Today's conversation piece touches on a theme we've heard often with the Nashville Predators, but it really applies to just about every team in the NHL. Since the Preds always have acres of salary cap space available, speculation abounds as to what kind of player they might acquire if only the budget could be increased. Usually in Nashville, that takes the form of a proven goal-scoring winger, but for other teams it may be a stud goalie, or puck-moving defenseman.
Quite often, however, teams that make that flashy deal often find themselves regretting it shortly thereafter, as reality fails to live up to expectations.
My question today, then, is what kind of hockey players are the ones which usually don't live up to the hype? Follow after the jump as I toss out a few examples, and make your nomination in the comments...
You know the type - the guy who scores a ton of goals in the final year of his contract, hitting the free agent market as a hot commodity. Think Jason Blake in 2007, getting rewarded for his fluke 40-goal season with a 5-year, $20 million contract from Toronto. He's averaged under 20 goals per season since then.
Often, a team looking to achieve playoff success brings in a player with a championship pedigree, and if he's got a few game-winning overtime goals to his credit, that only adds to his aura. Case in point? Chris Drury and his 5-year, $35.25 million contract with the New York Rangers, for whom he has yet to tally 60 points in a season.
The Big Cannon
Teams love to build around a physical defenseman with a heavy shot, but on a bad team, even a decent blueliner can look horrible. Also in 2007, Sheldon Souray received a 5-year, $27 million contract from the Edmonton Oilers, and two of the three seasons since then have been absolute stinkers. Toss in his no trade clause, and that contract becomes a real boat anchor.
"Proven" goaltenders have traditionally enjoyed a healthy premium on the free agent market, at least until this summer. Just think of all the high-price goalies who have failed to deliver in recent years - Cristobal Huet (4 years, $22.5 million) in Chicago, Nikolai Khabibulin before him in Chicago (4 years, $27 million from 2005-2009), Khabibulin in Edmonton (4 years, $15 million last summer for an aging goalie with back trouble).
What gets your vote for the most overrated type of player in the NHL? One of the above? How about heavyweight goons, "agitators", or shutdown centers?
And perhaps even more interestingly, who looks to be the big bust from this summer's free agent market?
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