Over the next few days, I will be looking at each team in the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch. Feel free to browse back to see previous teams, and look for more teams in the coming days.
Chutes: Scottie Upshall – Has been a big disappointment for the Panthers, mostly due to his inability to stay healthy. He is a robust player who doesn’t have the size to play that way, leading to a number of injuries that has impacted his ability to stay on the ice. With two years left on a contract that pays him $3.5M per year, he could be a potential buyout candidate after next season. Its a shame because I have been a fan of his since his World Junior days and expected him to make more of an impact in the league.
Ladders: Erik Gudbranson – With two seasons to get acclimated to the NHL game, this could be the year the big blueliner from Ottawa makes his mark on the NHL. He will be given a greater role and should put up more offense than the 4 assists he managed in 32 games last season.