Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 All-Star Game Rosters

There was a legitimate chance that the All-Star Game could have been a mini-game this season, as it was on the wheel, ready to take the place of the PIM pool or the outdoor games, but it didn't pop up on the wheel.  Nevertheless, it is still a fun event to showcase for the pool, trying to see where all the pool teams stack up.

Based on the success of the 3-on-3 tournament from last season in Nashville, the NHL has elected to do the same thing again in Los Angeles, where the game will take place on Sunday, January 29th, shortening Week Sixteen, because of the event.

The voting for the All-Star Game captains concluded on January 2nd and they were announced on the 4th.  A week later, the whole rosters were dropped, not to mention the look of the jerseys that will be used in the four-team tournament and we have the makings of a pretty good All-Star weekend upcoming.

But what we're all here for is the players that are playing and how that would look, if there was a mini-game involved here.  Let's start with the host team, the Pacific Division.

Pacific Division NHL Pool
Forwards
Connor McDavid EDM Stacey C.
Jeff Carter LOS Marcin
Joe Pavelski SAN Grant
Ryan Kesler ANA Marcie
Bo Horvat VAN John S.
Johnny Gaudreau CAL Tony
Defense
Brent Burns SAN Marcie
Cam Fowler ANA Benson
Drew Doughty LOS Clayton
Goalies
Martin Jones SAN Wes
Mike Smith ARI Marcie

Connor McDavid was voted in as the captain of the host team, but the Kings are not short on representation on home-ice.  Marcie has a lot of stock in the Pacific Division as well, leading all pool teams with three players on this squad.

Central Division NHL Pool
Forwards
Patrick Kane CHI Clayton
Vladimir Tarasenko STL Derek B.
Tyler Seguin DAL Brian
Patrik Laine WPG Scott
Nathan MacKinnon COL Clayton
Jonathan Toews CHI Derek W.
Defense
Duncan Keith CHI Stuart
Ryan Suter MIN John S.
P.K. Subban NAS Eric
Goalies
Devan Dubnyk MIN John S.
Corey Crawford CHI Marcin

We'll stay in the West for the second All-Star squad, as the Central Division had all kinds of players to choose from, but only so many could go.  This is a very solid bunch, led by captain P.K. Subban, who is so popular, even though he missed so much time, gets to captain this squad.  The Blackhawks have four players going and Clayton leads this team with two selections.

Atlantic Division NHL Pool
Forwards
Brad Marchand BOS Cam
Nikita Kucherov TAM Brian
Auston Matthews TOR Scott
Vincent Trocheck FLA Marcie
Kyle Okposo BUF Wes
Frans Nielsen DET Dale B.
Defense
Victor Hedman TAM Stuart
Erik Karlsson OTT Dale B.
Shea Weber MTL Marcin
Goalies
Tuukka Rask BOS Troy
Carey Price MTL Benson

Who says you can't have a goalie as your captain?  In the All-Star Game, you certainly can.  The Atlantic Division will be led by Carey Price, who ranks 2nd among teammates in pool scoring, as of Sunday morning.  This is a pretty evenly spread out team, with the Habs, Bruins and Bolts with a couple of players each.  Dale B., our new pool leader has a couple of players here.

Metropolitan Division NHL Pool
Forwards
Evgeni Malkin PIT Tony
Sidney Crosby PIT Brenda & Seward
Alex Ovechkin WAS Ryan
John Tavares NYI Stuart
Wayne Simmonds PHI Kristy & Don
Taylor Hall NJD John S.
Defense
Ryan McDonagh NYR Derek W.
Justin Faulk CAR Eric
Seth Jones CBJ Stacey M.
Goalies
Sergei Bobrovsky CBJ Mike
Braden Holtby WAS Jeremy

Finally, the last team of the four, from the Metropolitan Division, has to be one of the favourites going in.  They have the best player in the pool, Sergei Bobrovsky, their captain, Sidney Crosby, is in fine form this season and their forwards are just ridiculous for a 3-on-3 tournament.  Pittsburgh, Washington and Columbus all have a couple players each, rounding out a pretty decent team, while no one appears to have more than one player on this team in the pool.

Now that we've seen all four teams, the question would be... what if this was a mini-game?  It had a chance at being one.  Marcie and John S. would be the early favourites in this tournament, each having four players participating.   Dale C. is the only team of the 25 in the pool to go without, as players like Artemi Panarin or Patrice Bergeron were not included.

The top player not going to the mid-season classic, as of Sunday morning, is Edmonton's Cam Talbot, which could have given Marcie a fifth player at the game for her pool team.  Talbot ranks 6th in pool scoring today, but the Pacific Division team had to be rounded out somehow.

Other top players not going, in order of rankings... Peter Budaj of the Kings, Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals, Mark Scheifele of the Jets, John Gibson of the Ducks, Phil Kessel of the Penguins... and those are just the guys in the top 20 in pool scoring.  This isn't a travesty or a great injustice, it just has to happen, given the parameters of team selection.
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