It’s nothing personal… wait, yeah it is; “I can’t stand” pretty much makes it personal, huh? Well, just take a look at my reasoning, and tell me if you don’t agree that “Old Man” Ohlund is more than you can bear.
O – Overpaid
Mattias Ohlund seemed to be a decent option in free agency when the 2008 season came to an end. And, he was swiftly snatched up on July 1, 2009 for what appeared to be a fair $26.25 million. Brought into the Bolts system as the perfect mentor for the Lightning’s latest draft pick, fellow Swede Victor Hedman, Ohlund donned an “A” immediately. However, at the end of two seasons with Tampa Bay, Mattias has nothing more to show than 0 goals, 18 total points, and a -15 plus/minus rating. He may know what it takes to be successful, but coaches (not players) get paid to know and instruct. Tell me you don’t think his $3.67 million annual cap hit isn’t too much.
H – Health Risk
Thirteen years at the NHL level, and Ohlund has missed 108 games due to illness or injury (mostly injury). That’s only an average of 8 games per year, but these injuries keep him from playing at 100% all too often. Granted he is a warrior, and I actually like that about him, but this characteristic causes him to miss a lot of key games. For instance, twice he has missed the last bunch of games at the end of the regular season. One of these times, 2002-2003 season, he also missed the first game of the Canucks playoff series against the Blues. Now, I really don’t mind that he missed that playoff game for Vancouver, but if we were depending on him here in Tampa…?
L – Lengthy Contract
Seven years is a long time to lock-in a 33-year old hockey player who has experienced a lot of wear and tear over his career. But, maybe his contract was a key contributor to Jeff Vinik’s decision to bring in new GM Steve Yzerman. So, I guess the reason I can’t stand this part of Ohlund is that Yzerman is handcuffed to him through the 2015-2016 season. Which of you readers thinks Ohlund will be playing much of the games he’ll be paid for during the last two years of this term though? I think he’ll miss at least half… if not more!
U – Unreliable
It seems that Ohlund gave his best to the Canucks in terms of offensive contributions. However, we’re not asking him to match his career bests now are we? I mean, it would be nice to seem him add 14 goals and/or 27 assists at some point before he’s 40, and it’s not like we haven’t seen old Swedish defensemen scoring points (reference Nicklas Lidstrom). But, who are we kidding comparing him to Lidstrom… not happening!
N – Not Gone Yet
I really don’t “hate” Mattias, but I DO think it would have been better if Tampa had signed him to a two-year or three-year contract. At least then we wouldn’t have five years left to consider the possibility that he may not ever score a goal again. Just kidding, he can probably score at least one!
D – Defensive Prowess
I grew up a fan of another team (which will remain unnamed to protect the innocent!), but here’s the positive thing about Ohlund that I can’t stand. He has the skill and persistent ability to shutdown the most talented forwards in the league when he’s on the ice. I personally have watched him block shots that were pure gems headed for the twine when the goalie didn’t even know what was coming. I remember thinking that Tampa Bay got one good thing out of Mattias Ohlund, and that was his defensive mind and competence, and he is a defenseman now isn’t he? I couldn’t make this a “hater” column now could I…?
So, there you have it; six reasons I can’t stand #5.
Any questions, comments, or reasons to add… add them below!
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