Time to Ice Aaron Ekblad in Fantasy Hockey Puck Drops

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Seth Jones has yet to score even though he’s played 27 games this season. With him about to return from IR, it may be time to move on from him in fantasy leagues. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Special to Yahoo Sports

As the calendar turns to 2024 (and a Happy New Year to all), it’s hard to believe that there are fewer than 12 weeks remaining in the fantasy regular season for those managers playing in head-to-head leagues. Let’s consider some players who are rostered in ample Yahoo leagues and who could be easily dropped.

Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers (71% rostered)

Ekblad finally picked up a pair of assists Saturday, his first two-point game of the season. The problem is that he had only one goal (and no assists) in his previous eight games. He may be rounding into form, as he missed the first 16 games of the season while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but his one goal and seven points in 19 games aren’t doing wonders for your fantasy squad. If you must keep him, then reserve him for now.

Ilya Samsonov, G, Toronto Maple Leafs (34% rostered)

I wanted to put Samsonov on this list last week, but since there was no article during Christmas week, I couldn’t. Samsonov has gone down from 56% to 34% rostership over the last two days and passed through waivers Monday after the Maple Leafs placed him there the previous day. Samsonov was absolutely horrible in his last four starts, giving up 21 goals on only 104 shots, going 0-1-3. He has lost all his confidence, and you have to wonder if he will return to the NHL this season. He is 5-2-6 with a 3.94 GAA and .862 save percentage. His record is as good as it is only because the Maple Leafs are a strong offensive team.

Seth Jones, D, Chicago Blackhawks, (57% rostered)

Jones could return within a week, but his fantasy stats are nothing special. He has 11 assists in 27 games, and it’s not as if the Blackhawks are going to get better offensively over the last half of the season. Jones has only one assist on the power play — after picking up 19 and 12 points in his last two seasons with the man advantage — and even with budding superstar Connor Bedard up front, the Blackhawks are a low-scoring team. It’s OK to hang onto Jones, but you really shouldn’t expect a lot the rest of the way, and there are plenty of better choices in shallower leagues.

Brenden Dillon, D, Winnipeg Jets (32% rostered)

Dillon’s stats look good, but they’re deceiving, as his scoring was big in November. Dillon has five goals and six assists this season, but four of his five goals came in a four-game sequence Nov. 4 -11. Dillon has a goal and three assists in his last 18 games, which is more in line with his career numbers. He does contribute in hits and blocked shots with 92 and 55, respectively, in 35 games, but if you are looking for offensive output, look elsewhere.

Brayden Schenn, C, St. Louis Blues (34% rostered)

Schenn is pointless in his last 10 games. He has eight goals and eight assists in 36 games, so it’s not like he was setting the hockey world on fire with his play before his current streak. Schenn has only two goals and four points on the weak St. Louis power play, despite seeing 2:51 of action – his most in the last four years. Schenn has been surpassed by Robert Thomas as the Blues’ top center, and at the age of 32, his production doesn’t warrant a roster spot in fantasy leagues.

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