November 10, 2011
The Seven is an arbitrary list of randomly connected hockey subjects that will run every Thursday on Puck Daddy. Agree to disagree.
In an advanced stats society, a players' plus/minus rating has become especially superfluous. It's meant to indicate success or liability in even-strength hockey, even if there are various metrics in today's game that can determine that with better specificity.
That said, it can still be a delightful glamor stat, especially when it comes to criticism. For example, Eric Staal(notes) is off to a slow start (5 points in 15 games), but when you factor in that minus-16 it's like he should just hang up the skates and try again next season.
Same goes for career plus/minus numbers, which brings us to this week's whimsy.
Here are The 7 Active NHL Players With Mind-Blowing Plus/Minus Ratings. Enjoy …
You probably knew, or assumed, that the Detroit Red Wings defenseman/captain/advanced-technology android was the active career plus/minus leader. You may not know he's a plus-432, which is a plus-151 better than the No. 2 active guy (Jaromir Jagr(notes)). He's No. 11 all-time in plus/minus, a plus-12 behind the late Brad McCrimmon.
The Los Angeles Kings defenseman joined the team before its late-decade resurgence, but his status as a minus man has continued. Johnson's minus-21 last season was a career low, in the same season he posted a career-high 42 points. He was a minus-4 in the 2005-06 World Juniors. He was a minus-4 at worlds last season. It's like he's allergic to being a plus player. But the real kicker: He's a minus-81 in just 297 games.
A bit of a cheat because he's not currently in the NHL, but … seriously?
In fact, yes: Redden only had two minus seasons in the NHL, including a minus-5 in 2008-09 for the New York Rangers. From 1999-2006, Redden was a plus-123 for the Ottawa Senators. (And yet in the playoffs, he was a minus-15 in 101 games.)
Because he didn't live up to his contract with the Rangers, it was easy to forget why he earned it on the first place.
The Tampa Bay Lightning star has 805 points in 949 career games. He also played for some rather, er, underwhelming teams from 1998-2001, when he amassed a minus-70 in the first three years of his career. Including this season, he's been a plus player three times. His former teammate, Brad Richards(notes), is a minus-75 on his career.
The Wizard, currently a plus-4 for the Phoenix Coyotes, has 940 points in 1,160 games and a minus-96. The most damage? His minus-22 and minus-26 with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2001-03, along with a minus-23 with the 1995-96 San Jose Sharks. The worst plus/minus on that Sharks' team? Craig Janney with a ghastly minus-35.
The Chicago Blackhawks defenseman is currently a minus-2. He's only been a minus player twice before in his career. Otherwise, he was a plus player for the Los Angeles Kings (during some lean years), Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers. He's played 1,185 games to a plus-91. Not bad for a dude with 31 career goals.
As of Nov. 10, 2011, there was one man in the NHL with sole possession of the largest minus among active players. That man is New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk, with his minus-105 … despite being nearly a point-per-game player (711 points in 713 games).
Lest you believe this is all because he toiled with the awful Atlanta Thrashers for eight years, Kovy was a minus-26 for the Devils last season. He's also a minus-1 in nine playoff games, despite scoring eight points.
But in fairness to Kovalchuk, he's only really played defense for two coaches in his career, killing the rest of them. And he does have 13 more years to try and turn this around.
Previously on Puck Daddy's The 7
The 7 NHL journeymen nearing Mike Sillinger levels of relocation
The 7 neglected NHL fan pages we love
The 7 players we'd pay to watch in an NHL shootout
The 7 NHL veterans still livin' the dream in minor leagues
The 7 most heartwarming stories of the NHL preseason