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Frozen Fantasy: Stud Dump

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.

It's T-minus eight days until season's end and most Yahoo! leagues are tight. It's time to pull out all the stops - and the drops - to make a final push.

Go big or go home.

I've said that before, but there's no time like now to repeat it. You need to throw caution to the wind - and maybe even your top stars, too - if you think you can make a move in a tightly bunched category.

Bu-bye, Henrik Sedin. Bring it on, Brandon Dubinsky.

Sedin is a lovely playmaker and a total gentleman. But I'm dropping his pretty little butt if I don't need his helpers or power-play production, and I think I can make a move with pure pugilism or snarl. Bad boy Dubinsky might make all the difference in the sin bin category. Or Jay Rosehill might work, too.

Pass the barf bag...please?

It's actually fun to drop a stud when you have nothing to lose. Fingers crossed you add the right guy to catapult you up your tightest category. But even if it doesn't, I can tell you from experience that there's great pleasure to be gained by the panic your move will create amongst your opponents. Particularly those at the top.

Sometimes, that's a win in itself.

Let me explain. A bold move like dropping a stud will set the league leaders into that panic I mentioned. Their first instinct? Snap him up. But all that serves to do is paralyze their rosters for anywhere between 48 and 72 hours while your boy passes through waivers.

See where I'm going?

Sure, it's manipulative, but you need to create as much confusion as possible to gain an advantage. You could add the output of three different players in those 72 hours. Three good fights - or heaven forbid, a game misconduct on top of a fight - can help you overtake one or maybe two teams in a crowded PIMs category.

Know your categories and roll the dice. What's the harm? Not much. And at least you go down throwing punches.

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

Goals

Cody McLeod, LW, Colorado (2 percent owned) - McLeod has good speed and is a great forechecker who doesn't mind throwing his weight around. But he also has decent hands - he did score 15 goals back in 2008-09. He has six snipes, including three in his last two games, in 43 games this season. And he's worth a shot, particularly if you have multi-category needs. Hits plus PIMs, with the chance of a goal? I guess it all depends on your level of desperation.

Brenden Morrow, LW, Pittsburgh (30 percent owned) - Whoa - a trade to Pittsburgh is like a trip to the Cylon Resurrection ship for a fading hockey career. Or at least that's what's happened to Morrow, who's playing like he's got a whole new body and a brand-new view on his hockey life. His ownership has skyrocketed this week (+16 percent) on the coattails of two consecutive, three-point games and a four-game, eight point (five goals, three assists) streak. Two words: must add.

Mats Zuccarello, LW, NY Rangers (1 percent owned) - The Norwegian Hobbit is at it again. He has three goals in his last two games and he's showing that his combination of skill, speed and creativity can make good things happen when he's paired with elite linemates. His size will eventually hold him back, but right now, he's just the kind of sparkplug the Blueshirts need. He'll continue to get time and opportunity on Broadway, and might be a fit for your roster, too.

Assists

Zach Bogosian, D, Winnipeg (17 percent owned) - Now, THIS is the Zach Bogosian we all thought the Jets were getting after they snagged him third overall back in 2008. Bogey's on fire right now - he has six points, including five assists, in his last three games. And he's among those pushing the Jets toward the postseason. You might as well let him push your squad along, too. Go check the wire.

Derick Brassard, C, NY Rangers (14 percent owned) - Bassard has found new life on Broadway. The once-sexy high draft pick has nine points (three goals, six assists) in eight games while wearing his new Original Six togs. He's a gifted playmaker and he's seeing time with Rick Nash at both even strength and on the power play. Maybe he can make that work in New York...it sure didn't click in Columbus.

SOG

Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary (3 percent owned) - This young man is out to prove he can be a top-line center in Calgary. He's ripping rubber to the tune of 40 shots in 10 games in April, and he has five points (two goals, three assists) in that same span. He's a plus-minus risk, but he has a fabulous release. And that means he'll keep using it over and over and over...you get the point. And the shots if you have room for him on your roster.

T.J. Galiardi, LW, San Jose (1 percent owned) - It seems like forever ago that Galiardi tied for sixth in rookie scoring. He has some offensive upside, but a major wrist injury (and subsequent surgery) and a trade have stalled his development. He hasn't done much this season, but he has really picked up his shooting pace in the last week or so. In fact heading into action Thursday, he was tied for fourth in NHL in shots (15) over the previous seven days. And he even had a goal and an assist as a bonus. He hasn't found a puck he doesn't like to fire, so that might help your cause.

Plus-Minus

Andrew MacDonald, D, NY Islanders (1 percent owned) - MacDonald's overall plus-minus doesn't stand out, but his last three weeks have been nothing short of spectacular. Since March 24, MacDonald has a plus-11 rating in 13 games and he's chipped in two goals, two assists and 32 blocked shots in that span, too. And all while being virtually un-owned in Yahoo! leagues. That's a shame.

Dalton Prout, D, Columbus (0 percent owned) - Who? I asked the same thing when I saw his name flash up Thursday after he potted a goal against the Kings. He's not much of an offensive guy, but he plays a sound, stay-at-home game that has delivered a surprising plus-15 rating in 25 games this season. He's plus-six in his last four games and remarkably, he's been a negative in just one of those 25 games. He's the kind of guy you can use to sandbag your gains in that category.

Hit Men

Radko Gudas, D, Tampa Bay (1 percent owned) - Gudas is a Niklas Kronwall-type hitter, but without the offensive upside. He had three more tooth-rattling hits on Thursday night to give him 76 in 19 games. He's averaging four hits a game - can he help you make a move?

Matt Martin, LW, NY Islanders (6 percent owned) - Martin is a one-man wrecking machine. He has a whopping 216 hits in just 44 games this season. That's almost five hits a game! Do the math - he has four games left. That makes him a worthy add if you think you can gain a point in that category.

PIMs

Brandon Dubinsky, LW/C, Columbus (19 percent owned) - Two seasons ago, Dubinsky was in the rarefied air of the elusive 50-100 club (points-PIMs). He dropped off a bit last year, but he's back to his abrasive ways this year - he has 15 points and a whopping 76 PIMs in 26 games. And that includes an ugly 37 PIMs - almost half of his season total - in his last five games. Smells like teen spirit to me. Great song, even if we've never figured out what Kurt Cobain was mumbling...

Jay Rosehill, LW, Philadelphia (1 percent owned) - This punching pylon's new two-year contract will only fuel the fury behind the fists - there's nothing like a little cash to validate a role. And that means he could easily pound his way to 100 PIMs in orange and black before the season is done. It would be a tall feat, but anything's possible with his “talents.”

PP Surprises

Richard Panik, RW, Tampa Bay (1 percent owned) - Panik has high-end offensive talent and has proven he can score goals at the AHL level. He scored a power-play goal Thursday against the Habs and has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last five games. There will always be ups-and-downs, but the Bolts are done and the PP experiments will continue. Panik could surprise.

Carl Soderberg, C, Boston (1 percent owned) - Soderberg has it all - size, skill and a big shot. And that spells salivation - not salvation, although fans might read that into it - for the Bruins and fantasy owners, too. The Swedish-league star who potted 31 goals and 60 points overseas this season skated with Jaromir Jagr and Chris Kelly at practice this week, and he could play as early as Friday. His kind of talent will quickly find its way onto the power play. How many waiver wire freebies come with his pedigree and potential? He's worth the shot.

Caged Crusader

Steve Mason, G, Philadelphia (6 percent owned) - Mason was impressive Tuesday night in a 38-save win over the Rangers. His coach and his mates praised him for his rebound control and he outdueled the great King Henrik. This is just a hunch, but I think there's a chance Mason could carry the mail for the Flyers until season's end. The Flyers are done and starter Ilya Bryzgalov once again failed to impress in a 3-0 loss Thursday night. It's looking more and more like Bryz could be a buyout candidate this offseason so they might just park his carcass and roll Mason. I'm stashing him.

Back to stud dumping.

Word to the wise - look before you leap. Or dump. Don't get too infatuated with the possibility of making a leap in one category at the expense of another tightly-bunched category.

You're smarter than that. But I still had to say it. Not everyone is as bright as you.

There's no magic number related to weighing risk. But let me just say that I'd never be dumping Henrik Sedin if I didn't have a strangle hold on my spot on the helper list. And by stangle hold, I'm talking at least eight helpers with four games to go.

But I dumped so-called sniper Jeff Skinner a week or so ago in one of my leagues. He'd hung on my roster like an anchor - he never really rebounded from that brain bump. My league mates jumped all over him after the drop and that froze them for a brief period.

Advantage me.

And where was Skinner a week later? Back on waivers. And that was before he got hurt again. Sometimes one person's garbage really is just garbage.

Until next season.

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