Just five or six games into the season and some fantasy squads are already fading from the championship mix. This is thanks in no small part to some (so-called) stars who have stumbled out of the gate. Here are 10 players who need to get their acts together, if only to save their fantasy owners from injuring a hand by punching the computer screen.
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
His ice time is around where it usually is, but his PP time has disappeared. He had no PP time as a rookie, either, so expect his end production to be around where 2011-12 was and not where last season's team-leading numbers were.
Advice: Sell high while other poolies still value him.
Jiri Tlusty, Carolina Hurricanes
This one is a big concern because he really has just one season of fantasy value under his belt. Such an unproven body of work makes him an easy cast-off from fantasy squads if he slumps. Tlusty is still lining up with the big guns Eric Staal and Alexander Semin, but his ice time is dwindling game by game.
Advice: Nobody will touch him with a 10-foot pole, but give him at least another five games before cutting him loose. I think he'll get going, but you can only wait so long.
Artem Anisimov, Columbus Blue Jackets
Anisimov is still getting decent ice time and PP time, but he is no longer playing with either Marian Gaborik or Cam Atkinson. Without either of the team's two best wingers on his line, he may as well be passing the puck to the hot dog vendor.
Advice: Depending on the rules of your league and the ease of transactions, he should be benched or dropped for the foreseeable future.
Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars
Goligoski is Dallas’ top defenseman and he's also more of a power play specialist. However, the Stars are employing four forwards and Sergei Gonchar for their top unit, so Goligoski is out in the cold.
Advice: Even with this information, he's better than he's shown so far. This is a “buy low” situation and Goligoski would really fly if Gonchar were to get injured.
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
One stinkin' point in seven games and a minus-3, despite getting more than 25 minutes per game. Thank goodness he has an obscene amount of PIM (12).
Advice: Doughty will get his 40 points one way or another, but don't expect a surge to his pre-Sutter levels. Best to trade the big name and get big-name value for him.
David Desharnais, Montreal Canadiens
Desharnais was afflicted by a terrible sickness on March 15 called "contractitis." Prior to signing his contract, he had 76 points in 109 games. Since putting pen to paper, he has just 14 in 32 (regular season and playoffs).
Advice: Odds of a turnaround seem slim, given that Max Pacioretty is struggling with minor injuries pretty frequently these days. And Desharnais seems lost without Max-Pac. Time to bail.
Michael Del Zotto, New York Rangers
Pointless and minus-6 after five games, Del Zotto has had a miserable start. But who on the Rangers hasn't? Even Derek Stepan, who has five points in five games, is a minus-7.
Advice: Buy low. He's still “the man” on the PP and the Rangers aren't this bad (are they?).
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Just two points in seven games and he has yet to score a goal. Not even a new coach has managed to coax Giroux back to his superstar self.
Advice: Come on, it's Claude frickin' Giroux. Grab him from a panicky owner and enjoy the turnaround. Although, under a defensive coach, do not expect a return to 80 points this year.
Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Normally a steady 50-point player, give or take, Yandle has just one point in seven games. His power play time has been cut to 2:08 per game, which actually sits him behind Michael Stone!
Advice: Unless he gets traded, a decline is probably in the cards. But nothing crazy like his current 0.14 points-per-game average indicates. Think 42 to 47 points. So this is a “buy low” situation.
Martin Erat, Washington Capitals
Sometimes, your coach just doesn't like you. Just look at Ron Wilson and Cody Franson. If Wilson hadn't been fired, Franson would be playing in Europe right now instead of ripping up the scoresheet. Well, Erat is stuck with nine minutes per game of ice time and has zero points to show for it so far.
Advice: Bail. Make the most of it, take what you can get in a trade or just dump him. His only hope is an injury to a Washington winger.
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