These 10 NHLers need a ticket out of town.....ASAP!
Sometimes a new team is exactly what a struggling player needs in order to turn his career around.
For proof, one needs to look no further than Kyle Turris. Just four years ago, Turris was toiling away in the minors, unable to crack Phoenix’s lineup. After a trade to Ottawa, Turris rejuvenated his career. He’s now arguably the team’s #1 center and has some people thinking that his success will lead to captain Jason Spezza being traded.
Given how bad things were going in Phoenix back then, it’s unlikely Turris would have developed at his current pace had he stayed in the desert.
Of course, some guys are traded and still eventually wind up buried on the depth chart or become entangled in a worse situation. But at least the player was given a fresh chance to succeed.
For this list, I did not consider salary caps and how many years are left on a deal. This list comes down to players who really need to leave town to have a better chance at potential success. We’re also looking at it from a fantasy standpoint, so I really couldn’t care if a team wouldn’t give up such and such a player.
10. Brett Connolly
This off-season will go a long way to determining where Connolly sits with the Tampa Bay Lightning. After a subpar rookie season in 2011-12, Connolly started the next season in the minors and excelled. He put up 31 goals and 63 points in 71 games for the Syracuse Crunch, which was enough for Connolly to be recalled for five games. Last season was more time in Syracuse, where again he excelled, with 57 points in 66 games. However, with all the success of the Tampa Bay youth in the last two years —Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, and Jonathan Drouin in juniors— it seems as if there is no room on the roster in Tampa for Connolly.
9. James Reimer
Sometimes a player’s career can be derailed simply by a move made by the team to bring in someone new. That’s what happened with Reimer. After getting the Leafs into the playoffs and Game 7 overtime in 2013, Dave Nonis decided to bring in Jonathan Bernier. Reimer still played well for most of the season, but he began to unravel shortly after Randy Carlyle decided to not publically support him. It seems clear that Carlyle has lost faith in Reimer, so he desperately needs a fresh chance somewhere else to rejuvenate his career.
8. Zach Bogosian
It must be tough for Jets fans to look at the 2008 draft and realize how close their team was to having a superstar. Bogosian was the third overall pick that year, sandwiched between Drew Doughty and Alex Pieterangelo. Bogosian has failed to live up to the hype of his fellow draftees. While he looked promising for a while — with 30 points three years ago — he has quickly fallen down the Jets depth chart. This season, Bogosian put up just 11 points in 55 games. Could a new team be enough to turn his career around?
7. Tyler Myers
After a Calder-winning season in 2009-10, things were looking great for Myers and fantasy owners. Here was a young guy who was big and could score. It doesn’t get much better than that. But it slowly went down like a balloon leaking air, with Myers’ points having dropped every season, from 48, to 37, to 23, to his 22 in 2013-14. Myers has pretty much been given up for in points only leagues; and if you count peripherals, his minus-26 was horrible. And heaven help whoever owns him a cap league. He’s had enough chances to right the ship in Buffalo. If he was traded, there would be a sharp interest in fantasy owners across the world.
6. Alexander Edler
It was just two summers ago that the Canucks looked to be set on the blueline. They had Edler as their main power play guy, a defenseman who just had a 49-point season. Signing Jason Garrison was going to be great for everyone, and help take some of the pressure off Edler. Instead, the move has backfired for the Canucks. Edler followed up a season of 22 points in 45 games with 22 more points…….in 63 games, and he is losing power play time to Garrison thanks to new coach John Tortorella. He also finished the season with a league-worst minus-39. Edler was rumored to have been traded at the deadline this past season, but the move apparently fell through. Hopefully for Edler owners, the Canucks don’t wait until next year’s deadline to ship him out.
5. Adam Larsson
Since his rookie season in 2011-12, the 21-year-old has played almost as many games in the AHL (59) as in the NHL (70). And when Larsson does manage to get into the Devils lineup, he’s been severely limited in ice time, quality of defensive pairing, and opportunities. This season, Larsson played in just 26 NHL games, and averaged 17:47 of ice time, just seventh on the team for defensemen. He also averaged just 28 seconds of power play ice time per game. There must be a team out there that is willing to give Larsson the opportunity he needs to be successful.
4. Nail Yakupov
This had to be one of the ugliest falls from a Calder candidate in quite a while. After a rookie season where Yakupov put up 17 goals and 31 points in just 48 games, many things were expected of the first overall pick in 2012. But new coach Dallas Eakins doesn’t appear to be a big fan of the 20-year-old. His ice time was down, he was a healthy scratch several times this season, and he posted totals of just 11 goals and 24 points, to go along with a minus-33. With Oilers brass and fans seeming to turn on Yakupov, a move to somewhere he can get the opportunity to shine could do wonders for him.
3. Mikhail Grigorenko
The University of Buffalo is now offering a course taught by the Sabres: How to not deal with your prospects. Drafted twelfth overall in 2012 (where he slipped from a top five spot), many thought the Sabres had a steal. Then they spent the next year screwing Grigorenko around. They kept him in the NHL, but wouldn’t play him before eventually relenting and sending him back to juniors. The next season, the team did the exact same thing! Now new GM Tim Murray won’t commit to the 19-year-old. Fantasy owners desperately need a new situation for Grigorenko, or else risk seeing him go to the KHL.
2. Braden Holtby
He was one of the most sought after goalies last summer. He had a chance to be a true #1 goalie, but the Capitals messed around with him. The coaching staff messed with his playing style, they made him sit while a rookie goalie became hot for a while, and then he saw the team trade for Jaroslav Halak at the deadline. Basically, the team tried everything they could to break his confidence. A trade could be just the thing for him to turn his career back in the right direction.
1. Evander Kane
Poolies have been ready for Kane's breakthough year for about three seasons now, and it still hasn't happened. While he's a beast for hits and shots, he's still struggling for goals and points. He has just one season where he's scored at least 20 goals, and just one season where he's been above 45 points. Late this season he found himself a healthy scratch as new coach Paul Maurice (who recently re-signed for four more seasons) didn't seem to be a fan of the 22-year-old. A change to a team that has more leadership might be the best move for all involved.