Overachievers and Underachievers In Today's NHL
Here is the final edition for 2001-02, covering the entire year. My list of everyone who deserves more attention and those who have more in common with what stinks (literally) currently in Toronto…anyhow, this is my list: again, feel free to comment and/or provide your own.
(World Issues Page Announcement inside)Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Overachiever: D Keith E. Carney: Get this: +14. ON THE DUCKS. Never thought that would happen.
Underachiever: D Jason York: Defensive “expert” was a horrible -11. Let’s just say this signing didn’t work out.
Overachiever: RW Ilja Kovalchuk: If it wasn’t for that injury, he would have had 35 goals and the Calder for sure.
Underachiever: G Damian Rhodes: Three years of not caring and poor play leads to a banishment where he has only himself to blame for.
Overachiever: LW Glen Murray: Rediscovered his work ethic and scoring touch in Boston.
Underachiever: D Kyle McLaren: Got too carried away vs. Richard Zednik and the Montreal Canadiens and it cost the entire team. A stain on what should be a marvelous career.
Overachiever: C Stu Barnes: Worked himself nicely as the Sabres’ bona fide captain.
Underachiever: RW Vyacheslav Kozlov: Atlantans had better get used to his whining, the only thing he effectively did all year in Buffalo.
Overachiever: RW Jarome Iginla: The brightest of the few bright spots in Calgary.
Underachiever: C Marc Savard: Obviously enrolled in the “Vyacheslav Kozlov Course on Whining” because he too could only complain.
Overachiever: C Ron Francis: How many 39-year-olds do you know that can play like they’re 21? Could he catch Gordie Howe? Maybe…
Underachiever: D Glen Wesley: 2 points, 22 playoff games. May not be the reason why Carolina didn’t win, but sure contributed: he’s capable of much more.
Overachiever: LW Eric Daze: Managed to get 37 goals and became the offensive force Tony Amonte wasn’t. May still be one-year wonder, though.
Underachiever: RW Ryan VandenBussche: Recorded a team-low -10. Obviously forgot the Blackhawks improved.
Overachiever: G Patrick Roy: Posted a career high 1.94 G.AA and should only make it better. A pleasingly scary thought if you ask me.
Underachiever: LW Milan Hejduk: Suffered massive third-year slump with goals dipping by a little more than half from 2000-01’s 41 to this year’s 21.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Overachiever: D Rostislav Klesla: Definitely the Jackets’ future franchise player.
Underachiever: D Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre: two goals, eight points, -28, in 80 games is just offensive.
Overachiever: G Marty Turco: Played Eddie Belfour to expendability.
Underachiever: G Eddie Belfour: The only thing he can capably do on a consistent basis is get mad. Just ask the Vancouver Canucks about that one.
Detroit Red Wings
Overachiever: C Pavel Datsyuk: Most surprising of the many gems on the Red Wings.
Underachiever: LW Tomas Holmstrom: Getting a -13 on Detroit is just wrong.
Overachiever: C Mike Comrie: Continued his amazing ascent with a 30-goal season. Impressive.
Underachiever: LW Mike Grier: Offensive production dipped from 20 goals to eight. Needs to pick up slack if Oil want to make 2003 playoffs.
Overachiever: RW Kristian Huselius: Team leader in goals (even with Pavel Bure’s goals factored in) and one of the rare bright lights in Florida.
Underachiever: C Olli Jokinen: Here’s the deal: he’s really talented but just doesn’t use them properly. Sorry, that’s just a poor excuse: Florida fans deserve better.
Los Angeles Kings
Overachiever: D Jaroslav Modry: Developed into a nice offensive defenceman with a 42-point output.
Underachiever: LW Nelson Emerson: Injuries and sup-par play when he did play ultimately led to his departure.
Overachiever: LW Pascal Dupuis: 15 goals in 75 games for impressive rookie campaign.
Underachiever: LW Aaron Gavey: Let go after play slipped tp six goals and -21.
Overachiever: C Saku Koivu: Just seeing his presence on the ice is enough to land on this list.
Underachiever: D Stephane Robidas: Ineffective against Carolina and posted team worst -25.
Overachiever: RW Scott Hartnell: Impressed by debuting with 14 goals and 41 points in 75 games.
Underachiever: C David Legwand: Slumped badly in second half with only three goals after an eight goal first half.
New Jersey Devils
Overachiever: G Martin Brodeur: Was reborn after leading Team Canada to Olympic gold.
Underachiever: C Scott Gomez: Still hasn’t found a way to rediscover his rookie scoring touch.
New York Islanders
Overachiever: C Shawn Bates: No one saw his 52-point season coming. Bruin fans are wondering why he couldn’t do this in Boston.
Underachiever: LW Oleg Kvasha: Islander fans want more than just 13 goals and heartless play, Oleg.
New York Rangers
Overachiever: G Dan Blackburn: 18-year-old came into the National Hockey League cold adjusted himself nicely as the Rangers’ back-up. Future starter? You bet.
Underachiever: LW Thereon Fleury: Cried more often than a soap opera.
Overachiever: RW Daniel Alfredsson: Filled in admirably for Alexei Yashin with a career-high 37 goals.
Underachiever: LW Shawn McEachern: Banished to Atlanta after a measly two points against Toronto and slipping production to only 15 goals.
Overachiever: RW Simon Gagne: Star continues to rise after 33-goal season.
Underachiever: C Keith Primeau: Flyer fans would want nothing more to get rid of this dud and get a real captain.
Overachiever: C Daniel Briere: Production almost tripled over last year from 11 goals to 32.
Underachiever: G Robert Esche: Sub-.500 play led to steal from Flyers for Brian Boucher.
Overachiever: D Michal Rozsival: Proved to be a reliable offensive defender with 29 points in 79 games.
Underachiever: G Johan Hedberg: Slipped to 2.76 G.AA this year: was last year’s playoffs a fluke?
San Jose Sharks
Overachiever: D Jeff Jillson: Impressive rookie became steady regular as season progressed.
Underachiever: RW Teemu Selanne: Everybody knows he can do better than 29 goals.
St. Louis Blues
Overachiever: D Al MacInnis: Can still play at high level even with 20 years under his belt.
Underachiever: C Doug Weight: It’s pretty safe to say that the Blues didn’t sign him to only score 15 goals and 49 points in 61 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Overachiever: RW Brad Richards: Super soph continues rise leading team with 61 points.
Underachiever: C Vincent Lecavalier: The only thing he did consistently last season was not be consistent.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Overachiever: C Darcy Tucker: Managed to sneak past Alexander Mogilny for second in Leafs scoring.
Underachiever: D Anders Eriksson: Part of a new Leaf specialty: acquisitions that blow up in their faces.
Overachiever: LW Todd Bertuzzi: Broke out as a key “power” forward with an 85-point season in 72 games.
Underachiever: C Daniel Sedin: Slipped from 20 goals as a rookie to nine as a sophmore. Will be under the microscope next year.
Overachiever: D Sergei Gonchar: About the only thing that went right in a season the Capitals would rather forget.
Underachiever: RW Jaromir Jagr: Yeah, he led the team in scoring but he often played like he was uninspired and the Caps seemed to follow suit too.
That’s my list for 2001-02. Feel free to comment and/or provide your own.