5 Most Overrated Players in the NHL for 2014-15

Have an opposing opinion? Feel free to discuss in the comments below!

As August wraps up and we near September, we not only begin to turn the corner into the last few precious weeks of Summer, but we also begin to see the first signs of NHL hockey returning for the 2014-15 season. Training camps open in about 20 days or so and preseason will kick off on September 21st. With that in mind, fantasy drafts will start to commence in around a month’s time. Looking at NHL.com’s Fantasy Hockey, Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen have compiled a well thought out list of the top 200 fantasy players. One thing they have in common is the 1, 2, 3 order of Sidney Crosby followed by Steven Stamkos and then Corey Perry.

Overrated NHL Players from NHL.com Top 200

Without any bias whatsoever, I’ve gone through each of Cubeta and Jensen’s Top 200 multiple times to determine 5 players which are highly thought of by both the authors, but in terms of helping their teams win, are not worth the risk through an entire 82-game season, otherwise known as being overrated. I’ve not only looked at the matter of total points and production, but also into deeper aspects of their game. The players defensive ability, goals for %, tendency to take penalties, etc..The following 5 players are ones that are highly touted in all fantasy leagues as well as by teams in the NHL, but with their high reward comes high risk. One thing to remember, you have to be great, to be criticized.

#5: Ryan Kesler

(Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Ryan Kesler has been declining the past few seasons and should not be expected to led any team in points anymore.

Although he isn’t looked at as one of the best, he is still highly touted, as showcased at this year’s Entry Draft, where as many as 10 teams had interest in throwing away part of their future for him. He is ranked 76th and 51st by NHL.com and rated 90 overall in NHL15, tied for 24th best. He had a great year in 2010-11, but that was a one-night stand. In the two full seasons since, he had 49 and 43 points, extremely average numbers. He piled up 81 PIM last year and at times, seemed uninterested in the team around him. He managed a -15 rating in 2013-14 and in all, has seemed to be on a steady decline over the past 4 seasons. Definitely not a player I would risk to have as one of the leading scorers on my team.

#4: Phil Kessel

His production has become what the Leafs had expected now, but that’s really all you can expect from Kessel. Phil is ranked 13th and 21st on NHL.com and rated 90 overall in NHL15. Outside of points, which I understand is important, he doesn’t do much of anything really. He is a combined -45 since joining Toronto. He has literally no physical side to his game, with a whopping 25 hits last season, Phil has proven that he will do whatever it takes to escape physicality. See, Scott, John incident. He likely doesn’t know the meaning of defence, that or he missed the practice as a 6 year old. He managed 88 giveaways last year, most of them likely while running away from a hit. His possession is downright bad, with a Fenwick For% at 0.433, 0.447, 0.478, and 0.464 over the last 4 years. Simply put, he can score… well that’s the only thing he can do. At times he seems like he could hurt the team more than he can help it. Result, he is definitely overrated.

#3: P.K. Subban

(Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

P.K. Subban has become prone to deadly giveaways at the wrong time, hurting his team on many occasions.

Although he won the Norris Trophy just 2 years ago, even his GM and coach have often criticized his defensive play and have hardly trusted him in key, last minute situation. Subban is ranked 16th and 11th on nhl.com and 24th in NHL15 at 90 overall. Besides his exceptional offensive numbers for a defenceman, he is usually a liability in his own end. With 83 giveaways last year, you’d be correct to assume a lot of those end up in the back of his net. Also, in 2 of the past 3 full seasons, he has surpassed the 100 PIM plateau, hitting 124 and 119. His possession his average at 0.499 last year, but those are not numbers you expect from a ‘franchise player’. He did have 204 shots, but with a lousy 4.9 shooting%, you have to wonder if he thinks when to take a shot, or is always just firing on all cylinders. To me, I can’t trust how much he could backfire defensively.

#2: Alex Ovechkin

It’s hard to go against someone who has hit the 50-goal plateau in the NHL 5 times, but only once has that happened in the past 4 years. Ovi was ranked 5th and 9th on nhl.com, and tied for 2nd on NHL15 at 93 overall. Still an exceptional player, but point totals are seemingly decreasing and with an extremely defensive coach, Barry Trotz, coming in this season it would be a surprise to see something different. Besides goals, there isn’t much else to the ‘Great Eight’s game. He is usually no where to be seen in his own end, and compiled a ridiculous -35 rating last season. His possession numbers are terrible as well, with a Fenwick For % of 0.478, 0.487, and 0.476 in the past 3 years. Also, more than half of his total points are scored on the powerplay, while his 5on5 numbers are not great at all. So, while Ovechkin has an amazing shot, there isn’t much else to look at here. A superstar has to be great at all parts of the game, Ovi is not, but he is overrated. Check out his back check here, where he decides he doesn’t know how to move his legs, great gliding though.

#1: Pavel Datsyuk

Rated 22nd and 24th by the nhl.com authors, and also tied for the 2nd highest rating in NHL15 at 93 overall, the dangler is highly regarded by most around the league. The problem is, everyone is simply mesmerized by his slick moves and his famous ‘Datsyukian Dekes‘. What fans seem to always miss is what’s behind the dazzle. His points per game last season was just 0.822, still a good number, but not enough to be considered among Joe Pavelski, Patrick Sharp, and even Taylor Hall. Besides being behind on simply total points, Datsyuk is also one of the more ‘soft’ players in a league which is always getting bigger and stronger. Lastly, he is 36 years old. A body can only hold up and produce for so long in this tough of a job, so expecting him to perform above Taylor Hall, as is projected on nhl.com, seems a bit of a long shot. As a result he wins the award for Most Overrated Players for 2014-15.

Have a opposing opinion on this? Feel free to discuss in the comments below!

Devin Slawson

Devin Slawson

Contributor for the Minnesota Wild at thehockeywriters.com. Also worked for the Brampton Beast of the CHL. For questions, concerns, or comments, contact me at devinslawson123@hotmail.com or on twitter @NHLDraftInsider.
Devin Slawson
Rangers Go Wild In Minnesota Meltdown http://t.co/qYA2qXg1S9 - 3 days ago

59 Comments

  1. Hockeyfan 247 says:

    But seriousley Kessler was right

  2. Hockeyfan 247 says:

    This is all bull crap kessel was rated 3rd place in points for almost the hole season untill he got injured. Also datsyuk can dangle snipe and Cellie. Also O.V he is an amazing player who scores Washington lots of points hes almost as good as crosby. Then suban, suban is one of the best defence out there if u think chara is good then u should think subbans good the only difference is subbans smaller although suban is like a brick wall. Now, I love toronto maple leafs but honostly u should have put down doin phenuf he is very over rated and sucks kessel or lupul or J.V.R should b captain

  3. Anyone who says Datsyuk is overrated is an idiot. Period. I am a Canadian hockey fan and he is as good as Sakic or Yzerman. Yup that’s a 40 year long hockey fan saying that. SHUT UP punk. You’re a fool. Seriously shut up.

  4. Well, I guess CLICKBAIT MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

    You got a lot of people to bite, so bravo, I hope the $.03 per click ads compensate for appearing like an idiot.

    On Kessel:

    “Outside of points, which I understand is important, he doesn’t do much of anything really.”

    Gold!
    Then why not follow it up with an argument based on hits and Plus/Minus, two stats that are near meaningless.

    On Subban:
    “Besides his exceptional offensive numbers for a defenceman, he is usually a liability in his own end.”

    This is a bullshit conventional wisdom meme that is entirely unfounded in reality. You are entitled to your opinion but it is a bad one.

    On Ovechkin:
    Maurice Richard Trophy this year. Richard and Hart trophy last year. Useless!

    On Datsyuk

    “His points per game last season was just 0.822″

    Stop, you are killing me. And after taking down Kessel for doing nothing but score points, you ignore all of the great shit that Datsyuk does while still scoring over .8 ppg.

    Kesler is a bit of a different case. While still effective, there is no doubt he has slowed down the last few years. But he has never been in the category of these other guys who are all clear Top 5 at their position players.

    It is very difficult for players who are top 5 at their position to be overrated.

    Just a monumentally stupid piece

  5. Some of these arguments against Datsyuk being over-rated are stupid. What does his draft position and his career have to do with anything? Don’t bring up stuff that is over 5 years old in defense of an opinion that is based on today. Datsyuk is over-rated, especially by Red Wings fans. Every year they think they’re cup contenders because Datsyuk is in their line-up. Every year they end up being very wrong.

    And his injuries are a part of his being over-rated. Not a defense for him. He’s 36 and is going downhill. Yet, as I said, he’s still thought of as better than an entire litany of hockey players. When he really is not better than any of them, as we speak.

    The Red Wings have a pair of the top 20-40 best players in the NHL. For some, that designation is just not good enough.

  6. BigRedJonson says:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but FACTS and STATS certainly do not support the author’s opinion. Alex Ovechkin was the ONLY 50 goal-scorer in the NHL in 2013-14 (51G, 28A, 79PTS), yet he is #2 on the list. Furthermore, the author omitted the player who is CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY the “Most Overrated Player in the NHL”, the Rangers’ Rick Nash. In 2013-14 Nash was the 11th-highest paid player in the NHL, but finished 159th in scoring. Nash (26G, 13A, 39PTS) scored about HALF as many goals and HALF as many points as Ovechkin; yet Ovechkin is on the list and Nash is not?

  7. Eric Alessandri says:

    Putting Datsyuk at #1 overrated is about as dumb a hockey evaluation as I have seen in a long time. Maybe #1 underrated. His overall game (playmaking, transition, passing, fore checking, back checking, takeaways) may be the best in the league. Despite not being healthy last year, he was still a factor when he was on the ice. He would have made the perfect Scotty Bowman mid-70 player.

  8. I can’t stand the Red Wings – but even an avowed Wings hater like myself would tell you that Pavel Datsyuk has been one of the most talented and consistently good players in the nhl for over 10 years. For a 6th round draft pick or whatever (7th?) I’d say he came in well above his original value. Want overrated? How about Ryan Miller?

  9. Did I miss something? Fenwick, giveaways, and shooting percentage are completely irrelevant in fantasy leagues. You want PIM’s, seems like you deem it a negative. Its part of what what makes Subban so coveted in fantasy. RW position is relatively thin so Kessel and Ovi are solid picks, and the latter puts up a ton of shots. Almost every comment has nothing to do with fantasy points. Take a nap everybody, fail all around

    • Indeed, it seems the author, and some other, lost sight that this list was strickly for Fantasy Hockey. They even have the categories mentioned just above the list (hint: PIM’s one of them!)

  10. Datsyuk is far from soft!! thehockeywriters.com is definitely the softest hockey site there is!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmvlPVnXOAs

  11. Cindy Crosby should be on this list.

  12. Datysuk # 1 overrated? Is there something wrong with you? He’s been injured the last two years & to call him soft is ridiculous. He’s the hardest hitter on the Wings and hardest to take off the puck in the NHL. Yes I agree he’s getting old and he’s not the same Datsyuk from 2008 .

    Datsyuk won a cup as a rookie & won a cup 6 years later as one of the leaders of the franchise. Pavelski & Hall can have better stats all day I’ll stick to players who have rings.

  13. Ranger fan here. I nominate Rick Nash.

  14. Don’t agree with the first or second those Russian player can play if you put them on and tea together it would be pretty awesome .

  15. Datsyuk soft? He’s not going to Kromwell anybody but he’s been among the hit leaders in the playoffs a few times including 2008 when he was the league leader in that year’s playoffs. A hit doesn’t need to be bone crushing and highlight worthy to be effective. Moreover, a player like Datsyuk is effective by just being on the ice because he’s effective in so many areas and always a threat to create offensively or disrupt defensively. Maybe his video game rating is overrated, but to put him at the top of the overrated list? wow

  16. Parise's Brother says:

    the author writes for the Wild, although, forgot to mention Zach Parise and Suter… two of the top paid players on the WILD.

  17. Kessel? All he does is put up points. I agree. He is not expected to hit or block shots. He is not expected to fight. He is being paid to put up points. He pus up points. He meets his expectations, and is thus not overvalued.

  18. Justin Miller says:

    I think the concern with Datsyuk should be age, but it’s a sad cliche that someone would call him “soft”. He’s not a physical player, but I’m not sure the hardest guy to knock off the puck in the league could ever be “soft”. And no, not at all a Red Wings fan.

    I agree for the most part for Kessel and definitely Kesler. He has a never-ending “superstar” label just because he was a nice complimentary piece behind the Sedins for a couple years. He was beyond useless in the Olympics, which apparently he actually cared about last year unlike his NHL team.

    I’m a Bruins fan, so I have to hate Subban. I respect his skill but I think plenty of people, at this point, recognize he’s not the Bobby Orr Habs fans want him to be. His market value is ridiculously high as an FA, but most knowledgable fans acknowledge his shortcomings at this point.

    My list would be something like:

    Kessel
    Chara (I loved the guy up until a year or two ago…he’s on a very heavy decline that most of my fellow fanbase refuses to admit out of “pride” or something)
    Kesler
    Luongo? (for all those people that no matter the results over the past like…4 years…still claim he’s a “superstar”)
    Iginla (I’ve never seen a luckier 30 goal scorer than Iginla was last season…sure, he’s got a history of scoring and you “make your own luck”, but I think his suddenly weak shot turned out to benefit him…either he’s going to be a great vet with the Avs or he’s going to get buried and forgotten about behind superior young talent in Landeskog and Duchene.)

  19. I was on board with everyone until you said Datsyuk. Silly silly author.

  20. Datsyuk is the league’s top defensive forward consistently on a yearly basis, not to mention his playmaking and scoring. Can’t think of a team that would’t want him on their squad, even at age 36. What a stupid article!

  21. Ovi is the most accomplished goal scorer of his era. Overrated? That’s sheer nonsense. But this guy’s anti-Russian bias becomes clear when you see who his number one is.

  22. Crosby, Crosby, Crosby, Crosby and Crosby.

  23. Datsyuk is overrated. Is he top 5 overrated? Not even close

  24. Dionisio Hernandez says:

    Devin, put down the crack pipe! Datsyuk? Really!

  25. This author is such a troll.

  26. From what I could see, the issues with each player are applicable to “real life” hockey but not to fantasy at all. For example, the fact that Kessel doesn’t like contact is irrelevant to fantasy hockey, which for the most part also doesn’t count “giveaways” regardless of the reason — this also applies to P.K Subban.

    If penalty minutes are a counting stat — & they are, in standard Yahoo leagues — then PK’s are a bonus, not a problem. So, in the end, the only effect these have on fantasy is if they take the player off the ice, & for these 5 players I don’t see that happening this year. I wouldn’t have a problem with Kessel as a low-end first-rounder for my fantasy team, & I’m not sure why anyone would. IMO, from a *fantasy* standpoint, the only player on this list I would not likely draft is Ryan Kesler.

    & of course, if you have a top 5 pick, & you pass on Ovie, I hope you have a good reason.

    • I went back & read what you wrote about Datsyuk. All I can say is the same as everyone else who has commented … someone’s smokin’ crack, & it’s not me.

      He doesn’t belong on this list, & I think even the author knows that.

  27. DATSYUK???? Maybe the greatest player in the game. Best two way player, as him and Zetterberg are always up for Selke. The guy even said you need to be a complete player in Subbans section. And soft? He may not hit much but have you ever seen him get knocked down? I had respect for this list until Datsyuk. If you ask players in the game, then 90% of them will say Datsyuk is the best in the game. This guy is either an Aves fan or an idiot.

  28. Please focus on a sport you actually watch and are knowledgeable on next time, not just stats from a spreadsheet. Putting Datsyuk #1 is the equivalent of putting Martin Brodeur down as the worst goalie in NHL history because he had the most loses(and wins) ever.

  29. Bromoslatski says:

    Richard, as a Flyer fan it is easy for me to hate Crosby, but he must be given his due. He is simply the best player in hockey and has been for some time, in spite of injuries. If you believe he’s a defensive liability, then you haven’t paid much attention to him when he’s on the ice. One can argue whether or not he’s the best player in the game, but few would argue that he can’t deliver a perfect shot to the balls from behind.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wqR17KrLKw

  30. You know, I might put Datsyuk on this list too if I had just smoked crack

  31. 2 Americans, 2 Russians, the most hated Canadian player in the sport today. Was this list created by Don Cherry?

  32. I have issue with your dismissive approach to Ovechkin’s scoring numbers. You write off hiw 50+ goal season because he’s only had 1 in the last 4 seasons. There have only been 4 50+ goal seasons in the past 4 seasons. If you adjust the 2013 numbers to 82 game equivalents, Ovi scores 55 and Stamkos scored 49.5 (let’s round it to 50).

    So in other words he has either 1 out of 4 or 2 out of 6 over a 4-year period. For all the criticisms of him (some founded, some unfounded), one thing you shouldn’t do is be dismissive of his goal scoring numbers, because they are elite.

  33. You have Datsuyk as number 1 overall overrated? Uhhh…….

  34. Wow you left off BAMBI Rick Nash…? if not the most overrated then the laziest player I have seen. Ovie plays like “well I score when I feel like it and I leave to Russia when I want for same or more money… who cares…” . Mark Staal (I am a Rangers diehard) Bambi nr. 2… shut down? plays with an edge? hello… the guys works to avoid human contact and interaction.

  35. List was so good until datsyuk. Then it became a joke.

  36. Conspiracy Theory: All 5 players have “K” sounds in their name!

    Also to Crosby haters – he has the 4th highest PPG over his career in the history of the league.

    That’s not nothing.

    -A Flyers Fan.

  37. lol, crosby is terrible in his own end and backchecking too
    there’s a reason he worked so hard on winning faceoffs
    more offence, not better defence

  38. I am guessing that Datsyuk knocked the Wild out of playoff contention/playoffs one year. That is about the only reason I can see for him being on this list.

  39. Phil Kessel over rated…ALL DAY LONG…great article and very accurate…why doesn’t anyone else say this and more often. I hope Brendan sees this guys coasting on the back-check and does something about it.

  40. Hmmm… Subban getting shitted on again by guys who don’t look at context. He was usually moored to the lousiest defenceman in the league (Murray) or close to it (Bouillon) for most of the year. As for not being trusted with important defensive moments of the game, that’s called the, “Therrien Stupidity Effect”. As for his penalties, he draws more than he takes.

  41. No sure why you have Datsyuk listed. Why not have one of the 2 big sharks listed here?

  42. Why in the hell wasn’t Crosby #1 on this list? The most worthless, over rated player since Eric Lindross.

  43. Here comes the Wings fans lol. Teasing aside, no way is Datsyuk the most overrated player in the NHL. That belongs to Ovechkin, since he only scores goals, and that’s about it

  44. Datsyuk was nearly a point-per-game playing on one good leg, along with concussion and groin problems. Not to mention he’s still one of the best defensive forwards in the league, if not the best. You should probably change that one.

  45. You’re comparing Kesler from a President’s Trophy winning team, to Kesler on a lottery team. What do you expect? It’s really not fair to say he’s no longer a #2 center. And even though you didn’t say it verbatim, that is what you are implying by saying you would definitely not risk him being a top player on your team. Literally no one is saying he will be the #1 in Anaheim.

    • Devin Slawson Devin Slawson says:

      Everyone to their opinion, only time will tell how he will do, but one thing I may add is by saying a top player I meant as in a top 3 or 5 on their team, not the top player, which would mean the #1. Perhaps I should have clarified that while writing, sorry for the confusion!

  46. Agree with everyone except Datsyuk!

  47. Darrin Hayes Darrin Hayes says:

    I felt like Pavel Datsyuk was a typo somehow…he’s regularly considered the best 2 way forward in the game….Selke Trophy only 3 seasons ago….almost a point per game last year… thus it seems hard to consider him overrated for a season he hasn’t performed in yet. Certainly a bold choice.

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