by PuckStopsHere on 08/30/12 at 08:12 PM ET
Before the Kukla's Korner upgrade I have been posting about the leaders in the era since the last (2004/05) lockout that is likely coming to an end with the end of the CBA and a new lockout. I posted the leaders in goals, assists, points, and +/- ratings. Today I will look at a less successful group of players. These are the players with the worst +/- rating since the 2004/05 lockout.
Many of these players did not play the entire time period. When you are doing this badly in your puck possession numbers something is likely wrong and you tend not to get more playing time. It is alarming how few games played some of our leaders have.
Here are the worst 20 players by +/- rating since 2005:
For the most part these are poor players who played on weaker teams. The few players who we think of as having all star ability played on weaker teams for most of the time period. The best two examples of this are Ilya Kovalchuk in Atlanta/New Jersey and Brad Richards in Tampa Bay/Dallas/NY Rangers. These players played on multiple teams in the time period. Players who have +/- problems are more likely to be traded. while the majority of the top 20 +/- rating list played for only one team, only Shawn Horcoff (Edmonton) and Cam Fowler (Anaheim) played for only one team. Fowler played only two seasons in this time period, which helps explain why he only played with one team, but makes his appearance here remarkable given his lack of games played.
Fowler is not the player on this list with the fewest games played. Bryan Berard played only 109 games in three seasons with Columbus and the New York Islanders. He was a defensive liability given his eye problems and the fact he was never a defensive stalwart before the problems began. He played almost 50 games fewer than Fowler.
The worst +/- on this list is Jack Johnson. He has had defensive issues for years and now that he is in Columbus on possibly the worst team in the league they should get even worse. Johnson is worst on this list despite making his NHL debut in the second year of the CBA (and only playing five games that year). He wasn't an NHL regular until 2007/08.
Jay McClement is the worst player by +/- who was in the NHL for the entire time period. He plays a tough defensive role and has always had a significant number of defensive zone starts. I argue that his ranking is more due to the role he plays than his failure - though a stronger player or a player on a stronger team who plays the same role would have a better +/- rating.
This list of worst players by +/- rating under the last CBA is a list of hapless players. They played on poor teams and had poor puck possession numbers. They were outscored significantly when they were on the ice. In some cases their poor ranking shows they are a liability but it is largely because they also played on a poor team. It is impossible to make this list on a perennial playoff contender.
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