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Draft Guide

Drop Trends: Abandon Columbus?

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

There's only one team that hasn't recorded a point yet and it's the Columbus Blue Jackets.  They've been horrendous so far and as you'll see, fantasy owners are abandoning some of their players as a result.  Is that the right move though?  We'll discuss it more below...

 

Logan Couture (SJS - C/LW)

 

Dropped: 2,167 times

Why: A fractured right fibula has sidelined him for four-to-six weeks.

Recommendation: If someone in your league has dropped him, pick him up.  Missing a month is a significant, but not major blow in the grand scheme of things and Couture is worth the wait.  After all, he had 27 goals and 67 points in 82 games last season and he's a reasonable bet to finish the 2015-16 with that kind of points per game average.  Even if you don't have a free IR slot but are in a position to let him sit on the bench for the next month, I would seriously consider grabbing him.  Needless to say that if you do own him, I recommend waiting this injury out.

 

Jack Johnson (D - CLM)

 

Dropped: 1,360 times

Why: He plays for Columbus.

Recommendation: The Blue Jackets have been an absolute disaster and because he logs big minutes for them, Johnson is tied for the league-low with a minus-eight rating in six games.  It seems unreasonable to believe that any team with paid employees is capable of maintaining this terrible level through a full 82 game season, but that doesn't mean that Columbus' rebound will be significant.  As optimistic as people were about the Blue Jackets going into the season, it's entirely possible that they will end up in the hunt for Auston Matthews rather than a playoff spot.  In other words, Johnson's plus/minus might continue to be a drag over the course of the season, but he still should be good for 30-40 points despite being limited to one point in six contests thus far.  Is that level of production worth the plus/minus hit?  That's going to depend on your situation, but I will say that if you can afford to give Johnson another week while having him spend that time on your bench, then it would be best to do so.  Perhaps Columbus will start to show signs of life in the near future - or fire coach Todd Richards and get a spark out of that.

 

Radim Vrbata (RW - VAN)

 

Dropped: 1,083 times

Why: He has no points in five games.

Recommendation: Sidney Crosby has no points in five games.  It's annoying, but a lack of production at the start of the season isn't, by itself, a reason to drop a player.  That being said, Vrbata is no Crosby and he's also not playing alongside a guy like Phil Kessel.  Instead Vrbata typically plays with the promising, but still not very offensively imposing Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.  In terms of five-on-five ice time, Vrbata has logged five minutes or less with each of the Sedin twins.  Which is to say that Vrbata hasn't been given a lot to work with and that's the bigger concern.  I would still rather wait at least another week before pulling the plug on him, but I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility that Vrbata is dealing with more than a cold start.

 

Sergei Bobrovsky (G - CLM)

 

Dropped: 945 times

Why: He has a 5.07 GAA and .835 save percentage in five games.

Recommendation: Some will be quick to point the finger at Columbus' defense rather than Bobrovsky, but a fantasy owner can reasonably respond with: Why should I care?  The statistics are the single most important thing in fantasy hockey for obvious reasons and while looking beyond that might provide us with context that will help us predict what's to come, that's not the case here.  If the defense is the problem rather than Bobrovsky, then all that means is that whether or not Bobrovsky's season is salvaged from a statistical perspective is at the hands of the defense rather than the goaltender - and frankly, that just makes him less likely to rebound in my mind as I have less confidence in the Blue Jackets' defense than the former Vezina Trophy winner.  Additionally, Bobrovsky's confidence is, by his own admission, shot, and that's pretty concerning on its own.  All that being said, like many of my recommendations at this stage, I wouldn't drop Bobrovsky yet.  This time it's for a slightly different reason though: a good starting goaltender is very hard to replace.  If Bobrovsky does bounce back and you dropped him after five starts, then that could be the move that cost you the season.

 

David Savard (D - CLM)

 

Dropped: 844 times

Why: He plays for Columbus.

Recommendation: Fantasy owners are jumping ship.  Like Johnson, Savard is tied for the league-low with a minus-eight rating in six games and while that might continue to drag on him all season, he's still a decent bet to finish with 30-40 points.  The advice I gave for Johnson applies here too: Whether or not Savard's offensive production outweighs his plus/minus comes down to your situation, but in either scenario, I would recommend holding out at least a little longer to see if Columbus can break out of its early season funk. 

Ryan Dadoun
Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.