The initial 32-man roster for the NHL All-Star game has been announced. It’s going to be an exciting showdown as we have some history being made and some interesting snubs.
We’re going to take a glance and what some of those important bits of exciting news are that are coming out.
But, if you’re new to what the NHL All-Star game is about, let’s take a quick look back. Get your skates on because we’re heading back on to the ice.
So what is this All-Star game all about?
This is the annual exhibition event that has been played by teams within the league since 1947. It’s generally held in January or February and marks the mid-point of the NHL season. It puts together the very best of the talent in the league.
The contest takes place at a venue selected ahead of time and in this season, it’s Florida hosting. The FLA Live Arena, home of the Florida Panthers, will be the venue on February 4th.
As of 2015, the format changed where instead of two teams facing off, there would be four, one per division. Each team would therefore have one of its players selected for the team representing their division; Atlantic, Pacific, Metropolitan and Central.
The game will last 20 minutes with two halves of 10 minutes each and consist of teams of three players. If there’s a tie by the 20-minute mark, the game goes to a shootout until there’s a winner.
After the four teams have played each other, the two winners will face each other in the All-Star Game Final. As of 2017, teams will compete in the National Hockey League All-Star Skills Competition the night before.
The All-Star team which wins this prior contest can then choose who they face first in the Semi-Final.
How are the players selected?
There are a total of 44 players taking part in the All-Star competition.
The NHL’s Hockey Operations Department will normally select all the of 44-man roster. Since last year, fans have been allowed to shake things up by selecting players by popular vote.
There are 12 players still to be decided, 3 additional players per division. That’s 2 skaters and 1 goalie.
Last year they could choose one captain and a ‘last man in’ per team division.
Fans will have until January 17th to make their choices.
So who’s been selected?
All-Star Game rosters
Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)
Dylan Larkin (Red Wings)
Mitch Marner (Maple Leafs)
Nick Suzuki (Canadiens)
Tage Thompson (Sabres)
Brady Tkachuk (Senators)
Matthew Tkachuk (Panthers)
Linus Ullmark (Bruins)
Sidney Crosby (Penguins)
Alex Ovechkin (Capitals)
Johnny Gaudreau (Blue Jackets)
Kevin Hayes (Flyers)
Jack Hughes (Devils)
Brock Nelson (Islanders)
Igor Shesterkin (Rangers)
Andrei Svechnikov (Hurricanes)
Seth Jones (Blackhawks)
Kirill Kaprizov (Wild)
Clayton Keller (Coyotes)
Cale Makar (Avalanche)
Josh Morrissey (Jets)
Jason Robertson (Stars)
Juuse Saros (Predators)
Vladimir Tarasenko (Blues)
Matty Beniers (Kraken) INJURED
Chandler Stephenson (Golden Knights)
(As of 30th January, Beniers has been replaced by Chandler Stephenson. Beniers is unable to participate due to an injury. It’ll be Stephenson’s first appearance at the All-Stars. He currently leads the Golden Knights with 33 assists and 44 points in 51 games.)
Kevin Fiala (Kings)
Nazem Kadri (Flames)
Erik Karlsson (Sharks)
Connor McDavid (Oilers)
Elias Pettersson (Canucks)
Troy Terry (Ducks)
Logan Thompson (Golden Knights)
The brothers Tkachuk
Matthew (Panthers) and Brady (Senators) have both been selected to play for the Atlantic Division. It’ll be the second time in NHL history that the brothers have played in the contest but most importantly, the first time playing on the same side.
The last time they were selected for the exhibition game, they were against each other and in different divisions. Back then Matthew was with the Calgary Flames and in the Pacific Division. Pacific would go on to win.
Matthew is also relishing his time with the Panthers. He’s so far scored 20 goals, collected 49 points and 29 assists.
Brady’s not doing too badly either. He’s scored 14 with the Senators this season along with 26 assists and collected 40 points.
Who got snubbed?
There’s no Ilya Sorokin or Adam Fox, so far.
While Shesterkin has proven himself to be the best goaltender in the world at the moment, the season performance highlights that Sorokin is in fact more prolific. Should he be between the pipes instead? Perhaps he might with the popular vote.
Adam Fox is one of the most impactful defencemen of the New York Rangers and of the season overall. Fox would’ve been a very important pick for the roster. Again, he still could be selected.
Who could win?
Good question, difficult to answer so far. Momentarily, the Atlantic Division appears to have the advantage with the likes of the Tkachuks, Suzuki and Marner in the roster.
There’s still another 12 players to pick and there could be the arrival of David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron.