The NHL has announced the rosters for All-Star weekend, coming up at the end of the month in Los Angeles. For the second year in a row, the league will return to its 3-on-3 tournament format. A team from each division – Atlantic and Metropolitan in the East and Central and Pacific in the West – will field an 11-man roster to take part in the skills competition and tournament. The captains for each team were announced previously, with arguably the three best players in the NHL leading their respective divisions in Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Carey Price, and fan-favorite P.K. Subban heading the Central squad, if healthy. The remainder of the selections are as follows:
Atlantic – F Nikita Kucherov, TB; F Brad Marchand, BOS; F Auston Matthews, TOR; F Frans Nielsen, DET; F Kyle Okposo, BUF; F Vincent Trocheck, FLA; D Victor Hedman, TB; D Erik Karlsson, OTT; D Shea Weber, MTL; G Tuukka Rask, BOS
Metropolitan – F Taylor Hall, NJ; F Evgeni Malkin, PIT; F Alex Ovechkin, WAS; F Wayne Simmonds, PHI; F John Tavares, NYI; D Justin Faulk, CAR; D Seth Jones, CLB; D Ryan McDonagh, NYR; G Sergei Bobrovsky, CLB; G Braden Holtby, WAS
Central – F Patrick Kane, CHI; F Patrik Laine, WPG; F Nathan MacKinnon, COL; F Tyler Seguin, DAL; F Vladimir Tarasenko, STL; F Jonathan Toews, CHI; D Duncan Keith, CHI; D Ryan Suter, MIN; G Corey Crawford, CHI; G Devan Dubnyk, MIN
Pacific – F Jeff Carter, LA; F Johnny Gaudreau, CGY; F Bo Horvat, VAN; F Ryan Kesler, ANA; F Joe Pavelski, SJ; D Brent Burns, SJ; D Drew Doughty, LA; D Cam Fowler, ANA; G Martin Jones, SJ; G Mike Smith, ARI
As is with most All-Star games, the majority of the selections are not surprises. However, while there isn’t quite a John Scott in the 2016-17 group, there are still some names that stand out from the crowd. Rookies Matthews and Laine, although subject to much fanfare as they’ve enjoyed excellent NHL starts, still jump out as being All-Stars in their first pro seasons. With each team required to have a representative, Vancouver’s Horvat and Florida’s Trocheck pop as guys who aren’t quite superstars yet, but are deserving as standout performers on their respective teams. Another interesting story line, though likely more sickening for fans of the struggling franchise, is that the New York Islanders have just one player headed to L.A. in Tavares, but also see 2016 free agent departures Okposo and Nielsen joining him.
Some notable absences, due to tight roster restrictions, include Chicago’s Artemi Panarin (though the Blackhawks are already the only team with four representatives), Boston’s David Pastrnak, Columbus’ Cam Atkinson, Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen, and Edmonton’s Cam Talbot. However, all things considered the rosters seem fair and balanced and All-Star weekend is shaping up to be the great event it always is.