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Frozen Fantasy: Go Big or Go Home

Janet Eagleson

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

Twitter blew up Wednesday night when the Flames scratched Jarome Iginla. And again when the Providence Bruins scratched Alexander Khohklachev. And then it went on...all...night...long.

One word. Yawn.

Don't get me wrong - I like Iggy's game. And I kept staring at my Twitter feed like a moth to a light bulb. And until well into the middle of the night.

Didn't we all?

It was midnight Eastern Time when the “unofficial” word broke. And it was almost 1:30 a.m. when Jay Feaster revealed the real deal.

Bombshell. The Penguins? BAM!

It's usually the team that stands pat at the deadline that's ultimately successful in the playoffs...and not the one that overinvests in an aging former star.

But that's hard to believe with this deal.

The East now belongs to the Pens. And the Cup odds just shifted remarkably. And they hit a home run doing it. The Pens arguably paid less for Iggy than they did for Brenden Morrow or Douglas Murray.

Iginla cost them two guys who were third and fifth round picks, and a first rounder this year. They burned a high-end first-round pick (Joe Morrow) and a second rounder for Morrow. Murray cost them two second-round picks.

They're going for broke with Iginla. And they did it without breaking the bank.

It makes me rethink my philosophy when it comes to fantasy trades. I usually stand pat, but went against the grain and dealt my future for a veteran haul a few weeks back in a keeper league. I may have mentioned it when I did it. I gave up two, high-end keeper prospects - Ryan Murray and Jakob Markstrom - for Iginla, Shea Weber, Alex Tanguay and a flip of first-round picks (right now, that's his number one and my number 11).

It almost backfired. I came close to falling out of the playoff hunt altogether. Yes, that came with a serious twinge of panic. And second guessing, too.

But I currently sit first in another league with a reasonable lead - at least for now. I made a deal a month ago that hasn't worked out as well as I'd like. And that made me a little queasy about making more trades now.

Maybe not any more.

Hey - at least my earlier move to snag Iggy might pay off. He'll finally have a real center for the first time ever. And Sidney Crosby is quite a center.

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

Justin Abdelkader, LW, Detroit (3 percent owned) - Yes, he's a grinder and yes, his offensive upside is sorely limited, at least in the NHL. But the bottom line is quite simple. Pavel Datsyuk loves - no, LOVES - playing on the same line as this guy and that's bound to result in points of one sort or another. Just look what happened last Friday night - a trick and an assist. Wow. Datsyuk wants him on his line because he's bold and aggressive while crashing the net and working the wall. He won't bring you much by way of power-play points - he averages less than a minute a game with that special teams unit. But he could develop into the Wings' new garbage man. And goals are goals, no matter how ugly.

Martin Erat, RW, Nashville (21 percent owned) - Hey - at least someone in Nashville is hot. Erat has a whopping seven points, including six helpers, in his last three games and that makes him a top-five fantasy performer. Trouble is, he has just 13 points in his previous 29 and his 20 points are tops on the no-score Preds. Erat has loads of skills - he's fast, defensively responsible and good along the wall, and is a fantastic passer. Snag him if you need a quick boost in assists, but don't count on him for goals or shots. He's a pass-first guy...even if he has an open lane.

Mike Fisher, C, Nashville (23 percent owned) - Holy halibut - Fish is on a seven-game, eight-point streak heading into action Thursday night. And five of those points are goals. He's a hard-working, north-south player with a hard shot and he's playing some of his best hockey right now. He's a valuable addition to your fantasy squad as long as he maintains his current aggressive edge.

Martin Havlat, RW, San Jose (9 percent owned) - I'll admit I forgot this guy was even playing this year - I just assumed he was hurt (again). And he was for the first half of March. But in five games since his return, he has five points, 14 shots, 14 PIMs and a plus-2 rating. He's a dangerous offensive player with explosive skills and is starved to show people he can be a game changer. It's rare to find such a talented player on the wire. Grab him - he could boost your lineup in a serious way.

Marcus Johansson, C, Washington (4 percent owned) - Looks who's warming up. Johansson has delivered a goal and four assists in the last four games while getting more consistent ice time on a line with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The chemistry is real - the Caps are playing .500 hockey right now and this trio is driving that run. Johansson has the speed and skill to get the biscuit to those two stars, so get on board now. The playoffs are in their sights and there are more points to come.

Nikolai Khabibulin, G, Edmonton (6 percent owned) - The trade deadline is approaching and the Bhulin Wall could be on the move to a contender. At 40, his best days are behind him. But he can certainly deliver in spurts as a solid backup. Or as an insurance policy, a guy who's been there and done that. Stash him on speculation alone - you might as well be the one to wring some value out of him.

Jakub Kindl, D, Detroit (7 percent owned) - It's easy to forget Kindl was a first-round draft pick. He doesn't have high-end offensive skills and will never be an elite puck mover. But he can be effective within a strong system and Detroit certainly has that. Injuries have vaulted him up the depth chart and that opportunity has resulted in a three-game point streak (three assists). You can do worse, particularly in a thin field of defenders.

Colton Orr, RW, Toronto (4 percent owned) - There is but one reason - and one reason alone - that this Orr is on my list. He fits coach Randy Carlyle's pugnacious style to a T and now leads the NHL in penalty minutes. He'll inject some fists into your team. Go get him if you can afford to take a run at that category. Just remember - anything else he gives you is either gravy or an anchor. Tread carefully.

Jared Spurgeon, D, Minnesota (13 percent owned) - Gah - the earworms have gotten me. I keep seeing Madonna in a Minnesota Wild jersey and hearing, Like a Spurgeon, over and over again in my head. Shudder. Well, they are both tiny ... Spurgeon has been seriously relevant in March with 11 points in 13 games. Six of those 11 points have come in the last four games and two of those have been on the power play. Spurgeon has great hockey sense and underrated offensive skills, and could be a perfect fit with Ryan Suter on the power play. Grab him if you have some underperforming defenders on your roster. He's on his way up.

Free Agent Watch

Danny DeKeyser, D, unsigned - Don't be taken by the hype - DeKeyser is a talent, but he's not an offensive defender. He's the most-desired college free agent on the market and he's expected to sign a contract with an NHL club this week. He's a good skater for a big man, strong defensively and handles the puck well. He can play the point on the power play - at least in the NCAA - but he won't get that shot in the NHL for years. Offense will be a bonus for any team that signs him. Let someone else pick him up. Be ready to pick up their scraps.

Back to Iggy.

At 1:15 Thursday morning, I thought Wednesday's trade deadline would be littered with #anticlimactic. Not any more.

The next week is going to be remarkable. The Bruins have been twice spurned - first, Brenden Morrow and now, Jarome Iginla.

I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm not even going to comment on the so-called haul that Jay Feaster obtained. First, the Ryan O'Reilly mess. Now, the Iggy theft. Next? I dunno.

#FireFeast, perhaps?

I gotta go evaluate some trades. Maybe go-big-or-go-home really is the way to go. I'll let you know next week.

Until next week.