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Features

Fantasy Black Friday: Cubeta's bargain bin deals

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Now that Thanksgiving has ended here in the United States, it's time for everyone to prepare for the holiday shopping spree that is Black Friday. And what better way to tie this crazy day into fantasy hockey than to give you a list of some of the best fantasy bargains.

I'll start by looking at three players (a forward, defenseman and goalie) that have provided the best bang for their buck to this point in the 2015-16 season, and then I'll give you three players (all available in at least 70 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues) that can be potential bargains for the remainder of this season.

Twelve predictions for second quarter of season

Friday, 11.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

As the 2015-16 NHL season enters its second quarter, some may feel trends have been firmly established.

Not so.

A short 20-game sample can fool many into thinking what they are seeing is reality, whereas oftentimes it is simply an indication of a team or player either needing some time to warm up, or some time to come back to earth.

Here, then, are 12 bold predictions of what is absolutely guaranteed to happen in the second quarter of this season. You can take these to the bank. They are guaranteed.

Super 16: West teams have faced longer road trips

Friday, 11.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

By in large, the challenge of playing and making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference is considered to be greater than playing and making it in the Eastern Conference because of the strain of long travel created by the considerable distance between cities.

The Eastern Conference may have more competition (two more teams), but travel in the Western Conference literally creates a longer road to the playoffs.

The stress of playing in the West has been magnified a quarter of the way through this season by the duration of the road trips and the amount of games outside of the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones the majority of the teams have already completed or are currently going through.

Eight of 14 teams in the Western Conference have already had road trips of five games or longer, including recently completed seven-game trips by the Colorado Avalanche (4-3-0) and Vancouver Canucks (1-4-2), and the perfect six-game trip by the San Jose Sharks (6-0-0).

Rangers' Lundqvist early favorite for Hart Trophy

Friday, 11.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault put the pressure on goalie Henrik Lundqvist in their exit meeting after last season by telling him to be prepared to be better at the start of the season. It was a message based on Lundqvist's recent history of starting poorly.

Lundqvist has done better than just respond to Vigneault; he's put himself on pace to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. He is off to arguably the best start of his 11-season career with 12 wins, a 1.94 goals-against average and .939 save percentage through 18 games.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Darling will share starts

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has won the Stanley Cup twice and won 30 games in each of the past four full NHL seasons, and he's gotten those wins despite not playing in more than 59 games. That means you can expect his backup, Scott Darling, to get between 20-25 starts.

Crawford's numbers aren't up to his standards; his 2.57 goals-against average and .912 save percentage are less than his career averages of 2.35 and .916, respectively. He made 27 saves in a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, but Darling has started two of the past five games and likely will start once this weekend with Chicago having back-to-back games at the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

As Darling showed last season, he's more than capable of coming up big when it matters. Darling was 3-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA and a .936 save percentage in helping the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup last season. This was after he went 9-4-0 with a 1.99 GAA and a .936 save percentage in 14 starts during the regular season.

Penticton's Jost, Fabbro not vying for draft position

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

There's no competition between teammates, Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost declared.

Not even amongst roommates, either.

Bragging rights aren't on the line in whether he or Vees defenseman Dante Fabbro is first to hear his name called in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The pair, who share the same billet and have been attached at the hip the past couple years, isn't about the tongue-in-cheek rivalry.

"No, no, not at all," said Jost, who captains the Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. "People probably wonder who's going to go higher and whatnot, and I went higher in the [Western Hockey League] Draft than he did by one spot. Honestly, we don't care at all. If Dante goes higher than me, I'm going to be really happy for him. He's one of my best buddies. I'll be just as happy if he gets drafted higher than if I do. It's a cool experience to have a buddy with you. We're not really focused on who goes higher."

By the Numbers: First quarter interesting picture

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - NHL.com Correspondent

A quarter of the 2015-16 NHL regular season is complete, and a look at the numbers reveals some rather interesting statistics at the individual, team and League levels.

Here are a dozen of the most compelling:

Unmasked: Backup role readied Mason for new career

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Chris Mason may be new to broadcasting, but the recently retired NHL goaltender-turned-radio analyst got a chance to prepare for his second career while playing out his first.

During his two stints with the Nashville Predators, it was common for the backup goalie to put on a headset during a break in the action and take questions from the broadcast crew. Now, after calling it a career this past summer following two seasons in Europe and trading in his pads for a headset, all those interviews from the bench are paying off for Mason as a Predators analyst.

"I played behind Tomas Vokoun in his heyday, so there was a lot of games where I was on the bench for those interviews," Mason, who played 317 NHL games over 13 seasons with the Predators, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets, said with a laugh. "I looked forward to doing it actually. I love talking about hockey. I love watching hockey. I love playing hockey. It's a passion of mine, so to be able to have that small sample of experience, it did help and it does make a difference feeling comfortable being on air and talking about hockey and not making a fool of yourself. I probably still did, but it makes you not so scared to make a fool of yourself."

Fast start has Rangers' Lundqvist leading Vezina race

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault challenged his No. 1 goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, to get off to a better start this season after struggling early the past few years, and "The King" has responded by restaking his claim as the NHL's best.

After adjusting his preseason approach to focus more on technique and position-specific drills with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire, Lundqvist has emerged as the early favorite to win his second Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender by backstopping the Rangers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference after a 31-save shutout of the Nashville Predators on Monday.

Following a 5-1 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, Lundqvist sits atop the NHL in goals-against average (1.94) and save percentage (.939); his 12 wins are second to the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby, who has 13.

For those wondering if Lundqvist is sheltered behind a good team playing well defensively, he also leads NHL starters with an adjusted 5-on-5 save percentage of .954, according to war-on-ice.com, a measurement that weighs shot quality based on the distance of the shots a goalie faces.

"He's our best player, there's no doubt," Vigneault recently told The New York Times.

Bruins' Chara believes in more good times to come

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

After Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz recently announced the 2016 season would be his last, the revelation was met with celebratory commentary about his career, which included three World Series championships.

Someday before the end of this decade Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara might make a similar declaration and most likely will do it in a Bruins jersey. We know Chara will have at least one Stanley Cup championship and one Norris Trophy on his resume when his career concludes. But will his stint in Boston inspire the same adulation as Ortiz's?

"The city's been great. I've been really honored and humbled to be playing in this town and giving it my all," said Chara, who's in his 10th season with the Bruins and has two more after this one on his contract, according to war-on-ice.com. "These are hardworking people and it's a pleasure to be playing for these kinds of people. So if I'm going to be celebrated, I don't know. Certainly everybody would want to be. When you play that many years and games and you win championships, hopefully people will remember and have good memories. But that's not what I'm looking right now at."

Chara, 38, is focused on on-ice matters. One season ago a ligament tear in his left knee cost him 19 games and made him look like a shell of the dominant defenseman who had been one of the most feared players to face for a decade. This season has been a comeback tour for Chara, who will be in the thick of the battle Friday when the Bruins host the New York Rangers at TD Garden in the Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown (1 p.m. ET, NBC, SN).

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