Let me start by saying this is 100% my opinion. Also, any of these players mentioned are far better at hockey than anyone else who hasn't made it to the NHL. I just feel that people think they are much better than they really are. Does that make sense?
# 5. Daniel Briere
Yes he can put 30-45 pucks in the net for you a season. He can also be responsible for more than double that going into your net with his lack of defensive play. There is a reason the Sabres did not resign him. Not because they didn't have the money, it's because they didn't think he was worth what he thinks he's worth. Good on ya Sabres. Last season he finished a minus 22. In the year out of the lockout, when the Sabres were the highest scoring team in the league, he was a mere plus 3 in 48 games. In last year's playoffs he scored 9 goals, but was a minus 3.
#4 Ryan Malone
Not a bad player here. Consistently will score 20 goals for your team. I just think that he benefited from not being on the top line in Pittsburgh. Example, pre Cosby-Malkin days, when he was on the top line he scored 22 goals both of those years. He was also a minus 22 and minus 23, respectively. When he was second line behind Crosby and Malkin the past two years he scored 16 in an injury shortened season and 27 last year. The top defensive units were put against Crosby and Malone got the number 2 or 3 unit, not to mention powerplay time with #87 and #71. Lets see what he can do in Tampa.
#3 Chris Drury
Had a great team in Colorado to hide his stats in. Had a great team in Buffalo for two years to hide his stats in. Now with the Rangers he is expected to be a top scorer, but everyone forgets that before the Sabres he never scored more than 24 goals in a season. Those Sabres teams of '05 and '06, anyone with any scoring ability could of been on those teams and scored 30 (Drury had 30 and 37 after the lockout). He's a great faceoff guy, but so is Yannic Perrault, and he'll never get the money Drury did.
#2 Zdeno Chara
He's only the captain of Boston by default, there was no one else to give it to. Almost like the Leafs' situation this season. He does have a great shot and has the intimidation factor going for him. Small crafty players with speed have little trouble getting by this guy. Unfortunately, there are not enough of those types of players in the league yet, to expose the big man's weakness. That being said he is one of the toughest D-men in the corners and in front of the net. We'll see in five years, when the NHL forwards are consistently smaller and faster, we'll see how good Chara looks then. He's a good defenceman, just maybe not Norris Trophy worthy.
#1 Ilya Kovalchuk
I think this guy refuses to acknowledge defence as an aspect of the game. We all know he doesn't/can't play it. When he has the puck in the offensive zone, he does not feel the need to pass it around the defence. He just thinks that they are not there and tries to go through them with a fancy move that he practiced in his driveway back in Russia. Maybe that move works 1 out of every 20 tries, then we see it replayed endlessly on TV. While it's replayed 50 times, most people miss all the other mistakes that he makes. He's a great goal scorer, but not a great teammate. How many times have we seen one of his teammates make a mistake and he reacts like, "How could you do that?!?!?!?!? You just cost ME the game?!?!?!?!?"