After the conclusion of the fan voting that took place from December 1st to January 2nd, the results are finally in on who will be leading each divisional team in the upcoming All-Star Weekend 3-on-3 tournament. The Metropolitan Division will be led by none other than the best player in the league, Sidney Crosby. He’ll be opposed by the young stud gunning for his title, Connor McDavid, who will captain the Pacific Division team. Leading the charge for the Atlantic Division team, and from the most important position as well, will be Carey Price. If healthy, a new addition to the loaded Central Division, P.K. Subban, will captain his squad.
While the rest of the rosters have yet to be filled out, fans nailed at least three of their four selections. The building rivalry between Crosby and McDavid as to who is the best player in the world has really take off in 2016-17. At 29 years old, and already a surefire Hall of Famer, Crosby may be having the best season of his career. With 26 goals in just 32 games, he’s scoring at a career-best clip and seems likely to shatter his personal best of 51 goals in a season. Crosby is also third overall in points with 42. The Penguins are bona fide contenders again, as they look to defend their Stanley Cup title, and Crosby is leading the way. However, just above him at 43 and tied for the league lead in points is the prodigy McDavid. McDavid also has complete control over the league lead in assists with 29. The Oilers have finally climbed out of the NHL’s basement, and the owe a lot, if not all, of their success to McDavid. As good as he’s been, many expect better. With Evgeni Malkin hogging a lot of points for himself in Pittsburgh, most believe that McDavid will eventually pull away from the Penguins’ dynamic duo and claim the Art Ross, and likely the Hart, for himself. We’ll get a preview of the stretch run points race at All-Star weekend.
Price is also the obvious choice, especially to lead a division that is lacking in offensive superstars with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos sidelined. Price is the undisputed best goalie in the league, and is at it again in 2016-17. Price is currently fourth in save percentage at .930, seventh in goals against average at 2.07, and fifth in wins with 18. The collapse of the Canadiens last season was due completely to Price’s injury absence, as he proved to be the most valuable asset in the entire league. As long as he stays healthy, Montreal appears to be a lock to win the Atlantic, with their all-world goalie leading the way.
The selection of Subban follows a different thought process. Despite moving from Montreal to Nashville, which in fairness has become quite a hockey city itself, Subban remains one the most popular players in the NHL. With one of the biggest personalities in the league and a persona that exceeds the boundaries of the game, fans want to make sure that they see the talented blue liner in action whenever they can. However, their votes may not be enough this time. Subban was just placed on injured reserve by the Predators on Sunday, as he has struggled with a herniated disk in his back for weeks. Rather than surgery, Nashville has opted to let Subban rest and recover until he is game-ready. Returning to action for an All-Star tournament doesn’t quite align with that task. Unless the team has cleared Subban for action prior to the end of the month, it seems unlikely that he will be able to captain the Central team. However, don’t expect him to pass up the opportunity to stop by and get his face in front of a camera regardless.
All-Star Weekend takes place on January 28th and 29th. Stay tuned for more info on the complete rosters in the coming weeks.