by PuckStopsHere on 01/11/10 at 08:07 PM ET
In December, I picked Kyle Chipchura of the Anaheim Ducks as the player who had been the worst regular so far this season. He has played himself out of that dishonor by scoring 3 goals since that point.
So far this season, we have seen competition for the worst regular in the league. Vesa Toskala of Toronto was the early season pick. He has improved his game somewhat since that low point. Brad Richardson of the Los Angeles Kings came next. But in time he started scoring. Next up was Andrew Peters of the New Jersey Devils. Peters lost the spot by losing his status as a regular. He has only played three games since December 2nd. Next I made my selection of Kyle Chipchura.
It is hard to remain the worst regular in the NHL for a long period of time. Any player in that position is liable to lose his job. Any player given the opportunity to play poorly and remain a regular in a lineup likely has proven in the past he is a better NHL player and is likely to improve to closer to his previously established levels if given further playing time. No player has been able to stay in the lineup as the worst regular in the league and not improve his game so far this season.
My newest selection for this dishonor is Donald Brashear of the New York Rangers. Brashear has one assist to show for his 33 games played. He is only played a little over six minutes a game and against weak competition, but has managed a -8 +/- rating. This is one of the worst on the Rangers. It is the worst on the team when adjusted as a rate stat. Donald Brashear is no longer a valuable NHL player. The New York Rangers made a poor decision signing him to a two year contract last summer worth $1.4 million per year. That is a steep price for the liability he is on the ice.
Donald Brashear was once one of the more talented goons in the NHL. He had a career best 28 points scored in 2000/2001 as a Vancouver Canuck and at that time was quite valuable. Those days have long passed. At age 38, Brashear is no longer a viable NHL player. The New York Rangers made a mistake to sign him. They have him for one more season. Since he is over 35 when he signed his contract, they cannot send him to the minors to get cap relief if they want to get rid of him. That doesn’t mean there are not plenty of ways out of his contract. The Rangers can convince him to retire (as Markus Naslund did this year) or find a taker for Brashear in a European league. The over 35 years old restrictions on contracts have proven relatively easy to work around. I would not be surprised to see the Rangers not playing or paying Brashear next year (at least according to the salary cap). He is no longer worthy of an NHL job. At his age it is unlikely that much upside remains in terms of improved play in the future. It is time for the Rangers to admit their mistake in signing Donald Brashear and move on.
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