NHL Veterans: Six Players on the Way Down

Rick Roos







Six NHL players headed downhill – and fast.

In last week’s column, I covered six guys who are "Defying Father Time" and whose numbers shouldn't decline much (if at all) in the very near future despite them being among the NHL leaders in career games played. This week we turn our attention to the other side of the coin – six guys on their last legs whose stats are likely headed downhill, and fast.


As a reminder, all of the players in both columns are already signed for at least this coming season and would still on your fantasy radar. That means you won't see the likes of Chris Phillips, Dainius Zubrus, Ed Jovanovski, or Todd Bertuzzi on these lists, despite them having played 1000+ games.


For my "Final Verdict", I'll talk about overall criteria to use in assessing and valuing these kinds of veteran players.


Last Legs Guys

Shane Doan – Age: 36; Career Games Played (regular season + playoffs): 1301


Many thought Doan's stats would start to take a nose dive a few years ago, after he dropped from consecutive 70+ point seasons to 55 points. Yet on the surface he seems to have remained a decent player, still accumulating a fair share of points while also contributing in secondary categories like Hits.



But looking more closely at the last two years in particular, you can't ignore that his point scoring pace actually was only about 50 points. That's bad enough on its own, but the continued emergence of players like Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker will only make matters worse. In fact, their presence has already been felt, with Doan's ice time among Coyote forwards having slipped to fifth overall (compared to first in 2011-12) and fourth overall on the PP (compared to basically tied for second in 2011-12). And keep in mind that Doan is signed for three more seasons — where will his ice time be by then!?


I'd think Doan will be hard pressed to top 50 points in a single season again during the remainder of his career, and actually might end up at or belo