Saturday, October 23, 2010

My All-Overrated Team

Anything that is covered by the media will inevitably be hyped.  In sports especially, there is a tendency to judge a player based on a small sample size.  It is easy to say a player is very good after they have a good game, but it is the whole body of work that must determine a player.  Likewise, people often resort to memories of players who were once great but have since worn off (see: Brett Favre).  

In many if not most cases, these players are still good players.  They are just closer to average than the media makes them out to be.  We are tempted to believe that when a player plays out of the their mind, they are actually that good.  That is not always the case.  They are good players, but not great players.  And they are the focus of our All-Overrated team.

This is the team of players in the NHL who are the most overrated at their position.  There will also be a team who is the most overrated team in the league.  Enjoy, and feel free to comment if you disagree or have any to add!

Goalie: Roberto Luongo

Was there really a possibility it would be anyone else? While captivating fans and media with brilliantly inconsistent play, he somehow earned himself a 12 year, 64 million dollar contract he has no business earning.  Dubbed on Twitter as “LOLuongo” pretty well sums up how he plays.  Most of the time he is a completely average goalie, which is fine for the ‘tender of a good team.  He doesn’t need to save games, which is fortunate for Vancouver since he doesn’t 98% of the time.  The problem is more often he has one of his “LOLuongo” games that gives flashbacks of Evgeny Nabokov’s performance in the Russia versus Canada Olympic game that eliminated Russia.  Luongo almost single handedly gave away the Gold Medal game to the Americans.  He is not worth the money or praise that is showered upon him on a daily basis.

Honorable mention: Marc-Andre Fleury

Defense: Brent Seabrook

We continue our siege upon the Canadian Olympic team with Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook.  His 3.5 million dollar paycheck is a lot more representative of his skill level than his Olympic team membership does.  Unlike some of the other players on this list, Seabrook is not overpaid.  He is merely the victim of an overexcited media who can’t tell the difference between a good pairing and a good player.  There is no doubt he compliments Duncan Keith very well, but on his own he is as average as his cap hit indicates.  Brought along to the Canadian Olympic team to basically be Keith’s sidekick, he didn’t get much playing time once on the bench.  Keith is really the anchor of that pairing, and the Norris Trophy winner could make anyone look good.

Defense: Jay Bouwmeetser

Bouwmeester turned into one of the more noticeable disasters of the Sutters’ reign in Calgary.  His ridiculous Redden-like contract brings him in at a cap hit of 6.68 million a year on a team that refuses to pay a center that would actually be able to play with Jarome Iginla.  While he had solid numbers in Florida and is a great skater, he does not have a strong command of the puck.  He gives the puck away often.  When he went to free agency in 2009, Calgary jumped at the chance to sign him and got overexcited at the possibilities that never unfolded.  His offensive production has now waned, and he doesn’t have the defensive sensibility to back up his play.

Center: Jason Spezza

Ah, the curious case of Jason Spezza.  It seems these days Spezza’s name is only mentioned when people are talking about his latest injury or how he isn’t pulling his weight on an offensively shallow team like the Ottawa Senators.  He has never scored more that 34 goals in his career, yet is expected to ignite the Senators to victory on a nightly basis.  That kind of production is nowhere near worth the 7 mil cap hit or 8 mil salary that he comes with.  He is consistently talked about as one of the elite forwards in the league, but he has yet to prove that on a continuous basis.  The talk is constantly that Spezza is underperforming, when really he is performing to his ability. He just isn’t the player everyone thinks he is.

Left Wing: Chris Kunitz

This is genuinely not his fault.  Not that it’s ever the fault of the player when they are overrated, but he is not the player he is hyped up to be.  If he weren’t playing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, he would never even be noticed.  The Penguins have so much money tied up in center and goal that they have to skimp on wingers, Kunitz being one of them.  They can somewhat get away with this because they have two of the best centers in the world to feed them the puck, but on his own Kunitz is ineffective.  He hasn’t played very many games in the last three seasons either, which doesn’t help any case one would try to make in his favor.

Right Wing: Martin Havlat

Havlat had the best season of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks during 2008-2009.  It also happened to be the closest to a full season he ever played.  He went for a high price in free agency of 09, signing at 5 mil per year.  For a guy who’s career high in goals is 28.  He is talked about as an offensive threat for the Minnesota Wild, but has yet to back up that talk with numbers.  He is a good offensive player, but not one that should be counted on to create a significant portion of the offense for the defensively-centered Wild.

There is my current All-Overrated team.  Feel free to agree, disagree, suggest, or discuss in the comments below!

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