The Worst Players in Coyotes History

There has been a story recently circulating around on social media: The Worst Player in Every NHL Team’s History.  A few clicks in, you realize that the author is one of the people who wants to remove fighting from the NHL types as most of his selections are enforcers or grinder players. As a Coyotes fan, you have seen plenty of bad players – and not all of them are of the only-here-to-fight type.  Granted, there have been plenty of Brad Mays, Donald Brashears and Brad McCrimmons, but some of those type of players can still serve a purpose.

How the Results Were Calculated

Right away, note that this is entirely subjective, but there were three main factors that were looked at to determine the worst players in Coyotes history.  The first was to eliminate players whose careers were cut short due to injury (immediately Krys Kolanos and Kurt Sauer come to mind).  Secondly, giving priority to a player’s time with the Coyotes over the rest of their career.  Lastly, to give a fair shot and eliminate guys who were only called up for a game or  two and never got a chance.  Also this is a Coyotes franchise list; no pre-1996 Jets are factored in.

#5 Mike Johnson

Johnson didn’t have a particularly terrible career with the club and in the NHL.  He scored 129 goals and 249 assists with about 40 percent of those coming in a Coyotes uniform.  The problem with Johnson was he had high expectations.  He joined the team and was expected to have 20-plus goal seasons, yet he only had one with the Coyotes, 2002-03.  He was also considered to be a soft player, a style that contradicted what the franchise was doing at the time.  He spent five years in Phoenix before moving on to the Canadiens and Blues before hanging up the skates.  Now he is an analyst for the NHL Network.
Everyone seemed to want it to work out with Taffe.  He spent nine years in the NHL, but only managing to play in 98 games.  He is what you would call a Quadruple A player in baseball; too good for Triple A, but not good enough for the Major League.  He spent four years with the Coyotes, two seasons with the Penguins and time with the Rangers, Panthers, Blackhawks and Wild.  He does seem to be excelling in Europe, playing for the KHL’s HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk after a fantastic season last year with the SHL’s Linköpings HC.

#3 Georges Laraque

Georges Laraque was one of the last true enforcers in the league.  The 2006-07 Coyotes signed him looking for toughness to help free up some of the team’s more offensively skilled players,  but regrettably, it did not play out that way.  He never seemed to be able to keep with the pace of Roenick, Doan, Nagy and the rest of the Coyotes. Laraque spent 56 games in a Coyotes sweater, before they sent him to the Penguins for the much younger Daniel Carcillo, hoping Carcillio would be able to fill the grinding role they were looking for.  Laraque spent parts of the next couple seasons with the Penguins and Canadiens before retiring.  Since exiting the NHL, he has dabbled in broadcasting, politics, and mixed martial arts.

#2 Lauri Korpikoski

Korpikoski was selected in the first round, 19th overall, by the Rangers in the hopes he could become the next Teemu Selanne.  After playing exceptionally well in the AHL, he made an impact in his first NHL game, scoring a goal for the Rangers in the playoffs against the Penguins.  Not feeling that Korpikoski had the skill set the Rangers were looking for, New York traded him to the Coyotes for the No. 1 player on this list hoping a change of scenery would do them both well.  Korpikoski played well enough to remain in the NHL, but not as the top-line player many hoped.  He settled into a role as consistent second or third liner and has never had a 20-plus goal season.  After five seasons in the desert, Arizona sent him packing to Edmonton at the 2016 trade deadline.

Enver Lisin, an ice-hockey player from Metallurg Magnitogorsk
Enver Lisin, an ice-hockey player from Metallurg Magnitogorsk

#1 Enver Lisin

Much like Johnson, Lisin came in with high expectations after championship seasons in his native Russia.  He was drafted in the second round and was supposed to be the top-flight Russian scorer of the future for the Coyotes.  Unfortunately, he never transitioned to the American game.  Lisin had great speed, and the lack of open ice inhibited his play.  The Coyotes shipped him to the Rangers, who did not offer a qualifying offer in 2010.  He returned to his homeland, and still plays today in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev Ufa.