Although this week's Drop Trends features players that have been potentially marginalized due to the return of others as well as players that suffered significant injuries, but Saturday's leader in drops is in a less common category. John Klingberg has endured a very rough patch and is being casted aside by fantasy owners for it, which begs the question: When is it right to be reactionary and when is patience necessary?
Obviously, it becomes increasingly difficult to be patient as we move towards the finish line, but even at this stage there's reason to look beyond the short-term. I think an important gauge when trying to put a slump into context is the player's past history. If a player's success is a substantial deviation from their norm, then that slump might actually just be things balancing out and something similar could be said for a top-tier player that going through a cold patch.
But what about rookies like Klingberg, where we really don't have a lot of history to lean on. Let's look at him specifically...
John Klingberg (DAL - D)
Dropped: 1,796 times
Why? He's minus-11 in his last five games.
Recommendation: As ugly as that is, I can't recommend dropping him. As a rookie he's going to be streaky and his plus/minus isn't going to continue to plummet in that fashion. The important thing is that he's capable of chipping in significantly from an offensive standpoint. After recording five goals and 13 points in 13 January games, he added another eight points in 13 February contests. Even over his last five games he still recorded two assists. Ride out the rough patch because there should be light at the end of the tunnel.
John Gibson (ANA - G)
Dropped: 1,335 times
Why? Frederik Andersen is back.
Recommendation: If you already have three strong starters without Gibson and were just looking at him as a supplement while the Ducks were leaning heavily on him, then you can consider yourself justified in dropping him. However, if you're cutting ties with him simply because you feel he'll slide into the backup role, then you might be jumping the gun. Gibson is a skilled goaltender in his own right with a lot of potential and he should give Andersen a run for his money now that they're both healthy. Andersen still has the edge, but it's not a big one and with that in mind I wouldn't assume that Gibson is going to be limited to just a couple starts in March.
Curtis McElhinney (CLM - G)
Dropped: 1,152 times
Why? Sergei Bobrovsky is back.
Recommendation: In contrast to Gibson, I have no issue with people dropping McElhinney now. The difference is that McElhinney really isn't a threat to wrestle away the starting job from Bobrovsky. In fact, now that Bobrovsky is healthy, McElhinney probably won't be getting much playing time at all. Granted, Columbus is already out of the playoff race, so the Blue Jackets have no reason to lean exclusively on Bobrovsky, but he should still end up getting the vast majority of their remaining starts.
Patrick Kane (CHI - C/RW)
Dropped: 1,084 times
Why? He has left clavicle fracture.
Recommendation: Kane is out for the rest of the regular season, so this is unfortunately a no-brainer. Unless you're in a keeper league, drop Kane. I'll cover a sixth player to make up for Kane being a black and white case.
Scott Darling (CHI - G)
Dropped: 1,029 times
Why? He allowed four goals on 29 shots on Friday.
Recommendation: This was probably a combination of people that picked him up with the intention of only using him in the one start (and thus promptly dropped him the following day) and those that were overly optimistic about his future after his 34-save win against Florida on Tuesday and then sourced on him just as quickly. Darling should be a capable backup goaltender for Chicago now that he seems to have surpassed Antti Raanta in the depth charts. Just don't expect him to get a lot of playing time over Corey Crawford.
Brandon Dubinsky (CLM - C/LW)
Dropped: 895 times
Why? He's out indefinitely with a concussion.
Recommendation: The thing to keep in mind with concussions is that there's no telling how long they'll last. There's only six weeks left in the season so I can't fault those that drop him. In fact, I would recommend it over allowing him to occupy a bench spot at this stage of the season. He just simply doesn't have the upside to justify the sacrifice on the off-chance that he returns soon enough to make an impact. If it's feasible for you to store him away on your IR list though - I realize he doesn't have IR eligibility yet, but I imagine that's not far off - then that's at least worth considering.