Frozen Fantasy: Tough Calls
Frozen Fantasy: Tough Calls

This article is part of our Frozen Fantasy series.

Trade deadline day is quickly approaching. It's decision day for many teams. Buy. Sell.

Or hold your nose and pray.

Fringe teams, both on the ice and in fantasy, carry the heaviest weights. Can you compete in the playoffs? Do you have a real shot to win? What are you willing to pay to try?

The fantasy trade deadline is well before the NHL's, so there's always risk. Guys who move in real-life often struggle to fit in and their production drops. That can make a huge impact on your success.

But real-life dilemmas are way worse. Case in point? The Columbus Blue Jackets.

I would hate to be Jarmo Kekalainen.

The Jackets cling to the second wild card spot. Their once-elite goaltender clearly wants out. And so it seems does Artemi Panarin, a top-20 scorer who is in the middle of his best NHL career.

Panarin drives offence. He averages more than 20 minutes a game. He's among the league's elite wingers. And he leads Columbus in scoring.

It's a tough call. Kekalainen understands what he faces. The Jackets likely make the playoffs if he keeps both Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. But losing two elite players with nothing in return at season's end would cripple the franchise long term.

Gulp. I'm glad I only manage fantasy teams.

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

Nick Bjugstad, C, Pittsburgh (16 percent Yahoo! owned) – Big Bjugstad heads north to heaven – the

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janet Eagleson
Janet Eagleson is a seven-time Finalist and four-time winner of the Hockey Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. She is a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan, loved the OHL London Knights when they were bad and cheers loudly for the Blackhawks, too. But her top passion? The World Junior Hockey Championships each and every year.
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