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Fantasy Black Friday: Cubeta's bargain bin deals

by Matt Cubeta /

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.

Happy shopping, fantasy owners ...


1. John Klingberg, D, Dallas Stars

Klingberg leads all defensemen with 20 assists and is tied for the lead at his position with 24 points in 22 games. He's a plus-11, has 10 power-play points and is currently the second best defenseman in fantasy hockey behind Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. The difference: Karlsson was drafted as the top defenseman coming into the season while Klingberg was selected 31st at his position prior to the season (123.8 average draft selection overall). The 23-year-old has recorded at least one point in all but six games this season and is showing no signs of slowing down.

2. Mats Zuccarello, LW/RW, New York Rangers

After suffering a scary head injury during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs that left his playing career in doubt, Zuccarello has surprised everyone by not just returning for his sixth NHL season, but by dominating in it. The 28-year-old Norwegian leads the Rangers with 21 points in 22 games and his plus-8 rating is tied for 17th among forwards. Zuccarello was drafted on average with the 172nd pick in Yahoo leagues coming into the season and currently ranks 43rd overall. He's been quite the bargain and appears to be on the cusp of a breakout season for the Rangers.

3. James Reimer, G, Toronto Maple Leafs

James Reimer
James Reimer
Goalie - TOR
RECORD: 7-3-4
GAA: 2.07 | SVP: .934
Reimer was drafted in just two percent of Yahoo leagues at the start of the season but has seen his ownership rise up to 57 percent thanks to his performance. At the start of the season Toronto declared Jonathan Bernier their starting goalie, but Bernier got off to a slow start and that opened the door for Reimer. In 14 starts this season Reimer is 7-3-4 with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. He's allowed two or fewer goals against in 10 of his 15 appearances. He's the 13th best fantasy goalie in Yahoo leagues this season and the second-best goalie over the past 30 days. For those of you in leagues where he's still available, you know what to do.

Honorable mention: Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks), Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings), Colton Parayko (St. Louis Blues), Martin Jones (San Jose Sharks), Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets).


1. Linus Ullmark, G, Buffalo Sabres -- available in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues

It's a tough task to find a goalie that's available in at least 70 percent of Yahoo leagues that could be a reliable source of starts for the rest of this season, but Ullmark might have that opportunity. Ullmark was summoned to the NHL back on Oct. 24 and has made 10 starts since then. He has a 4-5-1 record with a 2.50 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He's allowed two or fewer goals in all but three of those games and deserves a better record than he has. The question for the remainder of this season is whether he'll continue to get starts when goalie Robin Lehner returns from his ankle injury. Lehner was projected to be out 6-10 weeks and is approximately four weeks into that timetable. And then there's also veteran Chad Johnson in the mix. So where does that leave Ullmark? At 22 years old, it's realistic to expect the Sabres to send Ullmark back to the American Hockey League when Lehner is healthy, but if he continues to perform the way he has this season, the Sabres could keep Ullmark in the mix in a 50-50 split with Lehner. Regardless, I think Ullmark makes for a great addition to a fantasy roster right now, and even when Lehner does return, Ullmark could carry decent fantasy value as a potential split goalie.

2. Brandon Dubinsky, C/LW, Columbus Blue Jackets -- available in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues

Dubinsky missed six games because of an upper-body injury but was activated on Wednesday and finished with a plus-1, one shot on goal and two hits against the New Jersey Devils. Prior to the injury Dubinsky had four goals and seven assists in 16 games with an even rating, eight penalty minutes, three power-play points and 27 shots on goal. Always considered one of the underrated players in fantasy hockey because of his ability to cover just about every category, Dubinsky has consistently been plagued by injuries. Hopefully this minor setback was the last of them for this season and owners can look forward to him delivering like he has when he's been healthy. In addition to his solid point production, Dubinsky receives ample power play time (2:40 per game), is a responsible forward on both ends of the ice (hasn't had a minus rating since the 2010-11 season) and has a knack for getting involved physically (averages 100 penalty minutes per 82-game season over his career). Now that he's healthy again, Dubinsky should be owned in far more leagues than his current 30 percent.

3. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Philadelphia Flyers -- available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues

Shayne Gostisbehere
Shayne Gostisbehere
Defense - PHI
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 4
SOG: 14 | +/-: -3
Not only does he have a fantastic last name, but he's also producing for the Flyers since being recalled. Gostisbehere played two games for Philadelphia last season but was called up on Nov. 14 and now has two goals, two assists and 14 SOG in six games. He's quarterbacking the team's top power-play unit where he's delivered both of his goals (three power-play points) and is averaging more than three minutes of power play time per game. The former standout defenseman at Union College has tremendous potential and is being given a great opportunity with veteran Mark Streit on the long-term injured reserve. He makes for a great pickup in the immediate future and could turn out to be a steal for the rest of the season if he can continue to receive immense power play time.


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