Top 10 – Players That Are Safe to Drop

by Tom Collins on December 9, 2019



There’s always some sort of grief, or maybe anger, when it comes time to drop a player that you had drafted with high expectations.


After all, once you drop that player, that asset is gone. Obviously, it’s always better exporting a trade, but most times, especially in one-year pools, you just won’t get any offers. So now you’re stuck either rostering a player that you can’t put into a lineup, or you drop that guy completely. As long as you don’t have limited seasonal moves, you’re better off just grabbing the hot player off the waiver wire and dropping them when they cool down.


Below are 10 players that many were high on in the preseason that are safe to drop. The decision to drop some of these players depends on how deep your pool is. The shallower, the greater the chance there is a much better player on the wire. But if you only have three bench spots, you may not want to waste on a player whose reputation is far exceeding his performance. 


10. Matt Dumba

It’s always tough to drop a player that has been excellent and a little underrated the last couple of years, but Dumba’s production has seen a major downturn this season. Maybe he’s not fully recovered from the ruptured right pectoralis muscle injury that caused him to miss 50 games last year. Regardless, Dumba has nine points in 30 games to start this season, a 25-point pace. That’s indefensible for a player whom many thought would again flirt with 50 points. His shot rate is down and his shooting percentage is half of his career average. Of everyone on this list, he’s the one I’d be most reluctant in dropping, but it’s hard to roster a 25-point defenseman. 


9. Paul Stastny

Stastny has never been an awesome fantasy contributor, but you could always count on him for a 50-point pace. The one year he didn’t reach that pace was 2012-13, when he had a 49-point pace. This year, with only 12 points in 31 games, he’s on pace for 32 points. His ice time is down almost a minute per game from a year ago, despite playing most regularly with Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty at both even strength and on the power play. Throw in the fact that you can’t bank on him to stay healthy, and there’s no reason why he should be in your lineup anymore. 


8. Charlie McAvoy

In banger leagues, he might be worth holding on to, as he is on pace for 52 PIM, 167 hits and 164 blocked shots. If you’re not in a banger league, shift McAvoy to the waiver wire as he has just nine points (and zero goals) in 30 games. The problem with McAvoy is that we always want to believe that he is next in line if Torey Krug leaves via free agency next summer. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. When Krug missed two games in November, it was Matt Grzelcyk who took over the power play. The same thing happened when Krug missed the first month of 2018-19. Why does this matter? You can’t trust that McAvoy is going to be given prime offensive minutes this season no matter what happens to Krug. 


7. Joe Pavelski

No one could have imagined that Pavelski’s fall from grace would be so swift. A year after he notched 38 goals and 64 points in 75 games, Pavelski has only six goals and 13 points in 31 games with the Stars. That’s a 34-point pace. Some of the reasons for his decline? He’s taking less than two shots per game, he has only five power-play points and his shooting percentage is at 9.8 percent, one of the lowest of his career. He’s also been moved around the lineup, which makes it hard to find chemistry.


6. Ondrej Kase

Many of us keep waiting for Kase to take that next step, but it doesn’t look like it will be happening this season. He’s on pace for 39 points over an 82-game season (which he won’t hit, given his penchant for spending time on the IR), his taking almost a shot per game less than last year, he has no power-play points, he’s been taken off the power play in his last two games and he doesn’t hit. There’s just no point keeping this guy on your roster. Just remember as I mentioned above, while he is completely droppable in one-year pools, he’s still worth holding on to in keeper pools as he’s only played in 172 career games. There’s still plenty of time for a great fantasy career. 


5. Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko

I am combining these two into one listing, but the last few years have proven that you shouldn’t overreach for top rookies. I’ve been a big proponent that you’re better off drafting older players where you can count on proven production instead of taking a big swing on an 18-year-old rookie (again, just in one-year pools and not keeper leagues). Sure, you may be rewarded with a Cale Makar every once in a while, but more often than not, you’re left with duds. Hughes and Kakko have been extremely disappointing, and there’s no reason either of them should be occupying a spot on your squad. 


4. Jonathan Quick

Thirty-seven netminders have played at least 15 games this season. Of those 37, Quick’s 0.884 SV % is 37th, his 3.23 GAA is 34th, and his 12 losses are tied for last. There’s just not a lot to like in L.A. this season, and it’s going to be tough for Quick from here on out. Even last week, when he played two good games (allowing only two goals in each of them), he still came away with zero wins and two losses. He’s played 20 games and has allowed at least three goals in 11 games already.  


3. Phil Kessel

This may be tough for anyone who used a pick in the first five rounds on Kessel (he was taken on average early in the sixth round), but his production has dropped below anything worthy of a roster spot. With 18 points in 32 games, Kessel is on pace for 46 points. Worst still, Kessel doesn’t contribute in any of the peripheral categories, such as PIM, hits or blocked shots. He’s also a minus-15. You can find better value with someone like Ondrej Palat, Anthony Duclair, Brett Connolly or Jaden Schwartz (available in at least 60 percent of Yahoo pools as of yesterday). 


2. Mikael Granlund

Granlund had a horrific start to his Nashville career last season with five points in 16 games. However, most of us were willing to forgive him. His wife was in labour with their first child when he got traded last February, and then he had to get used to being a new dad, a new city and a new team with a new system. This year, it’s still not clicking in Nashville, as he has just 11 points in 26 games. Worst yet, he’s not contributing in any category. His shot rate is down, he’s a minus-player, he’s not hitting and he has just one power-play point. Now he’s dealing with a lower-body injury that has caused him to miss the last two games. It’s been a season of frustrating for Granlund owners, and there’s no sense in holding on to him anymore. 


1. P.K. Subban

There’s honestly no reason why Subban should be rostered in any type of one-year league, even those banger leagues. His stat line of 28 games, two goals, five points, minus-15, 64 shots, 30 hits, zero power-play points and 34 blocked shots is atrocious. Truthfully, you would be better off if you had drafted Mark Borowiecki, Radko Gudas or Ben Chiarot instead of Subban. Even a change in the coaching staff had no impact as Subban didn’t see any improvement in any category, nor a move back to the top power-play unit. We’re at the stage now where he simply doesn’t deserve a spot on your bench.