At the moment, we're all losing. The NHL's choice to lock out its players has, at least for now, left us with no NHL hockey. Of course, a lockout means owners lose money, players lose money, and fans lose the sport they love. But when it comes to players, some have more to lose than others. Here are the 30 players who would be hurt the most by a year-long lockout.
Really old guys at the end of their careers
They are on their way out and all we want is one more year. We may not get it if the owners keep the doors locked.
Anaheim, Teemu Selanne: This year was supposed to be Selanne's retirement tour. And still in good shape, he could have reasonably moved from 19th place with 1,406 points to 14th on the all-time scoring list with a solid season. If we miss the whole season, we've likely seen the last of the greatest Finnish player of all time.
Dallas, Jaromir Jagr: In 2011-12, we saw that Jagr still has a lot in the tank. There's a good chance he will be able to play in 2013-14, but he would have had a chance to pass Lemieux for seventh place all-time in points with two full years. A short lockout could help Jagr, though. He ran out of gas during the playoffs last season with only two points in the Flyers' second round series against the Devils.
Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson: Like Selanne, Alfredsson was poised to give it one more go, but will probably call it a career if the lockout lasts the entire season.
Ottawa, Sergei Gonchar: The Russian D-man will be a free agent after this season, so if the year is lost, he will lose $5.5 million with little-to-no chance of his next contract being even close. Gonchar has lost a lot on his fastball and presumably after another year, he'll be looking at retirement or a pretty limited role.
New Jersey, Martin Brodeur: Brodeur signed a two-year deal in the offseason, so if the owners keep players locked out all year, he'll likely still come back. However, Brodeur loses some momentum from an amazing playoff run and a chance at extending many of his records.
Dallas, Ray Whitney: After signing a two-year contract, Whitney could be missing out on his chances to improve his Hall of Fame resume. He's coming off his best season since 2008-09 and doesn't want to miss another shot at a 70-plus point season.
Free agent, Dominik Hasek: Any chance of seeing a 47-year-old Hasek come back with any team is gone if the league loses a year. However, a shortened season may increase the chances of a return.
Old guys at the tail end of their prime
These are the stars that we've watched perform for so long who are still at their best, but may not have too many years left to spare. Some may need these prime years to secure a shot at the Hall of Fame.
Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk: The Red Wings' star center did not show signs of aging during his age-33 season, posting nearly a point per game, but his biggest lockout loss could be missing a chance to raise the Cup. Even a shorter lockout will, like 2004-05, be another hit to Datsyuk's chances at scoring 1,000 points.
New Jersey, Patrik Elias: At age 36, Elias is coming off his highest point total since 2008-09. He's a free agent after the season and while he seems a lock to stick with New Jersey, there's always a chance Devils fans won't see their all-time leading scorer again if the season is canceled.
Phoenix, Shane Doan: In 2011-12, the Coyotes made it through the first round for the first time in Doan's career. Missing the entire year could seriously hurt Doan's chances at raising a Cup in the desert, especially with an ever-tenuous ownership situation. Not to mention he'll miss out on a lot of cash after signing a four-year deal worth over $21 million
Philadelphia, Danny Briere: After 2012-13, Briere's actual salary drops from $7 million to $3 million. He's also looking to bounce back from a down age-33 season.
Calgary, Jarome Iginla: The Flames' legend has a chance to overtake Al MacInnis for Calgary's all-time assists lead and own every scoring record in team history, but he trails by 87 helpers. A lockout also hurts his chances at earning a longer final contract from the Flames, as he is entering the final season of his current deal.
San Jose, Dan Boyle: The 36-year-old scored his lowest points per game since 2003-04. Currently sitting at 505 points, missing games hurts Boyle's chances to reach the top-25 all-time in scoring for a defenseman (740 points), and ultimately damages a potential Hall of Fame resume.
Boston, Zdeno Chara: While it seems the 35-year-old Chara just keeps getting stronger, there can only be so much left for the six-foot-nine defenseman. Sitting at plus-149 for his career and plus-33 both of the last two seasons, he has a chance to move into the elite all-time in plus-minus.
Chicago, Marian Hossa: A lockout could actually help Hossa by giving him more time to recover from an injury during the playoffs, but he's in the ballpark of surpassing the 1,000 point mark and putting himself solidly in the Hall of Fame conversation. Missing his age-33 season won't make that any easier.
San Jose, Joe Thornton: At 33 and with 1,078 points, Jumbo Joe could reasonably put himself in the discussion for all-time best centers with a few more point-per-game seasons. Of course, that's if he gets the chance to play. Also, when will this guy win a Cup?
Tampa Bay, Martin St. Louis: After posting his lowest point total since 2005-06, it seems St. Louis might be headed toward the other side of the hill. He's had amazing durability during his career, but with 852 points, he does not want to see missed chances to improve his Hall of Fame CV.
Tampa Bay, Vinny Lecavalier: While Lecavalier may be under contract for the rest of eternity, his skills won't last that long. And he has missed more than 15 games in each of his last two seasons. Like many others, the window is closing and he's still 158 points away from 1,000.
Guys who had bad years and wouldn't have a chance to bounce back in a contract year
With the players locked out, there is no chance for those who had down seasons to get back on track and earn a new deal. Here are the ones who were looking to do just that.
Dallas, Derek Roy: After an injury sidelined Roy for a big piece of the 2010-11 season, he posted the poorest scoring performance of his career with only 44 points in 80 games in 2011-12. Dallas presents a change of scenery with some offensive weapons and a new system that might benefit Roy more than what he had in Buffalo and with Lindy Ruff. He's missing out on checks for what is the highest actual salary of his contract at $5.5 million (cap hit $4.0 million). If he misses this season because of a lockout, he could be looking at a serious drop in pay as he enters his age-30 season.
Toronto, Tim Connolly: For the third straight season, Connolly saw a drop in points per game, putting up only 36 in 70 games. At a $4.8 million cap hit, he would be looking at a serious drop in pay if 2011-12 ends up by default as his contract year; that's if he finds a job at all.
New York Islanders - Brad Boyes: After making $4 million to only score eight goals in 65 games last season, the former 40-goal scorer is looking for redemption with the Islanders. Boyes signed a one-year contract and has a good chance to earn a solid deal the next time around as he's likely to have a more prominent role with the Isles, especially on the power play. That's if he gets a chance. If the owners keep players locked out all year, Boyes will be locked out of a chance to earn a few more million.
Carolina, Alexander Semin: While Semin is scheduled to make $7 million with the Hurricanes, a one-year contract is not exactly what the Russian forward was looking for. He took a short contract with hopes to bounce back after only scoring 54 points last season. The aim would have been to get his scoring back up to par and look for a megadeal. Now that possibility is in question.
Washington, Wojtek Wolski: After playing just 31 games in 2011-12, Wolski signed a one-year deal worth only $600,000 with the Washington Capitals, a huge drop from making $4 million. He's only 26 and still has the talent to prove he's worth a multi-year deal worth several million, especially if he gets a chance to play on top lines with the Caps. He certainly doesn't want to miss out on that because of a lockout.
Los Angeles, Simon Gagne: Set to make $3.5 million in the last year of his deal with the Kings, Gagne would appreciate another chance to play a full season. He hasn't played more than 63 games since 2008-09 and only played 34 last year.
Los Angeles, Dustin Penner: While it appears Penner was somewhat of a one-year wonder with his 31-goal season in 2009-10, he has more talent than the seven goals he netted last season. He would love an opportunity to show he belongs on an NHL roster.
Current RFA's who may not get as big of a pay day
It's essentially the same story for all of these RFA's who did not get a contract before the lockout: there's a good chance they could lose out on bigger deals if the players ultimately agree to rollbacks on their total piece of the pie.
New York Rangers, Michael Del Zotto: 77 games, 41 points, 12.6 GVT
Montreal, P.K. Subban: 81 games, 36 points, 9.8 GVT
Dallas, Jamie Benn: 71 games, 63 points, 14.7 GVT
Florida, Dimitry Kulikov: 58 games, 28 points, 7.1 GVT
Colorado, Ryan O'Reilly: 81 games, 55 points, 11.0 GVT
Matthew Coller is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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