Calgary Flames

NHL Fantasy: Players to cut bait with after the first two weeks of the season

The 2023–24 season is looking like it’ll be one for the ages. With so many intriguing storylines already through the opening two weeks, the drama is at an all-time high and shouldn’t cool down anytime soon. From Jack Hughes channelling his inner Connor McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers at the bottom of the standings, the Connor Bedard hype everywhere you go, and a Heritage Classic this weekend featuring two Alberta teams in complete disarray, it’s been nothing but eventful these past two weeks.

In fantasy hockey, there are already some early no-brainer decisions you need to seriously consider, or you could be saddled with deadweight for weeks to come. Here are five players to cut bait with two weeks into the season.

All the owned percentages are based on Yahoo! leagues.

Jonathan Huberdeau – LW – CGY

  • Preseason Rank: 152
  • Current Rank: 336
  • Ownership: 73%

The Calgary Flames are awful. As a site that covers this team on a daily basis, it pains me to say that it’s time to straight up drop Jonathan Huberdeau from your fantasy roster. He looks absolutely nothing like the game-breaker he was in Florida, is soft on the puck, has zero chemistry with any of his linemates, and has logged under 15 minutes of time on ice in two of his past three games. If you can somehow trade him and recoup some value from him, congratulations. Otherwise, it’s time to move on.

Nazem Kadri – C – CGY

  • Preseason Rank: 189
  • Current Rank: 474
  • Ownership: 52%

Ditto for Nazem Kadri. It just doesn’t look like anything is going to improve with him, and when you have a teammate like Nikita Zadorov publicly insinuate that you’re too selfish and need to be more of a team player, things are clearly not going well. Kadri’s ownership is dropping, currently at 52%, but even that is way too high for what he should be at right now. Centre is a deep position, there is no reason why Kadri should be rostered at this point.

Gustav Forsling – D – FLA

  • Preseason Rank: 183
  • Current Rank: 592
  • Ownership: 58%

With both Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour out to start the year, the PP1 quarterback spot was ripe for the picking. Gustav Forsling was pencilled into that position at the start of the year, and it was his job to lose. Well, he lost it. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is now running point on the Panthers’ power play, and Forsling, though still logging huge minutes, has lost the roster spot that makes defencemen valuable in fantasy hockey.

Hampus Lindholm – D – BOS

  • Preseason Rank: 164
  • Current Rank: 501
  • Ownership: 75%

Hampus Lindholm finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting last year after a massive 10-goal, 53-point season with the Boston Bruins. However, with the return of Charlie McAvoy as a top-tier PP1 quarterback—and the additions of Dmitry Orlov and Kevin Shattenkirk—Lindholm’s offensive potential has taken a hit. He has zero points through seven games, he’s not the high-value defender he was last season. There are better options out there.

Rickard Rakell – RW – PIT

  • Preseason Rank: 101
  • Current Rank: 411
  • Ownership: 60%

Gone are the days when any scrub playing on the wing of either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin made a player fantasy relevant. Rickard Rakell has lined up on Malkin’s right side for the whole season so far and has almost nothing to show for it. With just one assist through seven games, Rakell is averaging a paltry 15:46 TOI, isn’t on the first power play unit, and is shooting almost half a shot less per game than last season. Once again, there are better options out there.

Worst of the rest

Some other options to drop include a pair of Ducks: Cam Fowler who has lost PP1 duties to rookie Pavel Mintyukov, and Trevor Zegras who has lost 1C duties to rookie Leo Carlsson and has just one point this season.

Of course, these trends could change, but fantasy is won on shrewd decision-making and a ruthless approach to team building.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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