Just call him Mr. Minus
One of my readers asks "Who had the worst plus-minus in NHL history?" And since I aim to please, I'll oblige.
Defenceman Bill Mikkelson of the Washington Capitals had quite the year in 1974-75. In his second full NHL season, the young blueliner played 59 games, had three goals, 10 points and 52 penalty minutes. He was also a whopping -82.
One also wonders how bad that number would have been had he not been sent to the Richmond Robins of the AHL towards the end of the season. Poor Bill.
(Let it be noted that the expansion Capitals were 8-67-5 that season and were outscored 446-181, an NHL record for goals against. The team's starting goaltender, Ron Low, had a 5.45 GAA.)
Having a look at this article on washingtoncaps.com, it's good to see the team doesn't shy away from that part of its history.
Perhaps the high point of the long season came on March 28 in Oakland. The Caps had played 37 road games to that point, going 0-37-0. But a pair of third period goals by Nelson Pyatt saved the team from the ignominy of a winless season on the road. The Caps beat the white-skated Golden Seals, 5-3.
After the game, the relieved Caps reveled in the glory of their lone road triumph. “Tommy Williams got a hold of this trash can and had a few guys sign it and we started parading it around the room,” laughs Labre. “It was as if we’d won the Stanley Cup. That was a fun time for us—there weren’t that many.”
“The stadium was pretty well empty,” remembers Lalonde. “And here we are, skating around with this green garbage can. We all signed it, and it was there for years after that. It’s probably still there.”
[Begin nostalgic aside: That story reminds me of a ball hockey team I played on as a freshman in high school called the Trash Can Uncles, a name some of the older guys came up with as a joke. We lost almost every regular-season game (no one showed up), but in that league, every team qualified for the playoffs. We ended up winning the championship, and the guys paraded around beating a garbage can with their sticks. People are weird about their hockey in Kamloops.]
Mikkelson's son, Brendan, was a second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks this year and plays for the WHL Vancouver Giants.
This season, the guy with the worst plus minus is on pace to be -55, one of the highest numbers in recent history.
That player? Mario Lemieux.