Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My All Star Game Line-Ups

The NHL All Star Games lineups will be announced on Thursday for the West Conference and Friday for the East Conference. Here are the players I would put on the teams (there may be some differences between my selections and who I would predict to be selected). Like last year's game, I will assume 21 man rosters (3 goalies, 6 dmen and 12 forwards) with at least one player selected from each NHL team. I will make no attempt to replace injured players who are deserving, but likely won't be in the All Star Game. The starters are selected by fan voting.

West Conference


Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks
Luongo was selected as the starter and is a worthy selection, but he has announced he will miss the All Star Game. This makes the inclusion of a Vancouver Canuck in the game problematic. Unless injury opens up another spot, the simplest thing is to include Curtis Sanford as Luongo's replacement, but Sanford is not worthy of playing in the All Star Game.

Ilya Bryzgalov Phoenix Coyotes Not bad for a player who was on waivers this season (although it had nothing to do with his playing ability). Bryzgalov has been the MVP of the Coyotes by a large margin since his arrival.

Pascal Leclaire Columbus Blue Jackets He has cooled off a bit from an amazing start, but remains one of the top goalies this season. He will be the lone Columbus Blue Jacket in the game.


Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
The best defenceman in the game. He was voted a starter by the fans.

Dion Phaneuf Calgary Flames The other starting defenceman from fan voting.

Chris Pronger Anaheim Ducks Elite defenceman, more than worthy of an all star spot.

Sergei Zubov Dallas Stars Also an elite defenceman. Dallas's lone representative.

Brian Rafalski Detroit Red Wings Second highest scoring defenceman in the game right now behind Lidstrom.

Robyn Regehr Calgary Flames Solid stay at homer who deserves a spot despite a lack of offensive numbers.


Henrik Zetterberg Detroit Red Wings
Voted a starter by the fans. This appears to be the year he makes the jump to bonafied stardom.

Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings The third Red Wings voted a starter. Given the limitation that there must be a player from each team in the game, the large number of Red Wings makes things hard. It forces a higher percentage of the non-starter spots to players who are the only representative from their team and in some cases are not worthy had they played on better teams with better available choices.

Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames The non-Red Wing forward choice, but he doesn't increase the diversity of players in the starting lineup since he and Phaneuf were both selected from Calgary.

Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks In a year where Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau have struggled offensively, Thornton remains going for the Sharks and is their lone representative.

Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche Colorado's rep who has taken a big leap in his second NHL season.

Marian Gaborik Minnesota Wild The selection from Minnesota.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks Probable rookie of the year and the top scorer in Chicago.

Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim Ducks The only forward non-starter added to this team who is not the lone representative from his NHL team.

Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings While things have gone poorly in LA, Kopitar is still playing quite well.

Shawn Horcoff Edmonton Oilers Oilers representative.

Jason Arnott Nashville Predators Somebody had to represent the Preds.

Brad Boyes St Louis Blues St Louis was the hardest team to select a player from. I considered Manny Legace in goal, but he fell short. Boyes has 21 goals for the team lead but must be considered the player having the worst season on this west all star team.

East Conference


Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils
Voted the starter by the fans

Tim Thomas Boston Bruins Saves percentage leader in the NHL

Cristobal Huet Montreal Canadiens Having a very good year in Montreal


Andrei Markov Montreal Canadiens
Voted a starter by the fans.

Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins The other starter on defence

Sergei Gonchar Pittsburgh Penguins Top scoring defenceman in the east.

Tomas Kaberle Toronto Maple Leafs Having a very good season in Toronto

Brian Campbell Buffalo Sabres The lone Buffalo representative. Playing well for the Sabres

Michal Rozsival New York Rangers On a Ranger team with Jagr, Lundqvist and Gomez has been the surprise MVP so far and is their lone representative.


Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins
The best player in the game right now. Voted a starter by fans. A bit of a surprise that he is not leading the NHL in scoring.

Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators Voted a starter by the fans

Vincent LeCavalier Tampa Bay Lightning MVP at this point in the season. Voted a starter by the fans

Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta Thrashers Top goal scorer in the NHL.

Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals The Capitals run away MVP. What happens to the Caps if he ever leaves as a free agent?

Dany Heatley Ottawa Senators Tied with Alfredsson as Sens top scorer.

Mats Sundin Toronto Maple Leafs Consistently is the Leafs top scorer. Will they trade him?

Jason Spezza Ottawa Senators If not for a few games missed to injury would be among the league's top scorers.

Mike Richards Philadelphia Flyers The Flyers invested in him in a longterm deal. He has been worth it so far this year.

Ray Whitney Carolina Hurricanes The Canes have several offensive players with similar numbers in Eric Staal, Cory Stillman and Rod Brind'Amour. I pick Whitney as their representative because he is their top scorer right now.

Olli Jokinen Florida Panthers The Panthers top scorer is their representative.

Mike Comrie New York Islanders The least deserving all star in the east, but somebody must represent the Isles.

When the teams are announced we will see how many of my picks were actually selected.

NOTE: My comment on Ovechkin is now out of date. He has signed a 13! year contract with the Washington Capitals. He isn't leaving as a free agent.

When did they pass the "every team needs an all-star" rule in the NHL? This is completely pathetic.

For what it's worth, if any Isle should go, it should be Rick DiPietro, though Huet is a good choice as well. I do know that without RDP the Islanders would have at least eight fewer points right now.
There isn't any rule that each team must have at least one in the all star game - if by rule you mean a written bylaw that needs to be passed. However, picking teams with at least one player from each team is a tradition that has existed at least as long as the 1967 expansion and arguably throughout the entire history of the NHL All Star Game. As the number of teams in the league has expanded, the number of roster spots required just to have a player per team has increased which has many wondering if this tradition will be abandoned. It isw entirely unclear if that tradition will be upheld this year or not. Here is James Mirtle's All Star Teams. He includes players from most but not all teams in the league and it is possible this is what the NHL will do.
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