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Saturday, November 24, 2007
The Vicky Files: Reviewing trade offers

By Victoria Matiash
Special to ESPN.com

Greed is a vice that is frowned upon by most, and it often backfires with unpleasant consequences.

Take, for instance, a certain boneheaded gentleman in Florida. He recently won more than $10 million in the state lottery, and he chose to keep that information away from 17 fellow co-workers who went in on the ticket. He also didn't tell his own wife. She became suspicious after he unplugged the phone and kept the TV off at all times. Then she discovered a postcard portraying the purchase of a new home. She found out about the lottery winnings only when she googled his name.

Keep in mind the two were living together in the same house at the time. Um, not anymore. Now the marriage is in the dumpster, she's suing him for a portion of his $600,000 share (still not a bad haul), and everyone else thinks he's a schmuck. This serves as a worthwhile, if not obvious, lesson: If you try to grab more than you're entitled to, everything can fall apart very quickly. Greed is bad. That seems clear enough.

Not so in fantasy sports. It's perhaps the one setting in which avarice and gluttony almost always pay off. Far from being a popularity contest, there's no place for sharing and generosity. To heck with the other guy, right Anthony?

If you were offered Marian Hossa and Brian Rafalski for Dany Heatley, would you take it?
Anthony from St. Louis

Absolutely. After an abysmal start, Hossa is back to his high-scoring ways, with 13 points in his last seven games. In fact, you could argue that Hossa is now almost worth Heatley straight up. Plus you get one of the most productive defensemen in the league. My goodness. Drop that single bird in your hand and go grab those two plump fowl in the bush. Whoever is offering you this deal is a goof. End of story.

Hi Vicky. I have a question regarding Mr. Injury himself, Martin Havlat. With his impending return to the lineup (until his next injury), I need to make room for him on my roster. I'm in a basic head-to-head, 12-team league and will have to drop someone or package a couple guys and trade them. Here are my (options): T. Ruutu, Lupul, Roenick, Horcoff, Carcillo, Sykora, Tanguay, Belanger, Brunette, Perron and M. Richards on offense. I have Enstrom, E. Johnson, Lidstrom, Burns, Pronger and Niedermayer (wasting bench space) on defense. My goalies are DiPietro, Bryzgalov and Backstrom. Who do I drop, or who should I package and kiss goodbye? I currently have an offer of Olli Jokinen for DiPietro and Enstrom. Thanks for the advice and Go Hawks! (P.S. Roenick is undroppable because he has been my favorite player since I was 10.)
J.R. from San Diego

Disregard the offer for Rick DiPietro and Tobias Enstrom. Olli Jokinen is having a stellar season, but he's not worth a starting goaltender and a hot defenseman. You could easily drop the inactive Scott Niedermayer to make room for Havlat, but that would be wasteful and boring. Niedermayer will most likely return this season, and he's worth keeping.

Instead, offer up a couple of dispensable skaters for an elite player in a two-for-one deal. Your affection for Jeremy Roenick is unfortunate. He's perfect trade fodder since there's no way he'll maintain this scoring pace, but I'm not one to mess with boyhood heroes. So why not package David Perron and Brent Burns? With eight points in 13 games, Perron is attractive enough. But as a 19-year-old rookie, he's still far from reliable. And although competitive, St. Louis isn't exactly an offensive powerhouse. The Blues rank 25th in team scoring. As for Burns, his value is set to slide a bit with the return of Sean Hill. As mentioned in Sean Allen's Grand Theft Roto earlier this week, Burns will most likely be relegated from a No. 2 to a No. 3 defenseman. Throw those two together and target an offensive powerhouse. Try to approach a leaguemate with substandard defenders; he'd be the most vulnerable. Then you'll have space for Havlat, you'll add some scoring prowess, and you won't lose much in return.

My team is in last place by a wide margin. I have Crosby, Savard, Kopitar and Langkow at C, Kovalev and Justin Williams at RW, Semin and Demitra on IR, Wolski and Malone at LW. My defensemen include Lidstrom, Chara and Visnovsky, and I'm waiting for a pending trade to bring in Whitney. My goalies are Hasek, Osgood, Mason and Bryzgalov. I can't catch a break and am ready to do something desperate, short of trading Crosby. Any thoughts on whom I should keep and whom to trade? I'm thinking of selling on Kovalev, Langkow and Visnovsky. Please give some direction or reassurance!
Gavin from Huntington Beach, CA

Calm down, Gavin, because you won't be in last for long. First off, Alexander Semin is finally back from injury. Someone other than Alexander Ovechkin and Michael Nylander needs to start contributing for the struggling Capitals, and Semin is the likeliest of candidates. Daymond Langkow is slowly breaking out of his early-November slump. As long as he continues to skate with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Malone will see a rise in his production. Pavol Demitra is skating on his own and will recover from his nagging groin injury in the not-too-distant future. And you have two of the top fantasy right wingers in the game, with Alexei Kovalev and Justin Williams. There's no reason to believe they'll cool off anytime soon.

Meanwhile, your defensive corps is one of the best I've seen. Zdeno Chara is starting to light it up, with five points in his last five games. Lubomir Visnovsky is stumbling a touch as of late, but that won't last. And you're in outstanding shape in net, especially with the emergence of Ilya Bryzgalov as a starter. It's difficult to celebrate fantasy ownership of a Coyotes goaltender, but Bryzgalov has been exceptional for Phoenix, with a perfect 3-0 record, 1.26 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage. You can't argue with those numbers. Under different circumstances, I would recommend selling Bryzgalov while he's smoldering, but you don't have any serious weaknesses at the moment. Take your hand off the panic button and just ride things out for now.

Victoria Matiash is a fantasy hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can send her Email for potential use in "The Vicky Files" by clicking here.