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Wild's Koivu making early case for Selke Trophy

Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

A quarter of the way through the season there have been many surprises, whether it has been players or teams. One of those surprises is center Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild, who is the pick to win the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.

When analyzing advanced stats, which play a big factor in determining the Selke Trophy finalists and winner, Koivu has excelled. He ranks eighth in shot attempts percentage at 5-on-5 (SAT%), and is tied for first in SAT Relative, a ratio of on-ice SAT% vs. off-ice SAT% (13.6). Koivu has won 54.6 percent of his faceoffs (253 of 463) and has been equally as impressive in defensive-zone faceoffs. He's taken 154 defensive-zone faceoffs and has won 50.7 percent.

His SAT percentage in close games (tied or one-goal difference) is 63.05 (third among forwards) and in tie games he ranks first (65.17).

Twelve surprises in first quarter of 2015-16 season

Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

The most exciting part of any season is the unexpected twists and turns.

Some teams that were projected to have success inexplicably hit roadblocks. Others that were expected to struggle scratch and claw to remain competitive.

And then there are the individual struggles and success stories. Young players work their way into the spotlight, while some veterans can't seem to get going.

Here are the 12 biggest surprises in the season's first quarter, in no particular order:

Analysis: Gallagher injury will severely test Canadiens

Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 3:57 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec – The Montreal Canadiens have already overcome what many considered would be their worst-case scenario this season.

The loss of goaltender Carey Price for three weeks would have been disastrous for the Canadiens a season ago, but they came out of it with a 5-2-2 record and a newfound confidence in how they play as a team in front of Price.

Now that Price is back the Canadiens face a new, entirely different challenge with top-line right wing Brendan Gallagher out a minimum of six weeks following surgery to repair two fractured fingers on his left hand.

Winter Classic alumni game rosters announced

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens announced their rosters for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic alumni game, which will be played Dec. 31, 2015 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The regular-season game featuring these same two teams playing at the home of the New England Patriots, will take place the following day, Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVAS).

The alumni game will feature more than 40 former NHL players and coaches including several Hall of Famers on each team.

Ray Bourque, who played 21 seasons with the Bruins and holds the franchise record for points (1,506) and current Bruins president Cam Neeley will be among the Boston alumni. Other players include Mark Recchi, Glen Wesley, Hal Gill and Al Iafrate.

Rosters for 2016 Winter Classic Alumni Game

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK - The National Hockey League, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens today jointly released the current rosters for the 2016 NHL Winter Classic™ Alumni Game. The game, which will be played outdoors by greats from both Original Six™ franchises, will take place Thursday, Dec. 31, at 3:30 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.

More than 40 former players and coaches are scheduled to participate in the renewal of this legendary rivalry in this unique outdoor setting. Those returning for the Bruins include Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Terry O'Reilly and more; Don Cherry and Mike Milbury will serve as Boston's coaches. Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur lead the Canadiens alumni with a roster that includes Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, Jose Theodore and Mats Naslund, among many other notable names.

Wild savor 'traditional' Stadium Series jerseys

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's no surprise that Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter is a big fan of the jerseys they will wear for their 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Feb. 22, 2016.

"It's laid back, it's not flashy, it's traditional. It's kind of got that old school look to it," Suter said.

The Wild and Blackhawks each revealed their Stadium Series jerseys on Tuesday, with the hosts doing so in an on-ice unveiling in front of media and selected season-ticket holders at Xcel Energy Center.

NHL Network announces December game schedule

Game Schedule Features 10 Live Matchups, Starting with Nashville at Detroit Saturday, Dec. 5 NHLN to Exclusively Air the 2016 World Junior Championship Starting Dec. 26

Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 1:30 PM / NHL Network

SECAUCUS (Nov. 24, 2015) – As teams try to gain separation in the standings, NHL Network’s December game schedule features 14 different teams, including every division leader. The schedule begins with the Nashville Predators visiting the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET, live from Joe Louis Arena. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will be featured four times in December, beginning with a matchup against the defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET, at Amalie Arena. December will also feature a showdown between the Atlantic division-leading Montreal Canadiens and the Western Conference-leading Dallas Stars on Saturday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET, live from the American Airlines Center. NHL Network’s complete December live game schedule is available here and at the bottom of this release.

Blackhawks, Wild unveil NHL Stadium Series jerseys

The Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild each unveiled their jersey for their 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game on Feb. 21.

The game will be played at TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota, the home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team and the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League.

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Buy-low trade targets

Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 12:05 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen provides in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top-100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen is your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

We've reached the one-quarter mark of the 2015-16 NHL season, and plenty of big names have fallen short of expectations from a fantasy standpoint. But, thankfully, there's still a ton of time for those players to turn things around, presenting opportunities for buy-low trades to capitalize on impatient fantasy owners in your league.

Two seasons ago, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers became the prime example of why you shouldn't give up on an underperforming player in November. Giroux had no goals and seven assists in his first 15 games that season but ended up with 28 goals and 86 points (third in NHL) in 82 games. Patience paid off for some, but many who drafted him cut the cord way too early and ended up kicking themselves in hindsight.

Tkachuk, Nylander earn top Central Scouting grades

Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 11:30 AM / 2016 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The London Knights and Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League each had three players earn A ratings from NHL Central Scouting in its November players to watch list for the 2016 NHL Draft, released Tuesday.

Among the players Central Scouting believes could go in the first round in June are London left wings Matthew Tkachuk (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) and Max Jones (6-3, 205), and defenseman Olli Juolevi (6-2, 179), as well as Mississauga centers Michael McLeod (6-2, 188) and Alexander Nylander (6-0, 179) and right wing Nathan Bastian (6-4, 208).

"The November players to watch list updates Central Scouting's preliminary grading of players by identifying prospects on a priority basis," said Dan Marr, NHL Director of Central Scouting. "It is a scouting tool that assists Central Scouting and NHL team scouts in planning scouting coverage to prepare for midseason meetings where a comprehensive ranking of players is produced [in January] and is very much a work in progress."

The November players to watch list had 34 players receive A ratings -- up from 24 in the September players to watch list -- meaning they could go in the first round of the 2016 draft, which will be held June 24-25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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