by PuckStopsHere on 09/21/10 at 03:55 AM ET
A few days ago, I listed the top 20 players by goals versus threshold. Today I will look at the flip side and look at the worst players by Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system. These are players who performed worse than a threshold replacement level player last season. These players are likely to find themselves out of the NHL if they continue their current level of play. In many cases, the fact that they played enough games in the 2009/10 season to do as poorly as they did is noteworthy. These are likely players who have had some success and established themselves as NHL players in the past and their team hoped for a return to form, which would have them playing above replacement level but this return to form did not occur last season.
Here are the worst 20 players last season by goals versus threshold:
Goals Versus Threshold
These numbers were calculated by behind the net.
The worst seven players on this list and 11 players in total are goaltenders. This shows that goaltenders can have a large impact in a hockey game, either positive or negative. Goaltenders tend to be found at both the top and bottom of a goals versus threshold list. Everyone else on this list is a forward except for Taylor Chorney. He is the only defenceman on the list. This is because forwards are expected to score more often than defencemen in the offensive portion of the goals versus threshold system, so there is more room for a player to be below threshold.
Defence is much harder to rate and is underrated both positively and negatively. A defenceman must be very poor defensively (or at least have a bad +/- on a poor defensive team) to wind up here and only Taylor Chorney does.
This list shows us just how poorly Vesa Toskala played last season. He was -15.5 goals versus threshold in his time with Toronto and his Calgary time was +1.1. Merely getting rid of him in Toronto will improve the team. Pascal Leclaire also had a poor season last year. If he can bounce back in Ottawa, this would help the Senators. Otherwise he could find himself unable to maintain NHL employment. Chris Osgood and Cristobal Huet are the only other two players who played enough to be significantly far below threshold. Huet played himself out of the NHL and Osgood looks like he could soon.
The worst position player is James Sheppard in Minnesota. He was given a reasonable amount of ice time because he is a former first round pick, but he is running out of chances. We see two players Derek Boogaard and Raitis Ivanans, who played poorly enough that it is reasonable to think they had played themselves out of the NHL, but both received new free agent contracts. Boogaard’s contract is hardest to explain. How did his 2009/10 season earn him a four year contract worth $6.6 million? Ivanans merely has a 2 year $1.2 million contract with Calgary, which makes him a less costly mistake than Boogaard likely will be to the Rangers.
This list shows that in general weak teams do not have depth and hence are forced to play weaker players that are on this list. Of the position players on the list, only Darcy Hordichuk of the Vancouver Canucks played on a team that made the playoffs.
The goals versus threshold worst players list does a good job of capturing players who had poor seasons in 2009/10. It has a large number of goalies on it, which is to be expected given the nature of their position. Probably this list is wrong to have only one defenceman on it. Likely there are more defencemen who played poorly enough in the 2009/10 season that they should be here. This is an offshoot of the way this system underrates defence and the fact that less offense is expected from defencemen, so it is hard to be well below replacement level.
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