike the last one, was relatively easy.
Bobby Ryan hasn't been the player the Ottawa Senators thought they were getting a few years back and Senators fans have every right to be a little aggravated by the streaky Ryan. He would fill the net with ease while he was in Anaheim, but he hasn't been able to find his touch in Ottawa. Despite this, he's still viewed as a top-end scorer who's just going through a tough stretch.
9 Philadelphia Flyers - Sam Gagner
Sam Gagner become a YouTube sensation when YouTube was becoming an Internet sensation while the Internet was becoming a world sensation...you still following? Point is, we know how things get overblown these days, so imagine when social media and "virtual sharing" was new to us all. How excited were you to show your friends this London Knights phenom who could deke any goalie out of his equipment and back into the suit he left in the locker room?
The Oilers scouting staff might have used those videos to scout Gagner because he never truly lived up to his high draft selection. Despite this, teams continue to give Gagner a prominent offensive role with the notion in their heads that they're the ones who are going to crack the Gagner code.
8 Pittsburgh Penguins - David Perron
7 San Jose Sharks - Patrick Marleau
Patrick Marleau is going to hit 1,000 points any day now, and while it's quite the accomplishment, it doesn't do anything to change the fact that he's been one of the most overrated NHLers of the past decade.
For starters, Marleau only started putting up huge numbers when Joe Thornton rolled into California in 2005-2006. He sprinkled in some less than stellar seasons during the Sharks "glory years," but was helped out by a strong supporting cast, led by Jumbo Joe.
6 St. Louis Blues - Paul Stastny
Not sure where people got the idea that Paul Stastny is a top-line, elite center, but he's proven to be far from it - of late, at least.
5 Tampa Bay Lightning - Ryan Callahan
4 Toronto Maple Leafs - Dion Phaneuf
3 Vancouver Canucks - Ryan Miller
You could do a lot worse than Ryan Miller between the pipes, but don't go spouting off things like "Ryan Miller is a top-10 goaltender" without expecting to get some incredulous looks, at the very least.
Miller's career .915 GAA and 2.58 GAA leave a lot to be desired, considering he's been on really good teams and has played during an era of NHL hockey where goals have been much harder to come by. He's won a bunch of games, but the W stat is slowly but surely losing its luster - as it has in baseball - with the amount of data we have to work with in this era of sport.
2 Washington Capitals - Brooks Orpik
1 Winnipeg Jets - Dustin Byfuglien
Easily one of the most overrated players in the NHL, Dustin Byfuglien has been able to slip under the label for years thanks to his size and his ability to play two positions. No one should be confusing the big Jet for Sergei Federov, though - Byfuglien, on more than one occassion, has been moved around between positions because he was struggling more than anything else. He's never topped 20 goals and while he's a good possession player, he's still managed to find himself on the ice for too many goals against over the course of his career.
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