Fantasy Hockey Puck Drops: No need to save Jacob Markstrom for the rest of the season

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb (3). (Photo by Ethan Cairns/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
With just two goals in 29 games, Brayden McNabb is a cut candidate in most fantasy hockey leagues. (Photo by Ethan Cairns/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Michael Finewax, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The NHL is heading into its 10th week of the 2023-24 season, and most fantasy leagues are closing in on the halfway mark of the regular season. Hopefully, your team has established itself as a top team, or at least a playoff contender. Let's consider some players who are rostered in ample Yahoo leagues but who could be easily dropped.

Jacob Markstrom, G, Calgary Flames (57% rostered)

Markstrom didn't pick a good time to get hurt (is there ever a good time?) as he has given Dustin Wolf — the Flames' goaltender of the future — every opportunity to become the No. 1 goaltender in Calgary. Markstrom suffered a broken finger during practice a week ago and is still considered week-to-week. He was in the midst of another substandard season beforehand, as he is 6-8-2 with a 2.94 GAA and .896 save percentage. Wolf has been stellar the last two seasons in the AHL and the 22-year-old is poised to get his shot either this season, or at the very least, next year. If Wolf succeeds, Markstrom could find himself traded and will likely provide backup goaltending to a Stanley Cup contender which needs insurance. Nevertheless, Markstrom is not worth keeping in most leagues at this time.

Viktor Arvidsson, LW, Los Angeles Kings (47% rostered)

Arvidsson seemed like a good pickup on draft day, as he had 26 goals and 59 points in 77 games with the Kings last season, until it was determined the night before the season that he had a back injury. The injury turned into back surgery and he was expected to be gone for months. The NHL is two months into its campaign and there is still no sign of his return. I'm in a deep league with 14 teams and 30 players and I just dumped him, as I couldn't afford to hold onto him. It seems that almost half of Yahoo leagues are doing the same thing. There is no guarantee that Arvidsson will return in the near future and there is certainly no guarantee that he will be productive if he does return.

Brayden McNabb, D, Vegas Golden Knights, (46% rostered)

If blocked shots are a category in your fantasy league, then McNabb is worth keeping. But if you are expecting hits as well, this season isn't really his best. McNabb has averaged close to 2.5 hits per game throughout most of his career, but he has only 36 in 29 games this season. Maybe his 32-year-old body can't handle it anymore and he's trying to become more effective without hitting. He has two goals and nine assists in 29 games and could be headed for a career-high, but 30-plus points doesn't crack it in most pools.

David Perron, RW, Detroit Red Wings (41% rostered)

Perron was offered an in-person hearing for his cross-check on Artem Zub on Saturday. That's not good, as Perron received a six-game suspension for the hit. Perron's status as a top-six forward could be in doubt as well, as the Red Wings welcomed Patrick Kane to their roster Thursday. Perron has only seven goals and 13 points in 26 games, and only two assists in his last six contests. He has to beat out Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Lucas Raymond and Robby Fabbri to remain on the top two lines, and that may be hard to do upon his return.

Neal Pionk, D, Winnipeg Jets (33% rostered)

Pionk had a four-game point streak in mid-November, but it has been a famine since then as he has been unable to hit the scoresheet in his last eight games. Pionk has had at least 32 points in each of his last four seasons, but the 28-year-old has only a goal and eight helpers in 26 games thus far. Pionk has had one power-play point this season, despite seeing a tick over two minutes per game with the man advantage.