by PuckStopsHere on 01/26/12 at 12:53 AM ET
I find it interesting to try to try to keep track of the worst regular player in the NHL each season. I want to see what kind of player keeps himself in the lineup despite not providing anything positive for his team. Generally the worst regular in the league is either a goon with limited ice time or a hard working but untalented depth player. Both of these types of players are ones that some coaches will keep in the lineup despite a lack of a positive return on their roster spot. In December, I picked Chris Thorburn of the Winnipeg Jets for this dishonor. Thorburn hasn’t played well, but he isn’t the worst player in the league. He is up to four points (all assists) and sometimes plays in tough defensive situations for the Jets. My current pick is Brad Staubitz of Minnesota Wild.
Staubitz has appeared in 41 games so far this year. He has no points. He plays fewer than seven minutes per game. He has posted -7 +/- rating which is only better than three teammates with significantly more playing time (Darrell Powe, Devin Setoguchi and Marco Scandella).
Staubitz’s only value to Minnesota is as a fighter. His 73 penalty minutes lead his team. He has nine major penalties and 13 minors so far. Whether or not that is a benefit to his team is highly questionable. Staged fights (those involving players who get limited ice time like Staubitz) have not been shown to shift momentum in hockey games. His minor penalties (including instigator minors) force his team onto the penalty kill and thus slow momentum.
Staubitz doesn’t score. Staubitz doesn’t prevent scoring. He fights and his fights do not help his team win. So why does Minnesota continue to play him? Brad Staubitz has been the worst regular player in the league so far this season.
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