The end of the year is a time of reflection for people and that's true of us as well. Every year Rotoworld strives to top itself and one of the ways the hockey department has been doing that lately is by providing you with more articles. What you're reading right now is an example of that as my weekly Tuesday afternoon column is a relatively recent development, but we've also added a lot more content to our Season Pass for the 2014-15 campaign.
One of the new weekly columns we've been writing is the Drop Trends, which is sort of like the reverse of the Waiver Wired articles. Each Sunday we take a look at the players that were dropped most in Yahoo leagues the previous day and explain what caused fantasy owners to sour to them and if their actions are justified. Sometimes we'll side with the crowd and other times we'll preach patience.
The Drop Trends is an article I'm particularly fond of and I wanted to give readers who haven't gotten the Season Pass an idea of what it's like. To avoid being redundant though we're going to be looking at Transaction Trends, which includes adds as well as drops.
We'll also skip the top two players on the list - Calvin Pickard and Jordan Staal - because they're fairly cut-and-dry cases. The Avalanche sent Pickard to the AHL, so if you have him on your roster you should feel free to drop him and Staal, who has returned from a fractured fibula, has enough offensive upside to make him worth picking up in most situations.
Colin Wilson (NAS - C/LW)
Trend: Moved 3,375 times (3,340 adds/35 drops)
Why: He earned the NHL's second star of the week after scoring four goals and five points in three games.
Recommendation: Wilson only had 33 points in 81 games in 2013-14, but you should take those numbers with a grain of salt. He had surgery on both of his shoulders during the summer of 2013 and that seemed to impact his game. The fact that he got off to a slow start this season only reinforced people's fears about him, but he's actually been superb since mid-November with 16 points in 18 contests. Just as his slow start wasn't representative of what he's capable of, it's equally unlikely that he can maintain his recent pace. However, he should still average out to be a better than average top-six forward once he settles down. If you're in a standard league and he's still available then he's worth taking a chance on.
Devan Dubnyk (ARI - G)
Trend: Moved 3,259 times (3,044 adds/215 drops)
Recommendation: Getting out of Edmonton seems to have done Dubnyk some good, which frankly isn't shocking. Despite his implosion during the 2013-14 campaign, he's capable of being a decent starting goaltender and lately he's been getting the opportunity to prove that in Arizona. That being said, in the ongoing battle for the number one gig, Dubnyk is still at something of a disadvantage as the Coyotes have made a long-term commitment to Mike Smith. As ugly as that six-year, $34 million contract that Smith's only in the second season of looks, the Coyotes are likely going to keep going back to him in the hopes that he'll turn his season around. Dubnyk is still a worthy addition to most fantasy squads, but you should remember that the situation in Arizona is still fluid.
Johnny Gaudreau (CAL - LW)
Trend: Moved 2,678 times (2,595 adds/83 drops)
Why: He's Johnny Gaudreau.
Recommendation: Okay, a more complete answer is that he's scored six goals and seven points in his last four contests. The thing is though, Gaudreau was one of the most promising rookies going into the 2014-15 campaign and it didn't take him long to adjust to the NHL level. He opened the season with a five-game drought, but hasn't had a slump of more than three contests since and ranks second among rookies with 30 points in 37 contests. If you're in a standard league, you would have to be in a pretty strong position already to not want Gaudreau on your team.
Evander Kane (WPG - LW)
Trend: Moved 2,260 times (58 adds/2,2202 drops)
Why: A lower-body injury will sideline Kane until February.
Recommendation: A few years ago it would have been easy to simply advise fantasy owners to find a way to hold onto Kane until he's healthy enough to return. At the time though he looked like an emerging star. At this point though we have to wonder if he'll ever live up to his potential. After a rough 2013-14 campaign, Kane has just six goals, 15 points, and 46 penalty minutes in 26 contests this season. If you're in a league that values PIM then odds are you've still gotten some use out of Kane, but those numbers aren't exactly hard to replace. I would seriously consider taking Kane late in 2015-16 fantasy drafts if he slides if he slides far enough, but if you don't have an easily accessible IR spot to stick him in then I think dropping him is a perfectly reasonable alternative to having him occupy a bench spot.
Michael Hutchinson (WPG - G)
Trend: Moved 1,909 times (1,592 adds/316 drops)
Why: The Jets have been more comfortable starting him over Ondrej Pavelec.
Recommendation: In some respects this is a similar story to Devan Dubnyk. The Jets have made a long-term commitment to Pavelec, so while Hutchinson has been the superior goaltender so far, it's hard to simply write Pavalec off under any circumstances. There are substantial differences though. For starters, Hutchinson has significantly more upside and figures to be part of the Jets' long-term plans in addition to Pavalec, which makes the veteran netminders contract a little bit less of a consideration. Hutchinson has also been better than Dubnyk thus far with a 1.87 GAA and .937 save percentage in 15 contests. However, while Dubnyk has been competing with a goaltender that's having a horrendous season in Mike Smith, Hutchinson's been facing stiffer competition in Pavalec. With a 2.34 GAA and .913 save percentage in 25 contests, Pavalec hasn't exactly been a burden to the team. All the same, Hutchinson should get roughly half of the Jets remaining starts, which makes him a good addition to most fantasy rosters.