We're deep enough into the season now where it becomes tempting to drop even good players that suffer significant injuries. Sometimes that decision is clearly justified, as we'll talk about below, but you want to guard against pulling the cutting ties with a player suffering a week-to-week injury too quickly. There might not be a ton of time left in the season, but there's still enough to make those players potentially relevant as part of a final push.
Evander Kane (WPG - LW)
Dropped: 3,134 times
Why? He'll have season-ending shoulder surgery
Recommendation: This one is obvious, so we'll cover the top six this week instead of the normal five, but if you hadn't heard the latest on Kane until now, then you should drop him immediately. The only possible exception is if you're in a keeper league and even then it would have to be a deep one given that Kane, for as talented as he is, is an awfully high-risk keeper.
Michael Hutchinson (WPG - G)
Dropped: 963 times
Why? He's lost four straight games and has allowed four or more goals in three of those contests.
Recommendation: Hutchinson's rookie season has been terrific and I don't think it's necessary to drop him at the first sign of trouble. The Jets as a team have struggled recently (I'm saying that without knowing the outcome of Sunday's contest against Colorado), but they should bounce back and when they do, Hutchinson will get a boost out of it.
Patrick Maroon (ANA - LW)
Dropped: 873 times
Why? Those that picked him up during his recent hot streak and looking for the next trending player after Maroon went pointless in three straight games.
Recommendation: Back on January 25th when Maroon was in what we can now identify as the middle of his hot streak, I recommended picking him up in a Waiver Wired report with this disclaimer, "His value mostly comes from his role as the third man on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. As long as he maintains that role, he’ll have some fantasy value." Well, Maroon is no longer playing on the Ducks' top line and with that in mind, I don't see any compelling reason why fantasy owners in standard leagues should hold onto him. If you do drop him, keep an eye on the Ducks' situation though as he might be worth picking up again down the road if he's moved back to the top line.
Carter Hutton (NAS - G)
Dropped: 822 times
Why? Pekka Rinne's returned from a knee injury.
Recommendation: Hutton was decent while Rinne was gone, but it's not like his 2.72 GAA and .900 save percentage in 2014-15 has been enough to make Nashville think twice about returning the starting job to Rinne. Hutton will get the occasional start, especially once Nashville starts to shift its focus to preparing for the playoffs and consequently looks to rest Rinne a bit more. That being said, for fantasy owners, Hutton's just not going to play enough to make it worth owning him.
Kevin Shattenkirk (STL - D)
Dropped: 704 times
Why? Shattenkirk is week-to-week with an abdominal injury.
Recommendation: With the majority of the season already behind us, it's entirely possible that Shattenkirk won't return before the playoffs. Even if he does play again in the regular season, it will likely only be in the context of giving him a few games to shake off the rust before the postseason begins. This isn't quite the same as Evander Kane's situation as there's still an outside chance that Shattenkirk will be able to provide fantasy owners with further value in 2014-15, but we certainly wouldn't fault anyone for dropping him if they lack a free IR spot.
Petr Mrazek (DET - G)
Dropped: 560 times
Recommendation: Mrazek went from being the Red Wings' third-string goaltender to their de facto starter due to the injuries to Gustavsson and Howard. Detroit has excelled during Mrazek's stint and while that hasn't always been due to their goaltending, Mrazek has allowed just two goals over his last three starts. Maybe that's enough to keep him in the NHL, but I wouldn't count on it. Howard is still the guy in Detroit and it would make more sense to return Mrazek to the minors where he can play regularly than to carry three goaltenders or try to unload Gustavsson. There's no need to drop Mrazek until Howard is officially back, but at the same time, I imagine by this time next week, getting rid of Mrazek will look like an obvious move.