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Frozen Fantasy: Spoil the Party

Janet Eagleson

Janet Eagleson

Janet Eagleson is a four-time winner of the Hockey Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

You're losing. Don't pout – go out and ruin it for someone else.

It's almost as good as winning.

You've heard the word spoiler before – it's tossed around in the NHL by those teams that can't possibly make the playoffs. We've seen many a good team have its hopes dashed by a hot bottom dweller.

So why not replicate that in fantasy?

Your league probably has guys that gave up a long time ago. I have a word for that but it's not worth wasting pixels on it. There's no excuse for ignorance.

Suck it up. And start playing the spoiler.

The Friends and Family league is a prime example. We have two owners at the top – Yahoo!'s own Scott Pianowski and Rotowire.com's Peter Maingot – who are duking it out for top spot. They've been throwing jabs and upper cuts at each other for weeks. It's actually fun to watch.

But the real fun is yet to come.

I just happened to be one point (one goal) behind Piano Man in the goals category and I was tied with Maingot in goalie wins before action Thursday night. I won with Ondrej Pavelec to take a half-point from the latter. And I'm one streak from Steven Stamkos away from making a move on the former.

Their destinies may actually be in my hands (and the hands of one or two other owners… if they play spoilers, too).

And if I can't win, I might as well make them miserable, too.

I highly recommend you try this in your league – it might sound vicious but it's really quite satisfying. And it's a great way to keep your mind off your upcoming baseball draft).

Now let's take a look at who caught my eye this week.

MULTI-CATEGORY HELP

Jamie Benn, LW, Dallas (36 percent owned) – March has been kind to this former fifth-round pick. He's riding a nine-game scoring streak this month with goals in eight of those nine. Add five helpers and you have 13 points, including remarkable special-teams production (three power-play goals, two short-handed goals, one short-handed assist). I've talked about him before; you know I love his combination of talent, determination and edge. He really should be owned in a lot more than one in three leagues.

PIM

Steve Ott, C, Dallas (20 percent owned) – Sure, there aren't a lot of people out there who actually like this guy – he's an arse. But he's an excellent source of penalty minutes and he's not a complete stiff on the offensive ledger. He scored the game-winning goal Thursday on a breakaway feed from Brad Richards, one night after taking an errant elbow to the jaw courtesy of the now-suspended Dany Heatley (now, there's an arse). Ott has 11 goals, 28 points and a whopping 183 PIMs this year and could give your sin bin a real boost.

POWER PLAY

Derek Joslin, D, Carolina (0 percent owned) – Jamie McBain is out; Joslin is in. Joslin has offensive upside but hasn't really gotten a chance – not in San Jose nor in Carolina. But McBain's injury has opened the door and Joslin is getting his time on the power-play. He's a risk/reward pick at this point in the season. But there's not much on the wire, now is there?

P.A. Parenteau, RW, NY Islanders (12 percent owned) – I've mentioned him before but even I thought he'd fade – I didn't really believe. But this career AHL journeyman hasn't slowed down. March has been kind to him – he has nine points (three goals, six assists three of which came on the PP) in eight games and he's on a 20-goal, 55-point pace overall. Totals like that deserve 100 percent ownership in standard 12-team leagues. So what are you waiting for?

PLUS-MINUS

Willie Mitchell, D, Los Angeles (1 percent owned) – Need plus-minus? Mitchell's your man… or at least he was last week. He was plus-6 in the three games heading into Thursday night and he's a combined plus-93 over his 631-game career. He's otherwise a boring sod but a plus is a plus. And the “cheapest” spot to get your plus boost is in your number four spot on the blue line.

GOALS

Matt D'Agostini, RW, St. Louis (4 percent owned) – D'Agostini probably has a little card in his wallet that says, carpe diem – and he actually lives that motto. He has stepped up large since Alexander Steen went down to injury and in his last four games, he has four goals, three assists and a plus-6 rating. I snapped him up – he's way hotter than my Jason Pominville (32 percent owned) and Devin Setoguchi (34 percent owned). And a whole lot healthier than Loui Eriksson (95 percent owned). Sigh...

Matt Moulson, LW, NY Islanders (40 percent owned) – How many guys who have had back-to-back 30 goal seasons get this little respect? Last year, just 24 men hit that plateau; this year, there might be a couple more do the same. I'll admit that I didn't think he was for real; again, I was wrong. He may hit 35 this season – what will five goals do for you?

Radim Vrbata, RW, Phoenix (21 percent owned) – This slight sniper snapped an eight-game goal drought with a power-play strike Thursday night. He, too, is on a three-game scoring streak and he does tend to streak. It all comes down to how desperate you are…

ASSISTS

Tyler Kennedy, LW/C, Pittsburgh (17 percent owned) – Kennedy is feisty and small, and is best used as a rat-like forechecker. But he's been elevated into an offensive role given all of the injuries to the bow-tied birds and he's found flight on the top line with Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz. He has a goal and four helpers in his last two games.

Blake Wheeler, RW, Atlanta (10 percent owned) – Wheeler has found new life in Hot-lanta – he's one of the few deadline guys whose fantasy value has actually spiked up. The big man's assist Thursday gives him nine points in 12 games for the brown birds; those points are split almost evenly between goals and assists. There's real chemistry on his line with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little – Ladd's the muscle, Little's the sniper and Wheeler's the set-up man. He's the finesse guy on the line; those helpers are bound to come.

GOALIE POINTS

Ray Emery, G, Anaheim (4 percent owned) – I thought Emery was done but man, did he prove me wrong. Scoop him up now – he's as athletic and almost as mobile as he was pre-surgery. And it looks like he might have finally gained some much-needed maturity. He looked great Wednesday night against St. Loo. And that may just deliver desperate owners some of the only goalie points currently available on the wire.

FOR THE TRULY DESPERATE

Marcus Johansson, C, Washington (4 percent owned) – Johansson has stepped up large into the skates of Nicklas Backstrom whose busted thumb has kept him out of my playoff roster – I mean, fantasy rosters everywhere. No, I'm not bitter. Johansson has stepped up to fill Nick's skates and he's showing real chemistry with Alexander Ovechkin. The gig might only last another game or two. But until then, Johansson might deliver a few fantasy points for you.

Jacob Josefson, C, New Jersey (0 percent owned) – Josefson is the Devils' best prospect – he's strong on the puck and great in the cycle, and his two-way game is just what you'd expect for a Jersey pick – evolved. And while it's generally tough to slot a rookie into one of your center spots, Josefson has quietly put together a three-game streak (two goals, two assists) that might help if you have games to give down the middle. At worst, he's a guy to remember over the next couple seasons.

Lauri Korpikoski, LW, Phoenix (3 percent owned) – Yes, Korpikoski is a great little defensive player; he might even be one of the 'Yotes best. But Mr. Responsible has delivered more than solid D this year – he has put up career numbers and is quietly on a three-game, four-point streak (two goals, two helpers). You need guys on streaks; I know I do.

Back to spoilage.

Don't get me wrong – playing spoiler isn't personal (well, maybe it is for some of you; I won't judge you for it). There's nothing better than chirping your opponents, either on the ice or in fantasy.

I have a bit of reputation for the former; I'm not about to change things in the latter. Give it a try – it brings a whole new meaning to bragging rights if you were the reason why a top team faltered.

And that story will only get better with each barley sandwich.

Until next week.


Friends and Family league