Tue Jan 11 12:23pm EST
Ladies and gents, your 2011 NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft pool has been selected, and you can view the players here or at the bottom of this post. Here are a few quick reactions to the selections:
1. The Penguins had four selections (all voted in) while the Blackhawks also had four (two voted in, two selected.) One member of the Philadelphia Flyers and one member of the Detroit Red Wings in the fantasy pool. We doubt this is going to sit well with either fan base.
2. The NHL did a very nice job balancing the star power with the midseason accolades. Patrick Kane(notes), stats be damned, belongs in an All-Stat game; but so does Patrick Sharp(notes). This hasn't been a spectacular year offensively for Mike Green(notes), but you want to watch him in this format; that said, the league also found room to honor Tobias Enstrom(notes) of Atlanta, which is awesome.
3. I was getting slaughtered by Carolina fans for proclaiming my surprise at the selection of Cam Ward(notes) as one of the five remaining goaltenders in the pool. Of course, in hindsight, it makes total sense with the game in Raleigh and all. But in case you haven't noticed, it's been kind of a strong year for goaltending in the NHL. I would not have placed Ward ahead of snubs like Pekka Rinne(notes), Jonathan Quick(notes), Ondrej Pavelec(notes) (especially) or Roberto Luongo(notes). Again, this isn't to say he's undeserving; just surprising. Upon further analysis, we all should have seen it coming.
4. Speaking of Luongo ... so, are they just going to edit him out of that slick VERSUS All-Star game commercial that's due to run for the rest of the month? Because it turns out he wasn't one of the "chosen ones to answer the call." (Ah, sweet lack of synergy ...)
5. Not to put too much spotlight on the most meaningless position in the All-Star game, but Jonas Hiller(notes) making the cut despite the Ducks having Corey Perry(notes) and Cam Fowler(notes) in the game was a mild surprise. Again, totally deserves it ... as did others.
7. If there's one surprise among the forwards, it'd have to be Ales Hemsky(notes) of the Oilers. He's got good numbers: 24 points in 27 games. But there's a gentleman named Henrik Zetterberg(notes) with 49 points in 43 games that would have been a better choice here. Or Paul Stastny(notes). Or Teemu Selanne(notes). Bottom line is that the Oilers were going to be represented by rookies in the skills competition. Speaking of which ...
8. Four teams will have their sole representation via rookies in the skills competitions: Looks like four teams got rookies-only treatment: Evgeny Dadonov(notes) (FLA), Tyler Ennis(notes) (BUF), Michael Grabner(notes) (NYI), Oliver Ekman-Larsson(notes) (PHO). Which is why you don't see Tomas Vokoun(notes), Ryan Miller(notes), John Tavares(notes) or Keith Yandle(notes) filling a quota.
10. Finally, let's not forget that there may have been a few players begging out of the game behind the scenes that we don't know about, for reasons that we don't know about. Or other politics at play. Or injuries.
Here's the skinny from the NHL:
As previously announced, the NHL, working in conjunction with the National Hockey League Players' Association, replaced the traditional conference vs. conference format for the All-Star teams with a player draft that will determine the team rosters for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover as well as the Honda NHL SuperSkills®. The Jan. 28 NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco will be televised live nationwide on TSN and RDS in Canada and VERSUS in the U.S. at 8 p.m. ET from NHL Fan Fair at the Raleigh Convention Center.
A coin toss will decide first pick with the team captains, joined by their two alternate captains, alternately drafting the 36 remaining All-Stars through 18 rounds. Each team will consist of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards total. For sake of fairness in the draft, the captain and alternate captains for each team will consist of two forwards and one defenseman. Also, to ensure that the final draft picks are true selections and not simply predetermined due to position requirements, each team's three goalies must be picked by the end of Round 10 and each team's six defensemen must be picked by the conclusion of Round 15.
The 12 Rookies participating in the Honda NHL SuperSkills® will be divided by the NHL into two groups of six. At the completion of the 15th round of the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco, one NHL Rookie will be selected to choose which All-Star team his group will join for the skills competition. Details on fan access to the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco will be announced in the coming weeks.
Here are the rosters:
Sidney Crosby(notes), C, Pittsburgh Penguins*
Jonathan Toews(notes), C, Chicago Blackhawks*
Evgeni Malkin(notes), C, Pittsburgh Penguins*
David Backes(notes), RW, St. Louis Blues
Matt Duchene(notes), C, Colorado Avalanche
Patrik Elias(notes), LW, New Jersey Devils
Loui Eriksson(notes), LW, Dallas Stars
Claude Giroux(notes), RW, Philadelphia Flyers
Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers
Jarome Iginla(notes), RW, Calgary Flames
Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler(notes), C, Vancouver Canucks
Phil Kessel(notes), RW, Toronto Maple Leafs
Anze Kopitar(notes), C, Los Angeles Kings
Rick Nash(notes), LW, Columbus Blue Jackets
Alex Ovechkin(notes), LW, Washington Capitals
Corey Perry, RW, Anaheim Ducks
Brad Richards(notes), C, Dallas Stars
Daniel Sedin(notes), LW, Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin(notes), C, Vancouver Canucks
Patrick Sharp, LW, Chicago Blackhawks
Martin St. Louis(notes), RW, Tampa Bay Lightning
Eric Staal(notes), C, Carolina Hurricanes
Steven Stamkos(notes), C, Tampa Bay Lightning
Kris Letang(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins*
Duncan Keith(notes), Chicago Blackhawks*
Dan Boyle(notes), San Jose Sharks
Brent Burns(notes), Minnesota Wild
Dustin Byfuglien(notes), Atlanta Thrashers
Zdeno Chara(notes), Boston Bruins
Tobias Enstrom, Atlanta Thrashers
Mike Green, Washington Capitals
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Nicklas Lidstrom(notes), Detroit Red Wings
Marc Staal(notes), New York Rangers
Shea Weber(notes), Nashville Predators
Marc-Andre Fleury(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks
Henrik Lundqvist(notes), New York Rangers
Carey Price(notes), Montreal Canadiens
Tim Thomas(notes), Boston Bruins
Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes
Rookies (Only Participating in Skills Competitions)
Logan Couture(notes), C, San Jose Sharks
Evgeny Dadonov, RW, Florida Panthers
Jordan Eberle(notes), RW, Edmonton Oilers
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Phoenix Coyotes
Tyler Ennis, LW, Buffalo Sabres
Cam Fowler, D, Anaheim Ducks
Michael Grabner, RW, New York Islanders
Taylor Hall(notes), LW, Edmonton Oilers
Tyler Seguin(notes), C, Boston Bruins
Kevin Shattenkirk(notes), D, Colorado Avalanche
Jeff Skinner(notes), C, Carolina Hurricanes
Derek Stepan(notes), New York Rangers