3.12.2007

What happened to the big names?

Before the lockout, you could look at the names on each roster and predict who has a great season. Seriously, I'll go name by name for the 03-04 season. Anaheim had Sergei Fedorov, Atlanta had Heatley and Kovalchuk, Boston had Thornton and Samsonov, Buffalo had Drury, the list goes on and on. Here are some "big-name, big year" players who aren't following expectations.
Todd Bertuzzi- Well, Bertuzzi's reason for struggling is obvious, he has had back injuries that limited him to 7 games. But last year, despite 71 points in 82 games, he still didn't show that trademark mean streak. Now with the Detroit Red Wings, he must have a comeback year to prove that he is still good for the NHL.
Jani Rita- This guy was big-name in terms of prospects, but after 66 NHL games and only 14 points, I wonder if he will ever get a full time job. He could become another Alex Daigle, but I think he's a big flop.
Roman Hamrlik- Formerly one of the Islanders' big four defensemen, Hamrlik seems to have lost his touch. After being a 35-65-point scorer in Tampa Bay, Edmonton, and New York, Hamrlik went down to 27 points in 05-06. An while he could reach 35-points again, he has overall been a disappointment.
Tuomo Ruutu- Injuries? Bah, Ruutu still hasn't lived up to his hype when he is healthy. Projected as a 50-60 point scorer after a 23-goal, 44-point rookie year, he has succumbed to the injury bug, and that has severly hurt his production. Limited to 5 points in 15 games last year, and 35 in 58 this year, where did the almost-Calder winner go?
Jeff Halpern- As much as I hate to downplay Halpern, the former Capitals captain is way below expectations. Halpern was signed to the Stars expected to be a third-line offense booster with second-line capability if Lindros went down. Instead, he has only 6 goals and 22 points in 65 games, and hasn't even displayed that much leadership. Unless he does well in the playoffs, he might be let go next season.
Mike Comrie- Another player who has had a disapointing season, Comrie is well below predictions. After last year's 30 goals and 60 points, many saw Comrie as a 1st-line center for Phoenix and a strong player overall. However, Comrie had only 7 goals and 20 points in 24 games to start the year with the Coyotes, and was traded to Ottawa. He did have a strong start with the Senators, scoring 2 assists in his first game, but has since tailed off to have a total of 8 goals and 14 points in 29 games with Ottawa.
These players are just a few among many who haven't delivered to their names.