The trade deadline around the corner and we've started to see the first few significant moves trickle in, but there's naturally much more on the way. You'll see some of the benefactors of those future deals show up in Waiver Wired reports, but the flipside is that trades are also likely to influence the drop trends in the near-term.
With that in mind, this week might prove to be the calm before the storm as Saturday's trends were still being dominated by player struggles and injuries. There's some interesting names on this list though, so let's get into it:
Petr Mrazek (DET - G)
Dropped: 2,837 times
Recommendation: This is a bit of an unusual case in the sense that the Detroit Red Wings haven't actually sent Mrazek to the minors despite the fact that their top two goaltenders are back. That's led to speculation that Mrazek might end up taking the backup gig from Gustavsson. Ultimately, I think what it will come down to in the goaltending trade market. If Detroit can get something decent for Gustavsson, then maybe it would make sense for them to part ways with him. However, given the Jhonas Enroth and Devan Dubnyk deals, it would seem the best they could hope for would be a third-round pick in exchange for Gustavsson. Given that, I think the more likely scenario is that Detroit will return Mrazek to the minors so that he can play more regularly. So while all hope isn't lost for Mrazek owners, I don't think you're taking a big risk if you dump him.
Steve Downie (PIT - LW/RW)
Dropped: 1,163 times
Why? He hasn't recorded a point in seven straight games and was a healthy scratch on Thursday.
Recommendation: Downie's offensive value has come in waves, but it does exist as evidenced by his nine goals and 22 points in 49 contests. When measured along with his 173 penalty minutes, Downie still isn't a bad guy to gamble on in standard leagues. The X-factor in all of this is the recent rumors that Pittsburgh might trade him before the deadline in order to create the cap space necessary to acquire help in a more critical area. That could either help or hurt him depending on his destination and the role his new squad would see him playing in. If you can afford to bench him during his cold stretch, I think it's a better alternative to dropping him, but regardless of which action you decide to take, Downie is someone worth keeping a close eye on.
Zdeno Chara (BOS - D)
Dropped: 978 times
Why? Time has caught up with him
Recommendation: Chara had 40 points last season, but he'll be 38 in March and his age is unfortunately starting to show. He has three goals and 13 points in 36 contests and I don't see him substantially improving on that pace in the final two months of the season. With that in mind, I think it's perfectly understandable for teams to explore their alternatives to see if they can upgrade their defense at the expense of Chara.
Patrick Eaves (DAL - RW)
Dropped: 811 times
Why? He sustained a concussion on Friday.
Recommendation: At least he didn't sustain any skull fractures when he was struck in the head by the puck. The reality is that we have no way of knowing how long he'll be out. It's not surprising that people are concerned, especially seeing as he was sidelined from Nov. 26, 2011 until Jan. 21, 2013 because of a concussion. Hopefully the concussion he is currently dealing with won't prove to be nearly as serious. If you can afford to wait another week to gain more insight into the severity of his injury then that would be preferable as there's still a chance he won't be gone for too long.
Craig Smith (NAS - C/RW)
Dropped: 586 times
Why? He was on an eight-game point drought
Recommendation: He had a goal and an assist Saturday night, so if your only motivation for dropping him was the fact that he was cold, that seems moot now. Smith is a decent forward, but it's not as if he's irreplaceable, so whether or not it's right for you to drop him is purely circumstantial. He doesn't look out of place as a free agent in standard leagues and for many fantasy owners, there are potentially better options available to be picked up. So while his drought is no longer a reason to abandon him, there are still plenty of justifiable reasons to drop him.