Last year, SI.com produced a poll of the most overrated players in the NHL based on responses from 161 NHL players. However, when looking at this it looks more like a list of the top overpaid players, not overrated.
An overrated player is not just someone who is failing to live up to the standards of his contract. An example of such player would be Scott Gomez. Gomez was third on the third most overrated player in the SI.com poll. At the time Gomez signed his ridiculous seven year $51,500,000 deal with the New York Rangers one could argue that he was clearly overrated. But now five years into the deal, does anyone really think Gomez is overrated?
To be overrated a player must be thought of having more value than he actually does. Surely a player’s salary has something to do with it since in essence that is what determines value. But salary should really only be considered when a player signs the deal. For example, Jordan Staal signed a six year $60 million dollar deal with the Carolina Hurricanes this offseason. General consensus in the main stream media is that the deal was appropriate for Staal. However, if you thought that the Hurricanes steeply overpaid, then you would think that he is overrated.
Hopefully my discussion on how I am defining an overrated player did not make this too confusing, as understanding this concept is the basis for this article.
***The following players are in no particular order***
Martin Brodeur – Although he is clearly past his prime there is still a love fest going on in the hockey world with Brodeur. Surely he was one of the best goalies of all time, but he hasn’t been good the past two years and the New Jersey Devils made it to the Stanley Cup finals in spite of him last year, not because of him. He would have been wise to retire on a high note as ending your career playing in the Stanley Cup final would be a great ending to a storied career. Unfortunately, he re-upped with the Devils for two more seasons and I’m afraid he is going to get embarrassed as the decline is rapid among aging goaltenders; see Dwayne Roloson.
Jordan Eberle – Tyler Delow at mc79hockey.com has written countless articles analyzing Eberle and does as good a job as anyone explaining why he is overrated. The crux of his argument is that Eberle just signed a deal that is going to pay him as a 70+ point player, but his possession metrics and shooting percentage suggest that he is going to regress and is more likely a 50-60 point player going forward. I happen to agree with his assessment.
Ryan Miller – Miller is often considered among the elite goalies in the NHL and other than a very good performance in the 2010 Olympics, he has not proven to be anything other than an average goalie. In the last seven seasons since the lockout he has only cracked the top five in save percentage and goals against average once and the top ten only twice. He has often been in the 15-25 range in those categories and as many Sabres fans often point out, he has not won a playoff series in the last five years.
Rick Nash – Many people consider Rick Nash to be among the top players in the league, but in reality he has only hit the 70 point mark once in his nine NHL seasons. One only has to look at the trade market for Nash to see that he is not as desirable as many people think. Nash was openly on the trade market since February and there were plenty of media reports suggesting that teams were backing out because the asking price was too high. At the end of the day Columbus received two bottom six forwards, a mid-level prospect and a draft pick for their captain. If teams thought that was too high, then what does that say about Nash?
Ryan Suter – Suter signed a huge deal with the Minnesota Wild this off-season, but will he be able to live up to the hype? Suter made his career playing with Shea Weber and it will be interesting to see if he can be the same player without Weber on the blue line beside him. This is an instance where I think the player was overpaid and that qualifies him as being overrated because I think the Wild will come to regret this deal in the near future.
Marc Staal – The way people in the media talk about Staal you would think he is an elite level defenseman, but his stats tell us otherwise. Stall has had a negative CORSI relative for the past three years and has been among the worst on his team in that stat. Prior to this season, Staal was paired with Dan Girardi and formed the Rangers shut down pair. In those two seasons, Girardi was also among the worst CORSI relative on the Rangers. Now both players had the tough assignments going head to head with the other team’s top line and starting many shifts in the defensive zone. However, this past season Girardi was paired with Ryan McDonagh as Staal missed a chunk of games at the beginning of the year. Girardi and McDonagh were the top two defensemen on the Rangers in terms of CORSI relative and Girardi was an NHL all-star for the first time in his career, whereas Staal had the worst CORSI relative rating on the team. What is even more troubling is that Staal was no longer going head to head with the opposing teams top players and his offensive zone start percentage was above 50%.
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