Take off your glasses because it is time to get myopic. With only five weeks remaining in the regular season, you don’t have time to wait patiently for players to turn the ship around. If they aren’t scoring, they are waiver fodder. This week’s fantasy hockey Hot/Not list strongly advocates for dropping cold players such as:
Claude Giroux – C – Flyers
Giroux’s production at even strength has all but dried up. He has been one of the worst scorers at 5-on-5 this season, netting just 0.79 points/60. On the power play, Giroux has been much better, but even that has failed him lately. With just one goal and five points in 14 games since the all-star break, Giroux has been hurting more than helping. Consider finding yourself a replacement.
Ryan Suter – D – Wild
Defencemen are fickle beasts. Unless you are dealing with Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson, a top defenceman is going to have some extended stretches where he does not produce. Suter is mired in one of those with just four points in 15 games since the all-star break. He’s a 45-point defenceman on a cold streak. Are you going to ride it out?
Vladimir Tarasenko – RW – Blues
Tarasenko has been held scoreless in five straight games. This is not enough of a sample size to induce panic, but rather to sound some alarms. The Blues have scored just four goals in three games without Kevin Shattenkirk, and the majority of those goals came against the lowly Avalanche. Don’t bail on Tarasenko yet, but do consider it if he continues to falter.
Justin Faulk – D – Hurricanes
Faulk hasn’t scored since the Hurricanes’ bye week – nine straight games worth of goose eggs. He had a hot run of play at mid-season, but that is long forgotten. Faulk produces enough shot volume (2.89 SOG per game) that you could justify keeping him around, but not if there are hotter options on the waiver wire.
Tyler Toffoli – RW – Kings
Consider this a lost year for Toffoli, who was supposed to challenge for 70 points in his fourth season, but was instead derailed by injuries. Since returning, Toffoli has four goals and five points in 14 games, which isn’t going to cut it. Obviously, you want to give Toffoli as much time as possible to play himself back into shape, but the Kings aren’t a great environment for nursing players back to health. Their 2.45 goals per game ranks 24th in the league. Not too many freebie assists for Toffoli to stay afloat with.
Cam Fowler – D – Ducks
Since January 1, the only team with a less-efficient power play than the Ducks (9.4 per cent) are the Rangers. Fowler made his money early on when the Ducks’ power play was among the best in the league. Since then he has just nine points in 27 games. You can’t keep waiting for the Ducks’ power play to figure it out, because they might not.
Colton Parayko – D – Blues
There was hope that Parayko would take over as the top defenceman in St. Louis once Shattenkirk was traded. Bad news, that role has gone to Alex Pietrangelo. Parayko has limped along scoring just two assists in his past 10 games. Not good enough.
Roberto Luongo – G – Panthers
Out with a hip injury, it goes without saying that Luongo is struggling, but even prior to his absence, he was not producing fantasy-friendly numbers. His numbers since the all-star break: 4-2-0, 3.80 GAA, .885 SV%.
Thomas Greiss – G – Islanders
Greiss has been a revelation, but not lately. Since the all-star break he has been quite mediocre: 7-6-1, 3.17 GAA, .892 SV%. Anyone can go through a rough patch and Greiss is winning enough games to remain relevant, but if he’s been starting for you, then you’ve been treading water.
Pekka Rinne – G – Predators
No one is confident rolling with Rinne in fantasy. He still has all-world ability to tap into, but it’s not available on a nightly basis. The result has been maddening inconsistency over the past five seasons and this year has been no different. Rinne since the all-star break: 6-4-0, 3.14 GAA, .892 SV%. That play has Predator fans clamouring for more from backup Juuse Saros. If the playoff race gets tight, the coaches may be forced to oblige.
Bo Horvat – C – Canucks
Since the all-star break Horvat has scored six goals and seven assists in 14 games. Now that he has his running-mate, Sven Baertschi, back from injury, he could get even hotter. There isn’t much to like about the Canucks for fantasy purposes, but Horvat is the real deal.
Jack Eichel – C – Sabres
Eichel has produced like a top-20 fantasy player since returning from injury, throwing up nearly four shots per game while scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace. He is currently riding a 10-game scoring streak, which should keep Sabres fans happy as their season otherwise peters out.
Tyler Johnson – C – Lightning
There aren’t many lines hotter than the Triplets who have taken off of late. Of course, Nikita Kucherov has been productive all season — he is a superstar after all. But Johnson has finally joined him with 17 points in his past 15 games. After the exodus of veterans like Valtteri Filppula and Brian Boyle, the Lightning are looking thin up front, which has meant extended minutes for their big guns. Expect more the rest of the way.
Micheal Ferland – LW/RW – Flames
The Flames have finally found a winger on their roster to click opposite Johnny Gaudreau. We’ve seen flashes of this from Ferland in the past, but can he keep it up? He doesn’t get enough power play time to be consistently awesome, but with five goals in the past seven games he is worth considering.
Mathieu Perreault – C/LW – Jets
Perreault has clicked on a stacked line with Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine. He is currently riding a seven-game scoring streak during which he has piled up 11 points. Not too shabby for someone you can snag off the waiver wire in most leagues.
Brian Elliott – G – Flames
It took him a while, but Brian Elliott has finally settled in to the crease in Calgary. Now he’s taken control and is lighting teams up. Since the all-star break: 9-1-1, 2.19 GAA, .927 SV%. Those are similar numbers to what he put up for St. Louis the past couple of seasons. In other words, he is back and is ready to lead you to a fantasy title.
Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of DobberHockey. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.