It'll likely be Ehrhoff and Leino no matter how good they are, unless they're amazing. That's just how it is. Not only did they get HUGE deals (in total dollar amount -- with Leino getting a bit of a cap overpayment), but they're also European and have specific play-related issues that will be easy to pounce on:
For Leino, even if he works out as much as we hope, he will still have a lot of adjustment to deal with ... new team, move to center, etc. He's going to likely need time to get it together and many people won't give him that.
For Ehrhoff, it'll be because he isn't a defensive stalwart and will make his fair share of bonehead plays. Considering the sheer dollar total of his contract and the $10m in real salary this year, each one of those mistakes is going to set off an alarm. And that's even if he does produce in the 45-55 point range, which shouldn't really be how he's judged.
It's unfortunate but I just see those guys as obvious candidates.
Boyes will likely have fans on his case already from the last half of his Buffalo tenure and the fact he will be used in a secondary role while getting a large salary. Certain Buffalo media members and gullible fans will continue to ride Hecht for not putting up big points.
This is an underperforming club spending to the cap. That's why I am amazed to see a rookie defenseman on a $550,000 getting blamed for everything from losing games to bad weather, the black death and the murder of JFK on these boards.
Stafford, who knows whether he'll continue to get better or if he'll get paid $4m to be a 40-50 point player.
Although Leino's probably a better choice for that reason...
Originally Posted by Rivet52
The most common complaints are against Gragnani. Roy's up there I guess, not for me though. So is Leino, again not for me. I suppose a couple are on Stafford's back too.
I'd say it's Grags for the most part with Leino and Roy both close.
Stafford got the big deal and was their second leading goal scorer - more than anything, the team's lack of offensive production from anyone other than Vanek, Pominville or Adam makes the expected scorers (Stafford, Roy, Ennis, Leino) all worthy choices.
Gragnani is being put on some pedestal by the coach as the cure to the team's power play yet has done nothing to merit such - that, plus his lack of even the smallest hint of physicality and his defensive blunders, make him an easy target for criticism on defense.