As a huge hockey fan from Montreal, it’s difficult for me to ever praise or admire other NHL teams. I mean, I’m passionate; sure, I can appreciate a good team, and I could admit when a team has what it takes to be successful. Now, looking at a storied franchise like the Chicago Blackhawks – a team almost as storied and successful as the Montreal Canadiens – there were some really good players during their history. There was Bobby Hull, Ed Belfour, Chris Chelios, Pierre Pilote, Denis Savard and many, many more. These are players that marked not only changed the history of the Blackhawks franchise, but changed the face of hockey.
That being said, there are also players that wore that Blackhawks jersey and made an absolute mess of it. Some were there longer than they maybe deserved, while some were sent right back to where they came from, the minors. But the point is, they wore the sweater all the same, and will forever be considered as the bottom of the barrel of Chicago’s history of talented hockey players.
Some were defenseman, some were goalies, and some were forwards. They played in the 30s and they played in the 90s. But today, these 15 select players get to share their names in a top 15 list, listing the 165 worst Chicago Blackhawks players in the team’s history. Let us begin.
15. Clarence “Taffy” Abel
For those who don’t know “Taffy”, it’s normal – he played eight years in the NHL, the last four as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in the early 1930s. He was actually part of two Stanley Cup winning teams, winning one for each of the teams he played with. Historically in the NHL, Abel was one of the first regular American-born players to become a regular in the NHL, an enormous step forward for the NHL at the time. He’s even a member of the United States Hockey. He doesn’t look all that bad on paper, but he averaged just 37 points in 333 NHL games. He was a pretty classic defenseman at 225 pounds, and was good at the shut down game, but was never really able to have a lasting impact on his team.
14. Travis Moen
Travis Moen still plays in the NHL today, currently as a member of the Dallas Stars. He’s been around in the league, filling holes as a perfect fourth liner, occasionally maybe playing on the third line for a limited amount of time. Moen was selected in the 5th round, 155th overall by the Flames, although played his first NHL game with the Hawks. He was only with the club for one season. In a full, 82-game season, the Canadian from Swift Current Saskatchewan managed just four goals and two assists.
His lack of production was perhaps a frustration for him, spending 142 minutes in the penalty box, by far his best stat that season. The rest of Moen’s long career was much the same, being more of a depth forward than having any real significant role. His best season came with the Ducks – the Mighty Ducks as they were called in 2005, where he earned 21 points in 82 games.
13. Bill McKenzie
Bill McKenzie played hockey for a few seasons with the Blackhawks. He got his name on the cup in 1938 with the good old Hawks. He was a defenseman, and not a very important one, his main role being to carry the puck from his own zone and pass it on to a forward. In 101 games with the Hawks, McKenzie scored just two goals and had three assists. He had almost no offensive role for the Hawks. He was with Chicago as a rookie originally, before playing for other teams and winding back in the windy city later on in his career. At was his second time around he managed to get his hands on the Cup. After that, he spent the rest of his career in the minors. He also took a year off hockey – not too try something different – but to go serve his country in WWII – before coming home and retiring in 1945.
12. Mark Janssens
Janssens is a retired center, selected 72nd overall in the NHL draft by the New York Rangers. In a 12-year career, Janssens played for seven different NHL teams, the last being the Chicago Blackhawks. Already a mediocre player to begin with, Janssens joined to Blackhawks pre-retirement, when he was older and slower. He had just seven points in 96 games. Only one of those was a goal. Very poor, his stint with the Hawks, maybe so much so that it pushed straight to retirement. Today, Janssens makes a living working for Access Global Trading. Although this has nothing to do with his abysmal time with the Hawks, Janssens actually saw one of the planes hit the World Trade Center.
11. Adam Burish
Burish is still an active hockey player, currently a free agent but having most recently played with the Malmo Redhawks of the Swedish Hockey League. Selected 282nd overall in the 9th round by the Hawks, his first four years with the organization were spent away from it, at the University of Wisconsin, until he was deemed ready in 2006. The American of Greek descent played at right win, getting only 11 goals and 10 assists in four seasons with the Hawks, being particularly unproductive. Still, he is the proud owner of a Stanley Cup ring, even though he played only 15 regular season games in the championship year.
10. Steve Poapst
Going undrafted, Steve Poapst got his chance in the NHL with the Washington Capitals in 1996. He would play nine games that year including playoffs, scoring one goal, his first in the NHL. He would then spend another three straight seasons in the AHL with the Portland Pirates, go back up to Washington for 22 games, and then spend another two years in the minors. Not much of an experience in the NHL thus far. His best chance to get regular playing came with the Chicago Blackhawks, from 2000 to 2004. The defenseman played 220 of 307 NHL games in a Hawks uniform, earning just 31 points in the meantime. Although he wasn’t the best in the NHL, Poapst found success after retiring in coaching, currently assistant coach of Rockford in the AHL.
9. Ralph “Bouncer” Taylor
Commonly known the Shamrocks bouncer, Taylor didn’t play much of his career in the NHL, but the time he did spent there was mostly with the Chicago Blackhawks between 1928 and 1930. In 55 games with the Hawks, Taylor managed just one sad little goal. The defenseman was never real seen as NHL type material, but was expected to have a good career in the minors, which he did. He made big waves during his time with the Chicago Shamrocks of the AHA, joining after his last stint with an NHL team. He would play 11 more years in different minor leagues before retiring, unremembered unfortunately, until we decided to talk about really bad Blackhawks players. Sorry Ralph.
8. Harry Lumley
In Lumley’s defense, he did not have the best team in front of him during his two seasons with the Hawks. But to break his defense, his numbers during that spam were dreadful. I mean at least Pang had nine assists while being a bad goalie, Lumley had absolutely nothing; no playoffs, a bad losing percentage and a GAA that makes you look again. In two fairly similar seasons, Harry Lumley pulled off a 29-85-19 record, with a 3.90 GAA in season one and a 3.46 GAA the following season.
Although Lumley was horrid with the Hawks, he was actually a pretty good goalie, making his debut at 17 years old in the one eve game he played with the Rangers. He was and remains the youngest goalie to play in the NHL.
7. Brandon Bollig
Looking at recent times, we fall on Brandon Bollig. Currently a Calgary Flames player, Bollig went undrafted but was signed by the mighty Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 after playing hockey with St. Lawrence University. He spent a few seasons with the Hawks before going to Oil country, having just enough time to pick up a Stanley Cup ring as well. Imagine, in 2009 he’s undrafted, playing college hockey, and four years later he’s part of a Stanley Cup team. He made his professional debut in the 2012-13 after enforcer and All-Star John Scott was was traded to the New York Rangers. He got 51 PIMS and no points in his first 25 games as a Hawk, and 14 points next year in 82 games. Bollig has moved on from being a pure enforcer to becoming a more legitimate fourth liner in the league. Just in case you’re in the mood for a Brandon Bollig fun fact, he’s the first St. Louis native to ever hoist the cup.
6. Helge “Bulge” Bostrom
Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, he only played 90 games in the NHL, all of them with the Blackhawks between 1929 and 1933. The result: six points. Six meager points, three goals and three assists. And that’s okay. But for the sake of the article, definitely one of the worst Blackhawks tallies ever recorded over 90 games. The defenseman never won the Cup during his time in Chicago, and finished his career with the Kansas City Greyhounds in 1936. I honestly wish I can tell you why he was nicknamed “Bulge.” But whether it was a weird physical disfigurement or just a random, unprecedented nickname, the internet doesn’t seem to know.
5. Jim Cummins
Cummins was drafted 67th overall in the 1989 draft by the New York Rangers. He would play 12 seasons in the NHL, four of those seasons coming with the Chicago Blackhawks between 1994 and 1998. The Blackhawks were a middle of the pack type team that had a hard time making it past the first two playoff rounds. Cummins had a specific role on the team as an enforcer, a reputation he gained in the minors. In his debut with the Red Wings, it was clear he was going to bring that intensity to the NHL. In four seasons however, he amassed 674 PIMs, meaning the spent an awkwardly long time in the penalty box. Offensively, he was as dreadful a point producer as an enforcer could be, earning only 24 points in four years.
4. Gerry Goyer
Gerald Francis Goyer is a former NHL player born in Belleville, Ontario who played only 40 games in the NHL. Of course, they were all with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1967-68 season. In 40 games, the center had only 3 points, and was an astounding -18. Possible to worst NHL career in existence, not only for the Chicago Blackhawks. Goyer did have a long, successful career in the minors though. In the WHL, he tallied the 20-goal mark 11 times. Pretty impressive, but it still doesn’t get him out of being one of the worst Blackhawks ever. During his WHL career, he became the all-time leading goal scorer in the league’s history. His WHL and NHL career can literally not be more contrasted.
3. Darren Pang
Today we know Darren Pang as the loving, charming, and adorable analyst on Sportsnet. I’m sure many of you did not know that “The Panger” was actually an NHL goalie for a small amount of time with the Chicago Blackhawks. At only 5-foot-5, he was the 2nd shortest goalie to ever play in the NHL. Players often made fun of him that Pang had a “sixth hole” because he was so short. His numbers were pretty dreadful as well; in 81 NHL games, he had a 4.05 GAA and a .882 save percentage. Yikes. In 1990, he suffered a career ending injury and found much success in the broadcasting world. Pang was one of few NHL players to actually puke before every game. Unfortunately, it did nothing to improve his game.
2. Ryan VandenBussche
If you like tough NHLers, not particularly known for their on ice talent or point production, then you’ll be a fan of the man with the toughest name to pronounce in the NHL, Ryan VandenBussche. Selected 173rd overall by the Leafs in 1992 NHL draft, he spent his first few years as professional hockey player playing for different OHL and AHL teams. In 1997-98 he got his NHL debut with the Rangers, but that year he also played for four different teams in three different leagues. He was finally traded to the Hawks in 1998 and stayed there until 2004.
In that time, he started in 198 games for the Hawks, with a whooping 11 points in that spam. But that’s okay, because VandenBussche wasn’t expected to put up points. He was an enforcer, one of the best in NHL history, incidentally making him one of the worst skilled players of all time. He’s also credited for ending Nick Kypreos’ career in a pre-season game in 1997.
1. Daniel Carcillo
After reading about 14 players that were on a very unflattering list, I feel a little bad. I mean I don’t like sitting here, behind the comfort of my own laptop, making a list of people that were the worst possible players in the history of their organization. So to end this, our number one is someone we can all agree to hate. We can agree that he deserves to be number one on this list. Introducing Daniel Carcillo ladies and gentleman.
His on-ice play has led to him being nicknamed “Car Bomb”, not exactly the kind of nickname you would want as a professional player. He was drafted 73rd overall and quickly made his reputation in the league as a scrapper, a s*** disturber, and someone you just really wanted to hit. He’s been suspended multiple times for an assortment of stupid reasons, including using physical force against a linesman. Like so many bad players that are part of a storied franchise, Carcillo won two Stanley Cups with the Hawks, in 2013 and 2015, playing 12 games combined in those post seasons. Now retired, Carcillo has moved on from being a pest on the ice and founded the Chapter 5 Foundation, dedicated to helping players suffering from post-concussion syndrome.
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