Let’s build on the debate raging over Alex Ovechkin’s league-worst plus-minus (-36) by bringing some other names into the discussion, shall we?
Following is a screenshot from NHL.com:
Not surprisingly, no shortage of Sabres and Oilers, the two worst five-on-five teams in the NHL.
Coyotes d-man Keith Yandle is a bit of a surprise being so far down, but we suppose he helps make up for it on the power play.
Nashville’s Seth Jones would probably like to see a higher number beside his name, but let’s not forget Drew Doughty finished minus-17 as a rookie and Duncan Keith was minus-11 in his first season with the ‘Hawks.
Alex Edler’s minus-33 is almost impressive considering he’s only played 58 games this season. The next lowest plus-minus on the Canucks belongs to former Selke Trophy winner Ryan Kesler, at minus-15.
Look, we all know plus-minus is a seriously flawed statistic. Good players on bad teams constantly get overly criticized for having a low rating. Unless you think Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek are the worst players on the Ottawa Senators.
That said, there’s no question Ovechkin could be more dedicated in all three zones. Just because he scores a lot of goals, and just because he’s a winger, doesn’t mean he can ignore his defensive responsibilities.
And he knows that.
“We make easiest mistakes,” Ovechkin said after last night’s costly 5-0 loss to Dallas. “We turn puck over in our zone, in the neutral zone. It cost us the game.”