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Fantasy hockey drops: It’s time to cut Andrei Kuzmenco


Erik Gustafsson has been demoted to the second line, and his numbers show it, making him relegated in fantasy leagues. (Photo by Justin Bell/Getty Images)

Yahoo Sports Special Report

Since the Christmas break is only three weeks away, it’s probably time to take some action to keep your ranking high, or try to get back into the game. We have several goaltenders who are not playing at the NHL level and two other players who have had their playing time reduced. The beauty of the NHL talent pool is that there are a lot of good players who never get drafted, as most fantasy leagues select less than 200 active or injured players in a league with over 700 players and goaltenders.

Let’s consider some players who are easily off the roster in the Yahoo League.

Frederik Andersen, G, Carolina Hurricanes (73% played)

Anderson is out indefinitely with a blood clotting issue. He missed the last month and there’s no guarantee he’ll return this season. That would keep Anderson out for much of the year due to injury or illness in three of the last four seasons. Anderson has really excelled in his last three starts after a mediocre start to the year. He went 4-1-0 in six starts, allowing 15 goals on 142 shots. You can’t really count on Anderson returning this season, and if he does, it might be too late, as Peter Kochetkov will likely usurp his spot as the Hurricanes’ No. 1 netminder.

Andrei Kuzmenko, LH, Vancouver Canucks (71% rostered)

Kuzmenco has four goals and 15 points in 22 games this season. Typically, those totals would be enough to keep him in your fantasy lineup, but a closer look reveals he could be benched or released. Kuzmenco had a good start, scoring 3 goals and 14 points in the first 16 games, but only had 1 assist in the last 6 games, missing one game due to a facial injury, and two games due to injury. The first team fell to the first team. Finished second at even strength and on the power play.

You might be tempted to keep Kuzmenco because he scored 39 goals and 74 points in 81 games during his rookie season in 2022-23, but he certainly isn’t worthy of starting right now.

Erik Gustafsson, G, New York Rangers (37% played)

Gustafson lost the quarterback job on the first power play of the week as Adam Fox returned from a lower-body injury and had four carries in three games, two of which ended with People advantage. Gustafsson was demoted to the second team. Gustafsson has not yet been selected. In the three games since Fox’s return, he has scored one goal and contributed 10 assists in the 10 games that Fox has missed. Gustafsson is a good player, but maybe at this time There are better defensive players.

Devon Levi, G, Buffalo Sabers (33% played)

Levy was sent to the minors a week ago, which was the right move. The Sabers signed Levy out of Northeastern University in March 2023 and immediately listed him as the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper after last season. Levy went 5-2 last season without playing in any games. -0, GAA of 2.94, save percentage of .905 as the presumptive starter for the Sabers this season. But after a rough start (3-4-1, 3.73 GAA and .876 save percentage) it was clear he needed to regain his confidence at the AHL level.

Levi achieved a record of 1 win, 1 draw and 0 losses this weekend, conceding 6 goals in 76 shots. He was outstanding in Friday’s 3-2 shootout at Belleville, stopping 40 shots, but he has allowed four goals on 21 shots over the past two periods. In Saturday’s loss, Levy Will eventually return to the NHL, but he may not have any fantasy value this season.

Artturi Lehkonen, left guard, Colorado Avalanche (32% of roster)

I don’t think Raikkonen is ready to return as he is still on long-term injured reserve. He suffered a neck injury on November 10 and although the brace has come off, Raikkonen has yet to return to training. He’s on the first unit when healthy, and if you really like him, bring him back a week or so before he’s ready to activate. Raikkonen did have three goals and eight points in 12 games, with half of those points coming on the power play. I just don’t see him getting back into action anytime soon.



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