Fantasy Hockey Drop Candidates: Say goodbye to these subpar contributors

Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71)

Currently ranked 41st in scoring among centers, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin can be dropped to make room for other players on fantasy rosters. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Michael Finewax, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, leaving plenty of players with new roles. To make room for any exciting new arrivals on your fantasy hockey roster, someone has to go. The players I mention below all remain on their original teams, and all could be easily dropped despite being rostered in a substantial number of Yahoo leagues.

Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (82% rostered)

Is it time to give up on Malkin? The Penguins aren’t going anywhere and Malkin seems disinterested of late. He had not registered a shot on goal, a hit or a blocked shot in three straight games before getting a shot on goal and a hit on Tuesday in Ottawa, as well as an assist on the lone Pittsburgh goal with 23 seconds remaining in the third period. Coach Mike Sullivan has moved Malkin down to the second power-play unit, meaning he isn’t playing alongside Sidney Crosby. It’s a tough decision to let Malkin go, and I wouldn’t do it in deeper leagues, but you could get rid of him in shallow pools. Malkin has 18 goals and 49 points in 64 games, by far the worst performance in his NHL career. Malkin is currently in 41st place in the scoring race among centers. There are plenty of better choices at this time.

Jeff Skinner, LW, Buffalo Sabres (71% rostered)

Skinner snapped a three-game pointless streak Tuesday with a goal versus Detroit. The bad news is that Skinner is no longer seeing first-line action with Tage Thompson and Alex Tuch, rather playing on the third line with Peyton Krebs and JJ Peterka. Skinner has also been dropped from the first power play, and that has to hurt his fantasy value. Skinner has 21 goals and 41 points in 58 games, and like Malkin above, he could be kept in deep leagues, but he doesn’t need to be on your team in shallow pools.

Sean Durzi, D, Arizona Coyotes, (64% rostered)

Durzi has eight goals and 32 points in 60 games, including 14 points on the power play, but he is pointless in his last five outings. He’s worth holding onto in deeper leagues, but you could easily drop him in shallow pools as he’s tied for 33rd among defensemen in points and sits 36th in average points per game. He hasn’t had a point at even strength since Jan. 25, a span of 19 games. All four of his points during that time frame have come on the power play.

Mark Stone, RW, Vegas Golden Knights (77% rostered)

It baffles me why Stone is kept in so many leagues when it’s doubtful that he’s going to return before the end of the season. Stone was having a great season with 53 points in 56 games before he went down with an upper-body injury on Feb. 20, but he always seems to miss a huge chunk of the season due to injuries. His best total in a Vegas jersey was 65 games in 2019-20, though he did manage to play in 55 of 56 games in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign. There seems to be no reason to hold onto him, even in keeper leagues.

Brayden McNabb, D, Vegas Golden Knights, (31% rostered)

McNabb is good in a couple of categories, as he has 104 hits and 169 blocked shots, but if you don’t play those categories, he isn’t a good fantasy asset. McNabb has three goals and 20 points in 64 games this season, and while that is the second-best offensive season of his 12-year NHL career, it’s still not good enough to have him on your fantasy roster, unless you play the funky categories.