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Frozen Fantasy: Back In Action

Janet Eagleson

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

Is Ryan O'Reilly really that much more valuable than P.K. Subban? The Calgary Flames sure think so.

And so do the Avs.

O'Reilly and Subban were the two premier RFA holdouts this season. P.K. blinked and inked a two-year deal worth $5.75 million. The Avs blinked and matched the Flames' offer sheet...for a whopping $10 million, including $6.5 next season.

Is a second-line center worth more than a stud defender?

I don't think so, but that's just me. Don't get me wrong - I love O'Reilly. He has loads of skill and captain written all over him, but I don't think he's a top-line center. He's just paid that way.

Subban has 60-plus point upside and he should reach that very, very soon. O'Reilly "might" deliver 70 points some day, but I suspect he'll be a consistent 60-point guy for most of his career.

I know which guy I'm building around. But maybe that's just in fantasy.

Center is typically deep in fantasy, but not on the ice. A lot of guys can deliver points, but only a dozen or so can deliver the kind of intangibles that might deliver a Cup.

I hope the Avs have found their man.

They might not think that when they have to qualify him at a minimum $6.5 million for 2014-2015. And they also can't trade him for at least 365 days, which I think makes him an Av through next season's deadline. Ooops.

It's funny that P.K. might actually get that high-end kind of coin in his next deal (and the one after that). O'Reilly risks never getting that kind of money again.

Thank goodness fantasy owners don't do deals like that. Or like the one given to like the Bridgeport Sounds' new twinetender, Tricky Rick DiPietro. But I digress...

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

Jordie Benn, D, Dallas (0 percent owned) - Big brother Benn had a rough minus-3 night Thursday, but prior to that he had four points in five games. He's probably nothing more than a fourth or fifth defender with a little bit of latent offense. But he's worth monitoring as a just in case.

Daniel Cleary, LW/RW, Detroit (7 percent owned) - This is Cleary's annual appearance in my sights. He's been quiet his last two games, but prior to that he had six points in the previous three games. The Newfie streak has multi-position eligibility and puts up points in bunches. You might as well be the one who takes advantage.

Scott Clemmensen, G, Florida (3 percent owned) - One step forward, one step back. I thought Clemmensen looked solid in relief Tuesday night, but he didn't bring that to Thursday's game - he was yanked after allowing three goals on 10 shots. Use caution - neither he nor Jose Theodore are fantasy worthy right now. But I'd pick Clemmensen right now if I were forced to choose.

Grant Clitsome, D, Winnipeg (1 percent owned) - Clitsome has one of those names that's tailor-made for schoolyard taunts. Poor guy - thank goodness he was a jock. Clitsome is the guy who has stepped in to fill Tobias Enstrom skates and so far, so good. He's on a four-game scoring streak (two goals, two assists) and is plus-5 in that streak. He's now on my roster - he should be on yours, too.

Tomas Kopecky, RW, Florida (13 percent owned) - Kopecky is a skilled, two-way center who models his game after Tomas Holmstrom. Yes, he's the same kind of big-bodied crease irritant as the former Wing. And that makes him a valuable addition if he can be a fraction of what Homer was in his prime. His Tuesday night was brilliant - a trick and an assist with two minor penalties, and three of those four points came on the PP. Just keep an eye on his plus-minus - he plays for the Kitties, after all.

Clarke MacArthur, LW, Toronto (8 percent owned) - MacArthur is both tough and agile, with a sweet little scoring touch. The trouble is he runs hot and cold, and that only causes fantasy stress - timing the market is tough. But the timing is good right now - he's on a four-game, four-point, plus-7 streak right now and has points in six of his last seven games. His linemate Nazem Kadri is as hot as they come and the kid is taking C-Mac right along with him. Use him if you need help.

Johnny Oduya, D, Chicago (8 percent owned) - Oduya is a beautiful skater whose best fantasy attribute is his ability to block shots. But right now, he also has four assists in his last six games so he's more than a single-category pick. Keep in mind that the Hawks have a lot of excellent offensive–minded defenders so don't expect this pace to continue. But he's a solid add to fill your last D spot … at least for now.

Kyle Palmieri, C, Anaheim (5 percent owned) - What a night! Palmieri lit up Nashville's Pekka Rinne to the tune of three goals Wednesday night. He clearly knows how to score - he sniped 17 goals in his first 18 AHL games last season. And he'll deliver his fair share of points if he stays on a line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. I'm buying.

Harry Zolnierczyk, LA, Philadelphia (0 percent owned) - Sin bin alert! The guy had a big penalty week, courtesy of a kneeing major that was later rescinded by the league. Still, the guy has figured out a way to stay in the NHL and that includes time in the box. He might behave better, but he's a Flyer. And they're bound to put up some PIMs.

Jason Zucker, LW, Minnesota (0 percent owned) - All this slippery speedster has done since his callup is score. He has three goals in five games since he arrived with the big club, and he's really clicking with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi. He's a potential star, but he's way under the radar. At minimum, he's worth monitoring. He might even sneak onto a few rosters before long...

Back to bad contracts.

Whose fault is it that teams are willing to ink crummy deals? I can't blame players for taking what's offered - I'd take it and so would you.

But we don't have to look far to see what a bad contract can do to a guy, particularly if he can't live up to it. I'm talking about you, Tricky Rick. And I really do hope you're telling the truth when you said you were just "kidding."

And I sure hope the Isles take it as seriously as the rest of us.

Until next week.