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Frozen Fantasy: Avalanche Warning

Janet Eagleson

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

Ever regret hitting the “accept” button on a trade? Greg Sherman, general manager of the Avs, soon will.

It’s the beginning of the end in Colorado.

OK, I get the Craig Anderson deal – they thought he was a one-hit wonder who’d turned into a head case. But Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk?

Eric Johnson is not the next Chris Pronger.

I’m not an EJ fan; I’ve never drunk the Kool-Aid. I think he’s a whole lot more Jay Bouwmeester than Chris Pronger. He just doesn’t have Prong’s snarl. And I think Stewart really can be the next Jarome Iginla and Shattenkirk could be a Dan Boyle.

Jay McClement must’ve tipped the scales.

Buyer’s remorse – we’ve all had it. I wonder how long it will take for the Avs to admit theirs?

Hall-of-famer Peter Stastny – father of the Avs’ Paul – blasted the Avs for the deal. I don’t share his belief that the young Avs were close to competing for a Cup. But he’s not far off when he said the deal “destroyed the team.”

Maybe I’m wrong. Greg Sherman is going to pray I am. It’s the only way he’ll keep his job.

But I don’t think I am.

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

Pierre-Marc Bouchard, C, Minnesota (3 percent owned) – Highs, lows – the word bipolar comes to mind when you look at P-M’s career. The highs can be manic and almost intoxicating; the lows, painfully depressing. It’s hard to identify those swings but his three-point performance Tuesday could be the start of something positive. Or not. But at this point in the season, left wing is one of the most barren positions in fantasy and you need to take some serious chances on high-risk guys like P-M if you really need the help. Fingers crossed that his sneaky hands and tricky playmaking skills are on the upswing.

Kyle Brodziak, C, Minnesota (3 percent owned) – Brodziak is a big, hard-working forward who is a bit of a fantasy misfit. His skating is, in a word, ugly. And he’s probably best suited for a bottom-six kind of role. But he’s big, cycles the puck well and occasionally shows a squirt of offensive creativity. And right now, he has 15 points in his last 16 games and an opportunity for even more. Mikku Koivu is out for three to four weeks and this guy gets first dibs at Koivu’s ice time and linemates. I already nabbed him in a league with no positional qualifications but he’s also gaining value in standard Yahoo! leagues.

Bobby Butler, RW, Ottawa (1 percent owned) – Boy-o-boy, didn’t Butler look good Wednesday night against Florida. During that game, I got an e-mail from a buddy of mine from; he asked me if I thought this guy was for real. I honestly don’t have a good answer. But five goals and two assists over five games have certainly grabbed my attention. Bobby B. has a sniper’s hands and excellent speed. But how many undrafted college standouts become NHL stars? He’s no Dan Boyle or Marty St. Louis. He reminds me of Tyler Bozak but with better hands. And like Bozak last year, Butler is going to get a late-season audition on a scoring line. He’s going to get pushed around; skinny dudes always do. And like all college guys, he’ll run out of gas sooner rather than later. But I think there will be a fair number of number 16 jerseys sold in Ottawa over the next couple weeks. And that kind of lightning in a bottle might just help your fantasy squad.

Dan Ellis, G, Anaheim (34 percent owned) – You know I’m not keen on the perceived improvements that come with near-deadline trades. But Ellis’ move to Anaheim gets his career off life support and back into a regular ward. And if Jonas Hiller’s vertigo keeps him out for any measure of time, Ellis – and not Ray Emery – will likely get the bulk of the starts. Ellis has the ability to string together a dozen solid games – remember Nashville last year? So he won’t hurt you as long as he delivers average ratios. And a couple extra wins could net you a point.. or two.

Travis Hamonic, D, NY Islanders (15 percent owned) – It’s third time lucky for this former Team Canada junior team member. He caught my eye last week and the week before, but I chalked up his big fantasy numbers to the penalty minutes he “earned” in those two line brawls. But Hamonic isn’t just an opportunistic fighter – he appears to be the kind of hard-nosed, take-no-crap defender that Dion Phaneuf should be. He even has a big, hard shot (and it doesn’t go wide like Mr. Phaneuf’s… but I digress). Hamonic has a goal, six assists and a whopping 62 penalty minutes in his last eight games. Finally, a guy who can deliver PIMs without killing your other categories. Take a look at your sin bin position – where would you sit if you had those 62 minutes?

Matt Moulson, LW, NY Islanders (35 percent owned) – Wow! Moulson has been absolutely golden this week. Heading into Thursday, he was riding a three-game goal streak (six) and a seven-game point streak (seven). And his 10 goals and three helpers in his previous 10 games made him one of the hottest snipers in the whole league. Not bad for a lowly ninth-round pick that the Isles picked up as a free agent. He is the perfect finisher beside the emerging John Tavares and could threaten 35 goals this season. That’s eight more goals before year-end – is that better than your third-best left winger? Thought so.

T.J. Oshie, C, St. Louis (24 percent owned) – Oshie is the fire that fuels the Blues. He rode a four-game, eight-point streak into action against the Orcas on Thursday night. And that made him the hottest Yahoo! center over the seven-day period heading into action that night. Get on board.

Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis (47 percent owned) – This young stud’s ownership has jumped a whopping 18 percent in just a few days this week and rightfully so – Pietrangelo is now St. Loo’s top offensive dog on the blue line. But he’s still available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues and I see his value skyrocketing toward season’s end. The Blues are impressive and Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk (20 percent owned) will help lead the way.

Teddy Purcell, RW, Tampa Bay (14 percent owned) – Holy soft hands. The man from the Rock potted his first career hat trick Wednesday night and he did it in his first six minutes of ice time. Sure, the Bolts hammered home eight goals on Jason LaBarbera, the Phoenix sieve. But step back and take a look at what Teddy’s been up to in his last 11 games – eight goals, six assists and 35 shots. That’s more than worthy.

Ian White, D, San Jose (11 percent owned) – A word to the wise, Ian – do not buy a house in San Jose. Your track record would suggest that renting really is your best option. You’ll lose a lot less in real estate fees, particularly in today’s market. He’s worn four different uniforms over the last 13 months and three this season alone. He had been a fantasy disappointment this year but a move to the toothed teal sea dogs is the perfect tonic for his offensive slumber. He’ll get lots of looks with those potent power-play units and his speed, smarts and shot should deliver you 10 points over his final 20 games.

Back to the Avs.

It’s obvious there’s a big difference between NHL trades and fantasy ones. And it’s tempting for us to examine this deal through a fantasy lens.

I'm not.

Fantasy-wise, it's a no-brainer - I'd be the first owner to hit the “reject” button.

On the ice, Johnson “might” become a Hall-of-Fame franchise cornerstone. But he's just not evolving that way, at least not yet. Drew Doughty has already passed him by. And what helps an NHL team more - one potential superstar or two stars?

Until next week.