It’s not enjoyable making up worst-of lists and they should be taken as tongue-in-cheek, but let’s face it, when it comes to the NHL there have been some exceptional players over the years and some who probably didn’t belong in the league whatsoever. However, for one reason or another, these players did make it to the big time, usually because hockey is one of the only pro sports which allows fighting in it. Therefore, enforcers were needed and employed on a regular basis. This list of the worst 15 players over the last 15 years consists of several of those types of players.
Because if it wasn’t for their fighting ability there’s no way they would have been in the league. To make this list, a player must have skated at least a part of his career in the past 15 years. The list consists of those who didn’t contribute much to the betterment of the sport and the NHL and others who simply couldn’t perform at the elite level, and appeared to be in over their heads. The majority of these players also bounced around the league from team to team during their careers.
15 Mike Brown
Perhaps the most notable thing about Mike Brown was his mustache and skating ability. The guy could skate like the wind when he put his mind to it, which wasn’t often, but that’s just about where it all starts and ends with the former right-winger from Chicago. Brown managed to rack up just 19 goals and 36 points in 407 career games despite his fine skating ability. He was also a -36 during his career. Brown was a little too small to be an effective enforcer, so skated about eight minutes a night as a fourth-liner with half a dozen different NHL teams from 2007 to 2016. Brown did what was asked of him though, so can’t be faulted for that, but he took up a roster spot from more-skilled players. The 31-year-old is currently an unrestricted free agent, and will likely remain so.
14 Justin Pogge
Goaltender Justin Pogge looked like a potential Vezina Trophy winner when he suited up for Canada at the World Juniors back in 2006. He led his home nation to the gold medal in Vancouver with three shutouts in the tournament and a goals-against-average of 1.00. Pogge was then named the WHL and CHL Goalie of the Year as well as the WHL’s MVP at the end of the season after being drafted by the Maple Leafs 90th overall in 2004. Things didn’t work out for the youngster in the pros though as he bounced from Toronto to Anaheim to Carolina and the Phoenix. Pogge played just seven games in the NHL, all with the Leafs as he just couldn’t adjust as he went 1-4-1 with a 4.35 GAA and 84.4 save percentage. He ended up heading to Europe in 2012 and still plays in the KHL with Bratislava Slovan this season.
13 David Clarkson
It’s not really David Clarkson’s fault that he was offered one of the most ridiculous contracts in NHL history a couple of years ago and duly signed it. But he does have to answer his critics for his play on the ice since then. There was a lot of pressure placed on the winger’s shoulders when the Maple Leafs broke the bank to sign the local lad and he couldn’t handle it. Clarkson was brutal with the Leafs as he couldn’t come up with any offence and took a boatload of stupid penalties at the most inopportune moments. He was so bad the Leafs decided they’d rather pay the injured Nathan Horton than a live body in Clarkson. He was shipped off to Columbus, where the 31-year-old’s also been a bust. The last we heard of the undrafted Clarkson, he failed a preseason medical in Columbus and may well have played his last NHL game.
12 George Parros
Forward George Parros had the unenviable job of being an NHL enforcer although he more resembled a porn star due to his looks. Parros wasn’t the greatest skater around and simply made it to the NHL because he was good at pounding opposing tough guys into mincemeat. Parros was one of the league’s top enforcers, but worst players between 2005 and 2014 when he suited up for five different teams. His weak skating didn’t really matter since he wasn’t expected to chip in with any offence or defence. However, he did manage to rack up 36 points and 1,092 penalty minutes during his 474-game career, which sadly came to an end in 2013-14 due to one too many concussions courtesy of fellow tough guys such as Eric Boulton and Colton Orr. Parros now works with the NHL’s department of player safety.
11 John Scott
Yes, it’s true John Scott played in an NHL-All-Star Game by some freak fan-voting occurrence. And what’s even freakier is the fact he won the event’s MVP award in 2015-16 after scoring a pair of goals. Let’s face it, he took the place of a more deserving player as the word's All-Star and John Scott doesn't really belong in the same sentence. Anyway, the likeable the six-foot-eight lug made the best of it and took home a brand new car due performance in Nashville. But in reality, Scott made the NHL as an enforcer and intimidator and left with just five goals and 11 points after 286 career games along with 504 penalty minutes. Nobody really knows how effective Scott might have been if he stuck to playing hockey since he skated just over a handful of minutes per game.
10 Frazer McLaren
It’s not really hard to understand why 29-year-old forward Frazer McLaren is currently an unrestricted free agent. It’s because most NHL teams are opting for skill over brawn these days and McLaren’s style of game just isn’t suited for the league anymore. He was drafted 203rd overall by the San Jose Sharks back in 2007 and played just 40 games with the big club while spending most of his time protecting more-skilled teammates down in the minors. McLaren ended up with the Maple Leafs in 2012 and played 62 games over parts of two seasons. He’s scored four goals and 11 points in 102 NHL outings and there’s a good chance he’ll never play a 103rd game in the league. McClaren’s days as a pro in North American hockey may be numbered
9 Eric Boulton
Being drafted 234th overall is probably a sign that you’re not well known for your skill. This was forward Eric Boulton’s draft position back in 1994 when he was taken in the ninth round by the New York Rangers. He never played a game with the Rangers though as has suited up for Buffalo, the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey. The left winger’s now 40 years old and is signed with the Islanders, but playing down in the AHL. Boulton’s known for his wayward elbows and it’s hard to understand why he’s still using up a roster spot at his age. He’s actually one of the highest scoring enforcers in the league with 31 goals and 79 points to his name after 654 games. However, he’s a -38 and has also served 1,421 minutes in penalties. A lot seems to happen when Boulton’s on the ice considering he averages just 6:44 minutes of ice time a game.
8 Raffi Torres
All you really need to know about forward Raffi Torres is that he was suspended five times by the NHL, including bans of 21 and 41 games. If there ever should have been a case made for throwing somebody out of the league on a permanent basis, Torres certainly fits that bill. Vicious blindside and high hits are a specialty of Torres’ but he’s not really en enforcer as he’s not somebody who drops the gloves on a regular basis. He had some skills and was chosen fifth overall in the 2000 draft by the New York Islanders after racking up 111 goals as a junior in the OHL. In fact, some would argue Torres wasn’t even a dirty player, just a stupid one who made very bad split-second decisions. It’s a miracle Torres didn’t end somebody’s career with his reckless play and his thought process made him a bad player. Thankfully, he just retired in November after 260 points in 635 games.
7 Ryan Hollweg
Forward Ryan Hollweg was another player who was more interested in causing a disturbance than playing the game and putting the puck in the net. Hollweg created havoc in the league from 2006 to 2011, scored 14 points in 228 games, and was a minus 34. Perhaps surprisingly, he served only 349 minutes in penalties with the Rangers, Leafs, and Coyotes. As with all bad players, coaches didn’t really entrust this guy with much ice time and he was allowed on for just over seven minutes a game. Hollweg was another guy who specialized in hitting from behind. You live by the sword and die by the sword though and that’s why Hollweg was smashed in the face with a stick by Chris Simon of the Islanders in 2007 and Simon served a 25-game ban for it. The 33-year-old Hollweg, who was drafted 238th in 2001, is currently playing in Europe.
6 Dan Carcillo
Being compared to Ken ‘The Rat Linesman’ isn’t really something you should be proud of, but that’s an accurate way to describe forward Dan Carcillo. The 31-year-old left-winger was last seen making a pest of himself with Chicago in 2014-15 after making a name for himself with Philadelphia, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and the Rangers. To the shock of his critics, Carcillo managed to post 100 points in his 429 games in just over 10 minutes of action a night and still had the time to serve 1233 minutes in penalties. Carcillo took too many stupid penalties at crucial times in games during his career and placed too much pressure on his teams’ penalty killers. It was their job to bail him out and in all reality, Carcillo came upon the scene perhaps 10 to 15 years too late to be a good hockey player.
5 Rich Clune
Twenty-nine-year-old left-winger Rich Clune has had short NHL stints with Los Angeles, Nashville, and Toronto since 2009-10 and has 22 points in 139 games with 327 penalty minutes. At five-feet-1ten-inches tall, he’s another guy on this list who’s too small to be an effective enforcer or fighter, but can be given a passing grade for an honest effort. Clune has spent most of his days in the AHL where he belongs and continues to spend most of his time in the penalty box while chipping in with a goal or assist once in a blue moon. Clune had potential as a junior, was good at school and drafted 71st overall by Dallas in 2005. He was even good enough to represent Canada as a junior, but everything went south after turning pro. The left-winger is currently playing in Toronto with the Marlies, but has likely played his last NHL game.
4 Brian McGrattan
What type of hockey player was Brian McGrattan? Well, he once spent the equivalent of nine entire games in the penalty box one season as he served 551 minutes for Binghamton of the AHL in 2004-05. True Ogie Oglethorpe numbers. He actually calmed down during his NHL career with just 609 minutes in 317 games, to accompany his 27 points. McGrattan was drafted relatively high for an enforcer as Los Angeles took him 104th in 1999. He never played for the Kings though as he bounced around from Ottawa to Phoenix to Nashville and Calgary. Let’s give credit where it’s due though as the 35-year-old right-winger is still playing this season over in the UK. He may have decided to give Europe a try after being knocked unconscious in a fight in the AHL last January.
3 Bryan Marchment
If you’re looking for some video on how to take a fellow player’s knee out with a cheap, low hit then do an internet search for former defenceman Bryan Marchment. NHL’ers had to keep their heads up between 1988 and 2006 when Marchment was on the ice looking for his next victim. It’s incredible that this guy played close to 20 years and 1,000 games in the league with nine teams, but understandable that he spent 2,307 minutes of his time in the penalty box. Marchment was an elite cheap shot artist who was suspended 13 times in his first dozen NHL seasons for dirty hits on the likes of star players such as Mike Gartner, Mike Modano, Kevin Dineen, Wendel Clark, Pavel Bure, and Paul Kariya. Unfortunately, Marchment will be remembered for his knee-on-knee hits more than anything related to his hockey skills.
2 Chris McAllister
When it comes to a player with minimal hockey skills, 21 points in 301 career games, a -27 rating and 634 minutes in penalties, then former defenceman Chris McAllister’s your man. The six-foot-eight, 250 pound native of Saskatchewan skated for five different NHL teams between 1997 and 2004. There’s no doubt McAllister played due to his size and his fistic abilities. If it was based purely on his hockey skill, he wouldn’t have made it to the NHL, but would have been a career minor leaguer. In fact, he did spend the majority of his time in the AHL and even had a short stint over in the United Kingdom. McAllister didn’t offer much to the NHL teams he played for and would never have made it to the league in today’s era of speed and skill.
1 Andre Deveaux
Andre Deveaux will likely go down in history as being the only NHL player ever to be born in the Bahamas, but should also be remembered as being one of the worst players to ever step foot on an NHL rink between the years 2009 and 2012. The 32-year-old forward somehow managed to play 31 games in the league with Toronto and the Rangers and contributed with a pair of assists to go along with his 104 minutes in penalties. The NHL soon got wise to the type of player he was and he spent most of his time in the AHL. Deveaux then moved to Europe in 2013-14 to continue his reign of terror there. He made the headlines the next season when he performed a classic act of goonery and attacked an opponent during the warm up of a playoff game in Sweden. Deveaux’ contract and apparently his hockey career were then immediately terminated.