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Frozen Fantasy: Deadline Fallout

Janet Eagleson

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

There are just some things you never expect to see. Like Snoop, Lion cooking with Martha Stewart. Like Toronto mayor Rob Ford on Jimmy Kimmel Live. And like Bobby Lou traded to Florida.

They all happened. I'm not kidding.

I don't know about you, but I was floored when Roberto Luongo went home to Florida. Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis' job has to be hanging by a thread - Shawn Mattias and the struggling Jacob Markstrom? And neither Luongo nor Cory Schneider?

But then it hit me - I own Bobby Lou. And I have a championship riding on him. Crap.

Crap. Crap. CRAP.

I have to give it to some of the GMs - a few of these deals really were hockey deals. It's nice to know that kind of deal can still happen. I loved it as a fan.

This deadline was different. Very, very different.

Fantasy hockey generally over-weights goalies. I went from owning three starters and two backups in one league, to two and three. And one of my two starters now has the enigmatic Ilya Bryzgalov behind him.

I'll soon be sinking like a stone.

Yet in another league, I gained a possible starter when Michal Neuvirth was moved. And in another, Brian Elliot went from a possible platoon to a for-sure backup. But I don't feel so bad right now about Elliot - my closest opponent in that league rolled the dice and isn't even carrying a backup. And his Carey Price is now out...

It's hard to balance out fandom and fantasy - the two are all-too-often at cross-purposes. But then again, it's a rare day when so many goalies move in a 24-hour period.

There's nothing a fantasy owner can do when there are seismic shifts in the blue paint. Nothing but hope this never happens again. Honestly, I think it's far better to think like a fan on deadline day. At least there's a chance of some excitement that way.

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

Artem Anisimov, LW/C, Columbus (10 percent owned) - "Untapped offensive upside." That's hung like a noose around Anisimov's neck for years. But he has started to tap into those buried the tune of five goals in five games since the Olympic break. Sure, his career high in points is just 44 and that was delivered in 2010-11. But he has already matched his career mark in goals (18) and could come close to 25 if he continues to stay hot. The tap may be turned on.

Ryan Clowe, RW/LW, New Jersey (11 percent owned) - Yes, he was clearly offside on Jaromir Jagr's goal Friday night. But who cares? He was playing with Jaromir Jagr! It doesn't seem to be a permanent gig - he was also out with Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder. But he's putting up points - five in his last five games - and he's also laying hits (16, to be exact, in that same span). It's quiet, low-level value, but we can all use a little of that sometimes.

Joe Colborne, C, Calgary (0 percent owned) - Colborne may - sorry, WILL never be Joe Thornton-lite (despite what his fans or Brian Burke continue to believe). But he will go on tears like he's on now - try seven points in his last seven games, including at least one point in six of those seven. It's a sweet little run considering he had 13 points in 54 games prior to this streak. Will he keep it up? Hell, no. But right now, he's hotter than the bottom feeder on my roster and yours.

Eric Gelinas, D, New Jersey (7 percent owned) - I thought Gelinas was doomed to finish the season in the AHL when he was sent down at the end of January. But low and behold, he's not only back, but he also has four points in his last five games. Most impressively, he managed an even rating Friday in that 7-4 smack down at the hands of the Red Wings. His ceiling is a bit low - he's little more than a number four or five defender who'll get time on the second power-play unit because of his massive shot. That means about 40-45 points at his best...once he figures out his own zone. I'm not holding him in my keeper league, but I might consider him as an injury fill-in for my redraft league.

Nathan Gerbe, LW/C, Carolina (7 percent owned) - Need shots? Gerbe's your man. He has 18 shots in four games this month and 176 this season. That's second-best on the Canes behind only Jeff Skinner. He's hit and miss in the other categories, but by this point in the season, you're probably keying on just one or two things any way. He might fire enough rubber to gain you a point or two in the standings.

Marcel Goc, LW/C, Pittsburgh (3 percent owned) - Marcel Goc? Seriously? I know, I know - the guy has a career best of 30 whole points in a single season. And now he's behind a truckload of high-powered forwards in Pittsburgh. So why is he here? One reason - role clarity. In Florida, he was miscast in the top six way too many times. But in Pittsburgh, Goc will be properly deployed in the bottom six and his two-way talents will outstrip those of they guys he'll face. Advantage Goc and the Pens - and that means secondary scoring from the lower lines, something you don't get from guys in similar roles on other squads. It'll be an incremental increase, but any advantage is a good one at this point in the season.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, C/W, Washington (unlisted) - All hail the next fantasy god. OK - let's not get ahead of ourselves now. Yes, fantasy owners are giddy with anticipation of the arrival of the best prospect outside the NHL. He's apparently headed to D.C., but it'll take him a few practices to get a feel for the smaller ice and aggressive wall play in the NHL. But he really is elite and should slot into a top-six gig with the Caps. I don't think he helps them go further into the postseason - they don't need any more single-zone players. But he'll certainly inject some octane into fantasy rosters. He isn't available on the Yahoo! player list yet. Watch and be prepared to pounce.

Tyler Myers, D, Buffalo (8 percent owned) - Figures - I wrote him off a few weeks ago. That's almost become a blessing for players and a curse for my fantasy success. He has come alive since the Olympic break with three goals and three assists in his last six games. I have no idea if this is real or just a mirage of a fractured career. But I'm buying right now.

Michal Neuvirth, G, Buffalo (8 percent owned) - I wonder if George McPhee can sing. I sure hope so, 'cuz everyone else applying for Unemployment Insurance will be mighty peeved if he belts out a tone-deaf version of Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away." Sure, Neuvirth needed a change of scenery, but he could end up being Washington's Ben Bishop mistake. The Sabres are warming up, courtesy of coach Teddy Nolan's inspiration, and Neuvirth may get a platoon. Roll the dice if you're desperate for help between the pipes.

Joni Ortio, G, Calgary (6 percent owned) - Ortio saw his value take a jump when Reta Berra got his get out of jail free card on deadline day. Karri Ramo is out with a knee injury, so the crease now belongs to this Finnish hot shot. Ortio was the top rookie twinetender in the AHL this season when he was called up -- his 2.22 GAA was good enough for fifth in that league and his overall numbers (.926 save percentage, 20-6-0) are better than those of uber prospect John Gibson of the Ducks. Of course, he'll be hung out to dry in Calgary. But he has the talent to stand on his head and steal some games. He can help you if you can deal with risk.

Lee Stempniak, LW/RW, Pittsburgh (7 percent owned) - Sure, Stempy is inconsistent. But he's going to get a shot as Sidney Crosby's wing man. Keep your stick on the ice, Lee, and the points will come. Grab him off waivers NOW. You can always drop him if he can't figure out what to do when Sid get jiggy. It's a risk I'm going to take.

Back to deadline day.

You know I don't believe that big-name guys moved at the deadline actually make much of a difference. There's only one-quarter of a season left. And a lot of them won't make enough of an impact to change their overall fantasy value.

Except goalies. Especially in weekly head-to-head formats.

I'll wish you luck if you do the same for me.

Until next week.