Oh, Phil …
The 2012 NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft is scheduled for Thursday night, as Team Zdeno Chara (with Joffrey Lupul!) and Team Daniel Alfredsson (with Henrik Lundqvist!) select their rosters. In the process, they'll determine which NHL star forward will be sitting all by his lonesome while his peers take cell phone pictures of him for Twitter.
From the NHL:
A coin toss will decide first pick, with Alfredsson and Chara, joined by their assistant captains, alternately drafting the 38 remaining All-Stars through 19 rounds. Each team will consist of three goaltenders, six defensemen and 12 forwards. 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 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition will be divided by the National Hockey League into two groups of six. At the completion of the 15th round of the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft, one NHL Rookie will be selected to choose which All-Star team his group will join for the skills competition.
The NHL Foundation and the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund each will donate $10,000 on behalf of the All-Star selected with the final pick of the Draft to the grassroots hockey program of his choice.
Who will be this year's Mr. Irrelevant? Your predictions, and justifications, in the comments please; here's how we see the field.
Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers
Sports wagering site Bovada had Hartnell as the odds-on favorite for the last pick in the Draft at 6-to-1, which makes sense when you consider (a) he's probably agitated the [expletive] out of everyone in the draft not named Claude Giroux during his career, (b) he was an injury replacement and (c) he's the kind of good-natured goofball that could laugh it off and play the part of the short kid in gym class.
However, he and Lupul are boys going back to Joffrey's days with the Flyers, both as linemates and as members of the infamous "Old City Gang" that eventually was asked to sail to the Dry Island. So there's always that connection working in his favor.
Chances He'll Be Selected Last: HOWEVER, Lupul told Hartnell that Chara doesn't like him very much. And Chara, we're sure, can be very convincing … so there might still be a chance Hartsy goes lasty.
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
He's an unassuming 22-year-old with no discernible connection to either team. He's the kind of guy who just wants to maintain as low a profile as he can, telling NHL.com: "Hopefully I can just hide in the weeds down here still. I like it down here. I'm fine with (being underrated)."
Chances He'll Be Selected Last: Good. It's entirely possible TSN begins to sign off from the Draft before it realizes Jamie Benn is still on the board.
Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
The Toronto Sun and NHL.com had him last in their fantasy draft, which really isn't fair to Pominville: It's not his fault Thomas Vanek should have been here instead of him. That's no guarantee that Pominville will in fact be selected last, although someone of great potential perilously dropping down the ranks into the basement would be an appropriate representative of the Buffalo Sabres' season.
Then again, he and Chara seem rather attracted to each other: