Hockey World Blog

All-Star Game Roster Analysis

With the rosters for the NHL All-Star Game set, let’s breakdown the players that will be competing in the annual talent showcase January 29 in Ottawa. Between the All-Star Game and 12 All-Star Skills Competition rookies, every team will be represented. For the second year, there will be a fantasy draft where selected captains will chose teams in a school-yard style draft. The draft will take place January 26 at 8:00 pm.

Hometown Love

There is a great crop of forwards in the game. As seen every year in the All-Star game, there will be a ton of goals scored and this will not disappoint. Leading the way are fan-vote leaders Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Daniel Alfredsson. All three are from the host Senators and they rallied a lot of the fan vote mostly because they are having one of their best seasons in a very long time behind first-year bench boss Paul MacLean. Also representing the Sens on the blue like is Erik Karlsson.

Making his return to Ottawa is Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks. Hossa was drafted by the Senators and spent the first seven years of his career there. He was the 12th overall selection in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft and he still ranks sixth in all-time points and fifth in all-time points per game.

Leaders of the Pack

The usual statistical leaders are also playing, including goals leader Steven Stamkos. Those not far behind him are also playing and those include Phil Kessel and Marian Gaborik. Other notable statistical leaders include Daniel Sedin (assists), his twin Henrik (points), Jonathan Toews (face-off wins), and Jimmy Howard (goalie wins).

Original Six Representation

The top team in the East, the New York Rangers, have three players selected. In addition to Gaborik, defenseman Dan Girardi and goalie Henrik Lundqvist will participate in the game. Boston, who won the Stanley Cup last season, will send players at the same position as their Original Six partner in Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas. Segin also leads the league in +/- at +33.

In addition to already-mentioned Hossa, Towes and Howard, the Original Six was well represented with Patrick Kane, Pavel Datsyuk, Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, and Carey Price.

I Call Captain

I have four projections as who could be captain. It’s simply a educated guess but I could see Spezza getting hometown love. And to keep them on separate teams for the second-time ever, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both of the Sedin twins are named captains. If there were any other Canadians who could get selected, look for Toews.

Not Even Picked 

The first two big snubs were legends who are in what could be their final seasons are players. Last year’s captain Nicklas Lidstrom is currently 14th in points and sixth in +\- among blue liners. You’d think it would be enough to get him in, but reports say he turned down the invitation to Ottawa so he can use the extra weekend of rest with his family. On the other hand, Teemu Selanne has 41 points on the season and leads the Ducks in assists and points. He could have been the victim of being on the second-worse team in the league.

Other snubs of note include Pekka Rinne and Craig Anderson. Both have 22 wins in goal, and as of Thursday night when the teams were selected joined Howard (25 wins) as the only goals with more than 20 wins.

Behind the Benches

The bench bosses for this game will be Boston’s Claude Julien and the duo of  John Tortorella of New York Rangers and San Jose’s Todd McLellan. The coaching spots are determined this year by the Stanley Cup winning coach and the top team that has the greatest points percentage in each conference. Julien will be joined by his usual assistants and team assignments are unknown, however it was determined by a coin flip last year.

 

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