After running down the top 10 NHL bargains last week, we’d be remiss if we neglected to make note of the league’s most overpaid players. So that’s the focus of this week’s THN Top 10.
(Please note: All figures are cap hits, not actual salaries and we’re only using one player per team - because, with it being the Holiday season, we’re in a charitable mood. Plus, we’re only counting players who have been healthy – dressed or not – for at least 20 games.)
10. Jason Blake, Left Wing, Toronto – $4 million
Blake drives Leafs fans nuts with a style that keeps him away from the tough areas to play and his propensity to take too many shots from too far away. He’s cruising along with a 5.9 shooting percentage, five goals and 16 points.
9. Maxim Afinogenov, Right Wing, Buffalo – $3.33 million
Afinogenov is similar to Blake in that his play is maddening. After looking like a post-lockout prototype player, his play has tailed-off steadily. He has one goal and 10 points, a 1.8 shooting percentage and has been a healthy scratch this season.
8. Ryan Malone, Left Wing, Tampa Bay – $4.5 million
Malone has been hurt, but seven goals and 12 points isn’t what the Lightning was hoping for when it signed him to a seven-year, $31.5-million contract. Considered a burgeoning power forward after two 20-goal seasons in Pittsburgh, Malone will have to get hot to reach that plateau again.
7. Scott Hannan, Defense, Colorado – $4.5 million
Hannan is just 29-years-old and coming off five 20-plus point seasons, but has recorded just two points in 30 games this season. Most telling of the drop-off in his play, he has just four penalty minutes, not what’s expected from a guy known best as a shutdown, physical blueliner.
6. Eric Brewer, Defense, St. Louis – $4.25 million
Brewer was once a Canadian Olympian and considered a cornerstone on the Canuck blueline for years to come. Now his name isn’t even raised in such conversations. He’s still playing more than 25 minutes a game, but has just one goal and six points to show for it. He’s also minus-14, tied for fifth-last in the league.
5. Brad Richards, Center, Dallas – $7.8 million
Richards’ six goals and 22 points tie him for second on the Stars’ scoring list. But only Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby count for more against the cap than Richards this season, meaning you’ve got to bring more to the table than 22 points and some intangibles.
4. Mike Fisher, Center, Ottawa – $4.2 million
Fisher beat Jason Spezza for the title of most overpriced Senator because, after three seasons of 20-plus goals, he was expected to develop into a second-line center who could take some of the offensive heat off Ottawa’s big three. Instead, he has floundered. Fisher has just three goals, nine points and is a minus-6 in 25 games, scoring on just 4.6 percent of his shots.
3. Erik Cole, Left Wing, Edmonton – $4 million
Cole is probably the most disappointing off-season acquisition of the year. He has been healthy, which is always the main concern with him, but has just three goals and eight points in Edmonton’s 29 games thus far. Lately he’s been spending as much time on checking lines as scoring lines.
2. Chris Drury, Center, Rangers – $7.05 million
Team captains are normally offensive catalysts. And that’s what the Rangers thought Drury would be when they signed him to a five-year, $35.25-million deal. But Drury failed to crack the 30-goal mark last season and is on pace for the worst points total of his NHL career.
1. Ed Jovanovski, Defense, Phoenix – $6.5 million
Two goals and 15 points through 31 games is not horrendous for a blueliner. But Jovo-Cop has lost his status as the desert’s best defenseman to Zbynek Michalek, who makes $5.25-million less. Jovanovski’s team-worst minus-12 rating is tied for 746th in the league, out of 759 players.
Once again, thanks to nhlscap.com for the salary figures.
The THN.com Top 10 will return Dec. 24.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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