by PuckStopsHere on 01/04/14 at 07:46 PM ET
At the beginning of December, I picked Mike Weber of the Buffalo Sabres as the worst regular player in the league this year. He isn't a great defenceman but he had shown that he was good enough to eat some minutes without hurting you much. On a weak Buffalo team he was thrust over his head into a top four role and he struggled. He is too good a player to remain the absolute worst regular in a full NHL season. Given a new coach in Buffalo in Ted Nolan, Weber has had a chance to begin to turn things around. Weber has two assists now and his puck possession numbers like +/- and Corsi are not getting bad at the same rates.
I think the worst regular in the NHL this season has been Zac Rinaldo of the Philadelphia Flyers. He has played all 41 games for the Flyers this season. Despite dressing for every game, Rinaldo does not get a regular shift. He averages seven and a half minutes a game and usually against weak opposition and in non-critical points of the game. He has managed to post one assist in that time and has a team worst -13 +/- rating. Rinaldo stays in the lineup because he is a goon. He will fight. His 92 penalty minutes is fifth highest in the NHL. Rinaldo is a typical choice for the worst regular in the NHL. He is a goon with very limited hockey skills. He dresses regularly but is protected from ever being in a tough situation. Despite that, he doesn't score and the opposition does when he is on the ice. Players like this do nothing to help their team win. The Philadelphia Flyers dress him anyway.
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