by PuckStopsHere on 06/20/14 at 06:59 PM ET
In my summer look at sabermetrics and hockey, I began by looking at the top 20 players in 2013/14 by adjusted +/-. Today I am looking at the flip side, the worst 20 players. These are players who had puck possession issues in the 2013/14 season. When they were on the ice at even strength, the opposing team was more likely to score than their own. There are uncertainties in the exact rankings because of the limited number of events that go into them and that is why people have turned to Corsi to better show these effects. Nevertheless, it is clear that players on this list did not succeed in their roles in the 2013/14 season.
Here are the worst 20 players by adjusted +/- in the 2013/14 season:
|1||Alex Edler||-35.4||Vancouver Canucks|
|2||Alex Ovechkin||-30.8||Washington Capitals|
|3||Alex Chiasson||-23.2||Dallas Stars|
|4||Jason Spezza||-22.4||Ottawa Senators|
|5||Milan Michalek||-21.4||Ottawa Senators|
|5||Eric Nystrom||-21.4||Nashville Predators|
|7||Nail Yakupov||-21.2||Edmonton Oilers|
|8||Keith Yandle||-20.4||Phoenix Coyotes|
|9||Dustin Byfuglien||-19.4||Winnipeg Jets|
|9||Seth Jones||-19.4||Nashville Predators|
|11||Erik Cole||-19.2||Dallas Stars|
|12||Dmitry Kulikov||-18.4||Florida Panthers|
|13||Craig Adams||-18.2||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|14||Chris Butler||-17.6||Calgary Flames|
|15||Sam Gagner||-17.2||Edmonton Oilers|
|16||Marcus Johansson||-16.8||Washington Capitals|
|17||Marc-Andre Cliche||-16.4||Colorado Avalanche|
|18||Todd Bertuzzi||-16.2||Detroit Red Wings|
|18||Dany Heatley||-16.2||Minnesota Wild|
|20||Nicklas Backstrom||-15.8||Washington Capitals|
|20||Tyler Kennedy||-15.8||San Jose Sharks|
This list has 21 players due to a tie in 20th spot. There are some talented players on this list, but they struggled in a significant facet of their game in 2013/14.
Alex Edler had a very tough year in Vancouver. He leads this group. His adjusted +/- is worse in magnitude than the best rating (Matt Niskanen). That is very rare. The worst +/- performance usually is not given sufficient ice time to be as bad as the best players in the league. He is followed by Alex Ovechkin, who is clearly one of the best talents in the NHL. He also made few attempts to play defence and Washington allowed a lot more goals than they scored when he was on the ice at even strength. For Washington to succeed that trend must be turned around. It was a bad year to be named Alex, because the third worst player on this list is also an Alex in Dallas rookie Alex Chiasson.
Other bigger name players on this list are Jason Spezza, who is on the trading block because of his struggles. Former first overall pick Nail Yakupov has had some growing pains and may also be on the trading block. Seth Jones is another young player who is struggling in his jump to the NHL. American defencemen Dustin Byfuglien and Keith Yandle were left off the American Olympic Team because of their defensive struggles and adjusted +/- substantiates that. Dany Heatley was once a top scorer in the NHL, but those days have passed. Nicklas Backstrom is another skilled player on this list who suffered in part because he played with Alex Ovechkin.
I will take a further look at the top two players on this list in Alex Edler and Alex Ovechkin in future posts.
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