Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon should be the team’s All Star representative.
The new All-Star format proves to be extremely interesting. There has been mixed feedback from social media, but I personally am excited for the gameplay. In case you haven’t heard about the new format, from NHL.com:
"The game, on Sunday, Jan. 31, will be a 3-on-3 tournament pitting the four divisions against one another in a winner-take-all format… Each division’s roster will have six forwards, three defenseman and two goalies. One player from each division will be voted onto the team by the fans and the other 40 players will be selected by the League’s Hockey Operations Department. Each team will have at least one player from every team in its division."
But as much as I love the idea of a 3 on 3 tourney with a cash prize for the winner — so players have some incentive to play defense — I hate the selection process. Fans only get to vote in four players this year. This is incredibly dumb because I guarantee you that the players the fans vote in are players the league would put in anyway — ie, Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Sidney Crosby, Steve Stamkos, etc. (I realize Tavares and Crosby are both Metropolitan players, my point is the fans in reality aren’t voting any players in, because the superstars that will get cross team votes are going to be the superstars the league would pick anyway.)
Anyway, here’s the preview from NHL writers on what they think the roster will be:
Obviously, the problem is Nathan MacKinnon more then deservers to be in this game, but with the one player from each team rule things will get sticky. So I’ll lay out how I think the roster for the central division should be, with a short explanation of why each player is there.
Patrick Kane- He’s leading the league in points, assists, and goals right now… Enough said.
Tyler Seguin- Tied for the lead league in assists, and second in the league in points. Seems like a fun guy to have at the celebration.
Jamie Benn- Third in the league in points, last year’s Art Ross winner for leading the league in points
Jonathan Toews- Captain Serious, possibly the best two-way player in the league. Most likely to be the only forward to enter the D zone in the tournament
Zach Parise- I know he’s hurt right now, but this guy is the hardest working superstar in the league. I have nothing but respect for Parise.
Nathan MacKinnon- 7th in the league in points. He has single handedly carried the Avs at times. Will be the fastest player in the tournament
John Klingberg- A defenseman who’s 8th in the league in points? Yeah you’re on the list.
Dustin Byfuglien- True he only has 10 points this year. Plus we have to get a Jet’s player in here. Bonus: Most likely to lay someone out in the All-Star game.
Roman Josi- It was a hard decision between him and Shea Weber also from the Predators. But I believe Josi skates better, and he has 3 more points (13). Plus the game is in Nashville, I’m not a cold person, give them someone to cheer for besides Rinne, who’s destined to be shelled.
Jake Allen- Hey gotta get your Blues’ player in. Also he leads the Central Division in save percentage and GAA for goalies with more then 10 games played. Win-win
Pekka Rinne- He’s been solid but not spectacular this year, but he gets the buy in off of name recognition and decent numbers. Also, who else are you going to put in here? (Maybe Crawford, but nahh.)
Player’s I Left Out
Vladimir Tarasenko- He’s 12th in the league in points, but the Central Division has so many spectacular forwards that he draws the unlucky straw. Any other division and he’s probably in.
Ryan Suter- I have long said Ryan Suter is overrated. True, he is possibly the most solid defenseman in the NHL. However, modern NHL defenseman need to be more then solid, they need to be able to create offense. Suter isn’t terrible at this, but he certainly doesn’t fit in the 3 on 3 format, or even the idea of an offense focused All-Star game in any format.
Tyson Barrie- I have watched a lot of Avalanche games this year, and honestly Tyson Barrie just isn’t standing out this year. He hasn’t been bad per say — he does have 12 points. But he isn’t playing at the elite caliber he is capable of.
Duncan Keith- A casualty of only having three defenseman per division and being injured. Could easily be swapped in for Roman Josi if he tears it up like he’s capable of in the coming weeks.
So you might –nay, probably will — disagree with at least some of my choices. Also, what do you think of the new All Star format? Let me know in the comments down below.