According to the venerated hockey website Sports Illustrated, the answer to that question is yes. In a poll of 161 players, Dion Phaneuf ranked as the most common answer to the question of which player is the most overrated in the National Hockey League.
Of course, Leafs’ GM Brian Burke figures any player dumb enough to fill out the poll has a “room-temperature IQ.”
Phaneuf wasn’t the only Maple Leafs’ defenseman on the list. Also included (at 10th overall) is the greatly-lauded Mike Komisarek, who is feted nightly on Canadian television.
Honestly, looking at the list, it seems clear that ‘overrated’ is mostly a financial term for the players involved, rather than one related to accolades and media love. Scott Gomez is number three on the list, and he’s been largely hammered in the media since before he joined the Montreal Canadiens. Dany Heatley, Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Semin, Olli Jokinen… this isn’t a long list of media darlings here. It’s a list of guys that are paid a lot of money and aren’t performing as expected, for the most part.
It’s also a list of guys that have a reputation for being disliked. Phaneuf has long had that reputation. Alexander Ovechkin is the second guy on the list; Ryan Kesler also appears.
Realistically, the list doesn’t mean much. It’s a popularity contest, and doesn’t tell us much we didn’t already know.