Two of the players on this week's list are goaltenders that have seen their situations complicated by veteran goaltenders. When Ilya Bryzgalov and Martin Brodeur entered this season as free agents, it presented an interesting wrinkle to every team's goaltending situations. We knew that in the event of long-term injuries one or both of them would re-enter the league and as it happens, both of them started attracting attention at roughly the same time.
As usual, please keep in mind that this list is based off of the five most dropped players in Yahoo leagues on Saturday.
John Gibson (ANA - G)
Dropped: 1,775 times
Why: He hasn't played since Oct. 30 due to a groin injury and now Ilya Bryzgalov has joined Anaheim on a tryout basis.
Recommendation: It's important to keep in mind that nothing has been finalized with Bryzgalov. He might end up signing with the team, but the Ducks might alternatively decide that it's not in their best interests to put him on the roster. If you held onto Gibson this long, it might be worth your while to hold out one more week to see what happens with Bryzgalov before jumping ship.
Jori Lehtera (STL - C)
Dropped: 1,390 times
Why: He's slowed down somewhat after a hot start.
Recommendation: With a guy like Lehtera, it was hard to know what you'd be getting going into this season. He was a top-tier player at the KHL level, but that doesn't always translate well to North American hockey. In this case, Lehtera got to a terrific start with seven goals and 17 points in his first 16 contests. Since then he's only gotten five assists in 10 games, so it's not surprising that some people are assuming the best is over. He definitely overperformed early this season, but as long as he's playing with Vladimir Tarasenko, he should be a solid option going forward. It's not unreasonable to bet on Lehtera's getting 30-35 points St. Louis' final 55 contests. If you don't think you could do better than that on the free agent market, then keep him.
Johnny Boychuk (NYI - D)
Dropped: 1,240 times
Why: Boychuk will be out for a while due to an upper-body injury, according to coach Jack Capuano.
Recommendation: Whether or not to drop Boychuk in light of these developments will ultimately depend on your circumstances. Boychuk is in a good situation in New York as his 14 points in 21 games highlights, so it would be a shame to drop him, but at the same time, not everyone has the luxury of an open IR slot. If you can't put him on the IR and keeping him on the bench would hinder your team meaningfully, then you might have no recourse but to drop him because it doesn't sound like this is a situation you can easily ride out.
Jake Allen (STL - G)
Dropped: 1,166 times
Recommendation: Allen is a solid backup goaltender, but he's in a difficult situation now. Brodeur is capable of challenging Allen for playing time in the short-term and once Brian Elliott returns from his current lower-body injury, Allen might be pushed out of the picture entirely. That being said, it could be a month or two before Elliott returns, so while Allen's situation isn't great, the danger isn't as immediate as some might feel. Sure Allen had a bad start on Saturday, but those happen and it's not like Brodeur was amazing in his start on Thursday. Allen still has a real shot at the short-term starting gig and that makes him worth holding onto for now if at all possible.
Nino Niederreiter (MIN - LW/RW)
Dropped: 1,062 times
Why: His hot streak is over.
Recommendation: Niederreiter has a ton of upside and we've seen glimpses of that, but he hasn't been able to perform consistently. That's led to people picking him up when he's hot and dumping him at the first sign of trouble. That's pretty much what's happened here as he scored seven goals in the span of eight games, but it only took him being held off the scoresheet for three straight games for people to abandon him. If you like to stick potential breakout players on your bench, then you can do worse than Niederreiter, but if your plans are more day-to-day or week-to-week, then there are certainly hotter players available.