Since the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL has seen, year after year, new talent emerging in every position of the game. Superstars like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby made their mark in the NHL immediately in their 2005-06 rookie season. Franchise centres like Steven Stamkos and John Tavares were drafted to build winning teams around. Norris trophy winning defensemen like Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson and P.K Subban have all broken into the NHL post-lockout and have had a significant impact on the game. Vezina winning goaltenders like Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur made it harder for your team to score.
But what about the guys who didn’t pan out like the scouts reported? The guys who got rewarded with the big contract and never saw another good season? The draft busts or the talentless fourth liners? Well, the NHL has seen a lot of those. There is not one specific definition of what makes a bad NHL player since there are so many possible roles a player can have on a team and it just depends how well they execute that role. Therefore, this list contains different types of bad players from tough guys with no talent to one-hit wonders, and whatever might lie in between.
While there are way too many to name, we've done our best to narrow it down to 25 names, to determine who has actually been the worst player since 2004-05. Without further ado, here are the 25 worst NHL players since the 2004-05 lockout.
25 Bryan Bickell
After an outstanding performance during the Blackhawks’ 2012-13 Stanley Cup playoff run with 17 points in 23 games, things were looking like they were about to take off for Bryan Bickell. He was rewarded with a $16 million contract over four years, but failed to meet any of the expectations that were set out for him. The 2004 second round pick never became the big 20+ goal scoring power-forward that the Hawks were hoping for, as he failed to even hit the 15 goal mark in the following two seasons.
Bickell’s poor play eventually led to a demotion to the AHL in the 2015-16 season. His $4 million cap hit gave the Blackhawks many cap issues and they eventually had to pretty much sacrifice trading a valuable prospect in Teuvo Teravainen for lesser value in order to dump Bickell’s contract to Carolina. The 30 year old was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and is currently on the Hurricanes’ injured reserve with one goal in seven games this season.
24 Brett Connolly
Brett Connolly was a 6th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010. The Lightning were hoping to get a solid top six right winger out of the B.C. native but instead got a complete bust. Injuries and poor play constantly kept the young forward out of the Lightning’s starting lineup. He had just 18 goals and 32 points in 134 games with the Lightning. The Bolts decided to move on in the 2014-15 season by trading him to the Boston Bruins for a surprising return of two second round draft picks.
Connolly still didn’t get anything going with the Bruins as he recorded just 25 points in 71 games the following season. He was signed to the Washington Capitals in the 2016 offseason as a free agent, joining his third team in as many seasons. He currently sits with 4 points in 17 games this season and a career total of 63 points in 227 games so far. Looking back at the 2010 draft, the Lightning probably would have opted to draft a different right winger, some guy named Vladimir Tarasenko.
23 Travis Moen
Travis Moen was drafted in the 5th round of the 2000 NHL draft by the Calgary Flames. He posted a career high in points in Anaheim with 11 goals and 21 points during the Mighty Ducks’ cup 2006-07 winning season. Despite scoring some key game winners in the Mighty Ducks’ playoff run that year, Moen never produced much offensively overall throughout his career.
The Mighty Ducks decided to trade Moen to San Jose prior to the trade deadline on March 4th, 2009 where he would go on to score just 3 goals and 2 assists in 19 games with the Sharks. During that summer, he signed a three-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens. Moen finished second on the team in hits his first season with a total of 161. Moen’s grinding role came to good use for teams looking to make a solid playoff run, but his lacking in offensive production is what has him on this list. The Saskatchewan native would finish his 12 season pro career with the Dallas Stars, where he was traded to in November of 2014 for Sergei Gonchar. He recently announced his retirement on November 29th, 2016, with a total of 136 points in 747 games and 801 penalty minutes.
22 Kyle Chipchura
Many people seem to forget that Kyle Chipchura was a first round pick (18th overall) by the Montreal Canadiens in 2004. The big forward drafted out of the WHL had pretty decent stats coming out of junior and had the potential to be a solid two-way centre for the Canadiens. However, Chipchura struggled to make an impact early as he only recorded 11 points in 36 games in his 2007-08 rookie season. The struggles continued for Kyle Chipchura from there as he was constantly being sent down and recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs, and played just 13 games for the Habs in 2008-09, scoring 3 assists.
Chipchura was finally traded to Anaheim in 2009-10, but once again continued to struggle to stay in the line up with his poor play. The former first round pick never tallied more than 20 points in an NHL season and ended his NHL career last season with the Arizona Coyotes, who signed him as an unrestricted free agent back in the 2011 offseason. On July 18th, 2016, Chipchura signed with HC Slovan Bratislava of the KHL. The 30 year old finished his NHL career 104 points in 482 games and a -45, an obvious disappointing turnout for a first round pick.
21 Raffi Torres
Perhaps one of the dirtiest players on this list, Raffi Torres is no question one of the worst players since the last lockout. However, the reason he isn’t much higher on this list is because his point totals weren’t all that terrible. Coming out of the lockout in the 2005-06 season, Torres scored a career high 27 goals and 41 points for the Edmonton Oilers. However, his career never panned out as expected, especially considering that he was a 5th overall draft pick in 2000 by the New York Islanders.
It’s Torres’ total combination of five suspensions for 74 games that has him labelled as a dirty player in the NHL. His most notable suspension, was given during the 2015-16 preseason for a vicious hit to the head on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg. Torres was suspended for 41 games, half of the NHL season. The former 5th overall pick had 260 points in 635 games in his career, with 497 penalty minutes. He was released from a try out for the Carolina Hurricanes prior to the beginning of this season and announced his retirement on November 5th, 2016.
20 Tom Kostopoulos
Tallying only 157 points in 630 career games, Tom Kostopoulos was evidently a bottom six forward with very little skill. He rarely produced anything offensively and wasn’t the most noticeable guy on the ice. He failed to reach 10 goals in any season, which makes it easy for the former 7th round pick to be considered as one of the poorest players in the NHL since the last lockout.
Kostopoulos ended up playing for six different teams and racked up 723 penalty minutes in his career. He currently plays for the Wilkes-Barre Penguins, the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL affiliate, where he seemingly belongs. Kostopoulos is currently their captain and acts as a great leader for the young and upcoming prospects for the Pittsburgh Penguins, although they might not want to follow in his footsteps in terms of skill.
19 David Clarkson
It was during his time with the Devils where David Clarkson saw his better days which included a 30 goal season in 2011-12. He followed that up with a 15 goal performance during the shortened 48 game season which would have him on pace to falling a bit short of the 30 goal mark in a full 82 game season. His play during those last two seasons with the Devils earned him a nice pay check of $36.75 million over seven years with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2013 offseason. However, Clarkson never met the large expectations that were set out for him after getting a big contract, as he failed to surpass 10 goals in both seasons with his hometown team.
The Ontario native was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Nathan Horton prior to the 2015 NHL trade deadline, where he still could not get back to his old self. Since his new contract, Clarkson amassed a total of 17 goals over three seasons, which is 13 less than what he scored in the 2011-12 season alone. You can check out where Clarkson ranks in the worst Maple Leafs players since the 2004-05 lockout here. The former 30 goal scorer’s massive decline in scoring and lucrative contract makes him one of the most disappointing players post-lockout.
18 Matt Martin
A former 5th round pick in 2008, Matt Martin can only be known for hitting everything in sight on the ice. The ex-Islander has consistently been apart of the fourth line and is not known for producing much offensively. His career high in points was reached last season as he scored just 10 goals and 19 points. Martin also lead the league in hits with 365 and registered 11 fighting major penalties.
During the 2016 offseason, the New York Islanders decided to part ways with the fourth line agitator after he was reportedly asking for too much money. It was reported that Martin was asking for as much as $3 million per season, which is far overpriced for a bottom line enforcer. Despite his overpriced demands, the Toronto Maple leafs decided to hand him a four year deal worth $10 million on July 1st, which equals to $2.5 million per season. Martin currently has 92 points in 469 games, with 738 penalty minutes, including 4 points in 31 games so far this season with the Maple leafs. Even though he is known for setting the tone with a big hit, the enforcer is definitely overpriced and not worth the large deal for his sub-par offensive production.
17 Vesa Toskala
If you’ve ever looked up “Top 10 worst goals in the NHL” on YouTube, you would probably find Vesa Toskala on the receiving end at number 1. The Finnish net minder had one of the roughest careers as a goaltender since the 2004-05 lockout. After posting a solid .930 save percentage and 2.06 goals-against average in 28 appearances for the San Jose Sharks in 2003-04, the former fourth round pick’s career quickly went downhill.
In his five seasons after the lockout, Toskala struggled to maintain a save percentage over .900 as his number of starts increased. He was traded prior to the 2007-08 season to the Toronto Maple Leafs where his most famous moment occurred for all the wrong reasons. On March 18th, 2008, Toskala let in a goal against the New York Islanders that was shot 197 feet away from his net which eventually bounced its way over the goaltender’s catching glove. This was seemingly the beginning of Toskala’s downfall. The Finnish goaltender finished his career with the Calgary Flames, where he was traded to in the 2009-10 season, but only appeared in 6 games for the Flames. Toskala finished with a 2.76 goals-against average and disappointing .902 save percentage, with 129 wins in 266 appearances.
16 Sean Avery
There might not be anyone else who had a more controversial NHL career than Sean Avery. The undrafted forward had pretty decent stats coming out of the lockout and started to play a key role when he was traded to the Rangers after beginning his career with the Red Wings and Kings. When he was traded to the Rangers during the 2006-07 season, he recorded an impressive 20 points in the final 29 games of the season after tallying 28 points in 55 games in L.A the same season.
Despite getting his career off to a good start with New York, it was during his time in the Big Apple where he became one of the most agitating players to play the game. His most notable feud was with New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, which began by purposely waving his stick in front of the goaltender’s face to block his vision during a game. It was this that began to turn Avery into one of the most classless players in the NHL. His career stats starting to decline when he was traded to Dallas in 2009-10 and then returning to the Rangers the season after. He finally retired in 2012 and finished with 247 points in 580 games, and a colossal 1533 penalty minutes.
15 Daniel Carcillo
A two-time Stanley Cup winner and a third round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003, Daniel Carcillo is another player who spent a lot of time getting under his opponents’ skin and spending time in the penalty box. He never got a shot at starting in the Penguins’ lineup and was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in February of 2007. It was in his second season with the Coyotes where he racked up a career high 324 penalty minutes in just 57 games in 2007-08.
The former third round pick’s journey continued with the Flyers in 2008-09 where he was traded to in the month of March. The following season he hit a career high in goals, 12 and points, 22. His career ended with multiple destinations, those being Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and then finally ending with Chicago again in 2014-15. The enforcer retired a Stanley Cup champion following that season with just 100 points in 429 games and 1233 penalty minutes in his career.
14 Cody McLeod
Undrafted forward Cody McLeod currently resides with the team that signed him back in 2006, the Colorado Avalanche. He debuted with the Avalanche in 2007, but since then has not surpassed 20 points in any season. You can find McLeod near the top of the league in penalty minutes in almost every year he’s played and it’s pretty astonishing that he maintained a permanent position with the Avalanche for nearly a decade.
Not really having much of a role on the team and racking up a ton of penalty minutes per season has earned McLeod a spot on this list. He is still playing this season for the Avalanche, and has zero points in 20 games. One might wonder when the Avs will choose to replace someone like McLeod with a valuable body to contribute to their current struggles offensively. The 32 year old has 116 points in 651 games and 1,345 penalty minutes so far in his career.
13 Andrew Raycroft
Once upon a time, Andrew Raycroft was a Calder Trophy winner and was being compared to guys like Martin Brodeur and Marty Turco in his rookie season. The former Bruins goaltender went 29-18-5 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in his first NHL season. The future looked bright for the young goaltender, until after the lockout. In the 2005-06 season, he played 30 games and finished with an 8-19-2 record and a horrific 3.71 goals-against average and .879 save percentage.
The former Calder Trophy winning goaltender was then traded to the Maple Leafs in June of 2006 where his career would begin to plummet. He played for four teams in the last six seasons of his NHL career, the Maple Leafs, Avalanche, Canucks and Stars. Raycroft never returned to his Calder winning form and finished his NHL career with a .900 save percentage and a 2.89 goals-against average in 280 games.
12 Ben Eager
A big body at 6’2’’ and 240 pounds, Ben Eager was a first round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes back in 2002. That was probably one of the worst first round picks the Coyotes have ever made, because he did not appear in a single game for the team. He was traded shortly after in 2004 to the Philadelphia Flyers, who he began to play for after the lockout.
The former first round pick has been considered a “loose cannon” by The Edmonton Journal based on his physical play on the ice. He often fought but was not the best fighter out there, and consistently racked up penalty minutes every season. Eager rarely appeared on the scoresheet for the right reasons, as his career high in points came in 2009-10 with the Chicago Blackhawks where he got 16 points in 60 games. He ended his career with the Edmonton Oilers in 2013-14 after splitting one season in 2010-11 with the Sharks and Thrashers. He found himself constantly being recalled and sent down to the minors, and finished his NHL career with a disappointing 85 points in 407 games as a first round pick.
11 Zac Rinaldo
Zac Rinaldo is another player that many will agree throws his body around too loosely. Rinaldo loves to throw body checks as much as he can, and getting under his opponents skin is all he could really do. He’s never put up 10 points in a season, and collected a career high 232 penalty minutes in his rookie season with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011-12.
The 26 year old never played a full season in the NHL and is known for being suspended multiple times. He was acquired from the Boston Bruins in 2015 for a surprising return of a 3rd round pick. He played 52 games for the Bruins last season and scored just 3 points. The former 6th round pick has 27 points in 275 career NHL games and is currently playing in the AHL for the Providence Bruins.
10 Frazer McLaren
Frazer McLaren is an easy consideration for one of the worst NHL players since the lockout. He is barely considered an NHL player with only 102 games played in his career and just 11 total points. It’s difficult to try and figure out what McLaren’s role was during his career because he could barely maintain a spot in an NHL line up.
His career began with the San Jose Sharks in 2009-10, where he posted a career high, wait for it, 6 points! He was claimed off waivers by the Leafs in 2013 and suited up for them 62 times in two seasons. The Manitoba native’s career came to a quick end in 2014 after posting 0 points in 27 games during his final season with the Leafs. The forward averaged less than 5 minutes of ice time per game and was barely noticed during his NHL career. The only reason McLaren isn’t higher on this list is because he hasn’t had many games to show for.
9 B.J Crombeen
Something stood out to the Dallas Stars that convinced them B.J Crombeen would be a great pick in the second round of the 2003 NHL draft. It may have been his size, but Crombeen rarely put that to good use during his career. He only played 23 games in two seasons for the Stars before getting traded to the St.Louis Blues during the 2008-09 season.
The Stars drafted the right winger over another big right winger known as David Backes, who ended up on the Blues just a few picks later in the draft. Crombeen was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning during the summer of 2012. I recall seeing Crombeen losing almost every fight he got himself into during his career, making him a terrible choice for a tough guy to have on any NHL team. The former 2nd round pick finished his career with Arizona where he was traded to by the Lightning in 2014. His career came to an end after the 2014-15 season with the Coyotes, finishing with 80 points in 445 games and 850 penalty minutes.
8 Boris Valabik
Perhaps unknown to many, Boris Valabik was a 10th overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. Aside from his size, there is nothing interesting to Valabik’s game. During his junior career, he recorded over 200 penalty minutes in every season for the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL and never surpassed 15 points.
The big Czech defender’s career was short lived. He played 7 games with the Thrashes in 2007-08, 50 games the following season, and 23 games in 2009-10. Valabik scored only 7 assists in 80 games in his very short NHL career. He spent most of his time playing for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL and wasn’t playing entirely well there either. It is clear that Valabik was a complete bust and the Thrashers picked the wrong defender as guys like Mike Green and Andrej Meszaros were drafted later in that round.
7 Jared Boll
Jared Boll was a fourth round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2005 and is basically known for spending time in the penalty box. His offensive production is hardly existent with 14 points being a career high for the 30 year old. He spent nine seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets and was mostly found near the top of the NHL in penalty minutes every season.
The Blue Jackets bought out the final year of Jared Boll’s contract which had a cap hit of $1.7 million, a definite over payment for a minimal role player. The former fourth round pick later signed with the Anaheim Ducks for the current 2016-17 season and has 1 assist in 21 games up until now. The North Carolina native has had an uneventful career so far with 63 points in 539 games, 1236 penalty minutes and a poor minus 53.
6 Donald Brashear
Signed as an undrafted rookie by the Montreal Canadiens, Donald Brashear’s career began all the way back in 1993-94. He was a master of accumulating penalty minutes as he finished with 2634 total in his 1025 game career. Brashear was not the prettiest guy to watch play as his mediocre skating made it difficult to carry his heavy body across the ice. If he could catch you, you better expect a solid body check coming.
His career took place with five teams including the Canadiens, Canucks, Flyers, Capitals and Rangers. As expected, his offensive numbers were nothing special as he struggled to hit the 10 goal mark every season. The undrafted forward retired with 205 points in his 1000+ game career and a terrible -93.
5 Colton Orr
Undrafted tough guy Colton Orr made his living in the NHL from dropping the gloves. After being signed by the Bruins before the lockout, he played just 20 games for them in the 2005-06 season and recorded 0 points. He was quickly waived by the Bruins and then claimed by the New York Rangers who he played 15 games and recorded an assist to conclude his 2005-06 season.
Orr played in three more seasons with the Rangers before being signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The undrafted forward played his last NHL game with the Leafs in the 2014-15 season after he appeared in only one game. He retired a year later in April, 2016 with only 24 points in 477 games and piled up a grand total of 1186 penalty minutes.
4 Georges Laraque
Looking back, it is quite surprising to know that Georges Laraque was selected in the 2nd round of the 1995 draft, 31st overall, which is practically like a first round pick. There isn’t much to Laraque’s game as his skating, shooting, and pretty much everything else is hardly NHL caliber. Besides being a big, intimidating fighter, Laraque really had no business being in the NHL for as long as he was.
He spent the majority of his career with the team that drafted him, the Edmonton Oilers. His better years were before the 2004-05 lockout where he posted a career high 13 goals and 29 points with the Oilers in 2000-01. Laraque spent less than a season with the Coyotes in 2006-07 before he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The undrafted Quebecer ended his career with his hometown team the Montreal Canadiens in 2010, scoring just 1 goal in two seasons for the Bleu Blanc Rouge. The former 2nd round pick finished with 1126 penalty minutes in his career, and 153 points in 695 games.
3 Ryan Hollweg
I don’t think anyone has represented the word “goon” in any better way than Ryan Hollweg has since the 2004-05 lockout. Drafted all the way in the 8th round by the New York Rangers in 2001, Hollweg made his first appearance in the NHL right after the lockout in the 2005-06 season, playing 52 games and scoring 5 points for the Rangers.
The California native had a very disappointing NHL career, considering his stats in junior weren’t that bad at all. Of course, that does not always mean anything. Hollweg was traded to the Maple Leafs in 2008 for a 5th round pick, and it’s pretty incredible to think that he even had value higher than the round he was drafted in. He played just 25 games with the Leafs in the 2008-09 season and was signed by the Phoenix Coyotes at the end of the season. The former 8th round pick ended his short-lived NHL career with 14 points in 228 games.
2 John Scott
Big John Scott was never drafted, and he played with seven different NHL teams throughout his career. The list of teams is too long to go through, and really doesn’t make a difference because Scott hardly had anything to show for on the scoresheet during his career. He had 1 goal in his first five seasons of his NHL career starting in 2008-09. The Alberta giant could barely keep up with the players on the ice and by the time he got the puck on his stick, someone would be right there to strip him of it before he could even make a stick handle.
Shockingly, Scott was voted in as an NHL All Star in the 2015-16 season through online polls as a joke, representing the Montreal Canadiens, and was captain of the Atlantic Division team. Scott took advantage of the situation and scored a couple of goals during the event and his team won the tournament. He won the hearts of many NHL fans and players with his warmth and willingness to compete in the event. Shortly after he appeared in a final NHL game in his career with the Canadiens before retiring. Despite barely being an NHL level player, it’s safe to say Scott retired as a legend.
1 George Parros
If George Parros didn’t have a super fancy moustache, no one would probably ever know who he was. He was drafted back in 1999 by the Los Angeles Kings, but only appeared in his first NHL game in the 2005-06 season. Parros was not really much of a fighter, nor did he have any sort of skill, or much physicality to his game as others on this list.
The moustache man is mostly known for his time spent in Anaheim with the Ducks, where he was part of their Stanley Cup winning team in 2007. The most points Parros scored in a season was 10 in 2008-09, 5 goals and 5 assists. He ended up with the Florida Panthers for one season in 2012-13, then with the Canadiens in 2013-14. His 36 points in 474 games, 1092 penalty minutes and no signs of any real NHL caliber skills is what makes George Parros the worst NHL player since the 2004-05 lockout. He retired on December 5th, 2014.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!