Of the 30 NHL teams, there are currently only eight who have a losing record. A pretty amazing stat, unless of course you are one of the star players who happen to play on one of those eight teams that sit below the .500 mark.
If you are considered to be an elite player in the NHL and are a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes or the Anaheim Ducks, then you likely are having a tough go of things through the first half of the season.
Without reading ahead, you could probably guess who I list as the four star players who’s individual performances are being hurt the most by the struggles of their respective teams. You might even feel bad for them, so I would ask you to please remember the size of their wallets before you allow a feeling of pitty to enter your mind; and oh yeah, three of the four players could always draw upon their Stanley Cup rings whenever they start feeling blue.
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes: The captain of the Eastern Conference’s worst team, Staal is a two-time 40 goal scorer and has reached the 30-goal plateau on three occassions, including last year. With only nine goals in 41 games played, Staal can all but kiss 40 goals goodbye and will need to make a big push if he hopes to get 30, but its not a lack of goal production that is plaguing him.
A four-time all-star and cup winner in 2006, Staal is a league worst -23 on the season for the Hurricanes, who not surprisingly rank dead last in goals against in the league.
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks: How do you follow up leading the league in goals and being awarded the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player? Well, Ducks forward Corey Perry sure doesn’t have the answer to that question.
With 15 goals, 30 points and a -14, Perry is nowhere close to the numbers he put up a year ago during his 50-goal, 98-point campaign and whats worse is that the Ducks are nowhere near the playoff picture in the West. In fact, Anaheim is just one point clear of the Columbus Blue Jackets for last place in the entire league with the Jackets holding a game in hand.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks: Worry not Corey Perry, you are not alone; you’re good buddy and linemate Ryan Getzlaf is right there with you in terms of being a star player who is struggling because of his team’s awful season.
Considered to have the potential to be a 90-point player because of his talent and supporting cast, Getzlaf has achieved the mark once before (2008-09), but now he is instead a player being brought up in trade talk. How do you go from being a legitimate Art Ross threat to someone with just six goals, 25 points and carrying a -19 rating in 38 games? Easy, you play for a team with a record of 10-22-6, but perhaps Getzlaf and Perry should look to their teammate for tips on “bad team survival.” 41-year-old Teemu Selanne plays for the same bad Anaheim team yet he has 36 points and has somehow managed to keep an even rating.
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets: If there was ever a book on what it is like to play for a consistently terrible team and a lifeless organization, Rick Nash would likely be the author. Having made the playoffs just once in their 10-year existence, Nash has given much to a franchise that has offered little in return.
Possessing a skill-set that rivals any of the other superstars in the league, Nash has never been able to make the most of his talent in his seven years with the club and 2011-2012 is no different.
If you believe that he is truly as bad of a defensive player as his career -89 rating indicates, then you my friend are simply not thinking straight. More so than any other player in the NHL, it is an absolute shame that a player like Rick Nash continues to toil away with a team that constantly shows a complete ineptiitude to get better.