Every NHL Team's Best Bet to Be an All-Star in 2013-14 Season

James Onusko@@jonuskoContributor IIIOctober 31, 2013

Every NHL Team's Best Bet to Be an All-Star in 2013-14 Season

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    There won't be an NHL All-Star Game for the 2013-14 season as the Sochi Olympics will be in full swing February 7-23, 2014. 

    But there will be All-Star team selections following the end of the season. While some might think these selections don't mean a lot to players, they are important for bragging rights, and in many instances, they can be part of contract performance bonuses.

    We're not even a quarter of the way through the regular season, but players are already emerging as potential First or Second Team All-Stars. We'll take a look at each team's possible All-Star player along with an honorable mention. 

    All regular stats can be found on nhl.com unless otherwise noted.

    All advanced stats can found on Behind the Net unless otherwise noted.

Anaheim Ducks

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    All-Star Candidate: Ryan Getzlaf

    Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has been one of the best all-around players in the league to start the season. The former Calgary Hitmen standout has 13 points in 13 games for the Ducks. 

    He's also won 50.2 percent of his draws and boasts a 19.2 shooting percentage. Getzlaf has also played 20:14 minutes per game and contributes at both ends of the ice.

    Getzlaf hasn't just scored, he's scored timely goals, as three of his goals are game-winners. If he continues playing this way, he will be playing for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics, without question.

    Honorable Mention: Corey Perry

Boston Bruins

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    All-Star Candidate: Milan Lucic

    The Boston Bruins have had a few players get off to slow starts, at least offensively, to start the season. Milan Lucic has not been one such player.

    The bruising winger has 12 points already. This is better than a point-per-game pace, and his six goals leads the team in that category. 

    Lucic has already registered 36 hits over his first 11 games and has punished opponents on most nights.

    He also has a solid relative Corsi number of 2.9 to start the season; expect that number to increase as the Bruins continue to improve their team game as the season wears on.

    Honorable Mention: Tuukka Rask

Buffalo Sabres

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    All-Star Candidate: Cody Hodgson

    The Buffalo Sabres are going to lose a lot more games than they will win this year. The rebuild is on, and it is going to be a slow process since the team is young and mistake-prone for the time being.

    One player that the team can build around is former Vancouver Canuck Cody Hodgson. The young centre has 10 points in the first 14 games to lead the young Buffalo team. 

    Hodgson will be counted upon to be the go-to guy for the offensively challenged Sabres. Matt Moulson should provide some additional scoring with his recent trade to the team from the New York Islanders, along with the future draft picks the team pick up in exchange for winger Thomas Vanek.

    Honorable Mention: Christian Erhoff

Calgary Flames

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    All-Star Candidate: Jiri Hudler

    The Calgary Flames have had a surprisingly good start to the season. Equally surprising in many ways is that former Detroit Red Wing Jiri Hudler is leading the Flames in scoring with 13 points.

    The Flames forward is playing some great hockey and is averaging 20:20 minutes of ice time per game. He also has an unsustainable shooting percentage of 26.3, but he'll continue to ride that as long as he can.

    Hudler has been playing good hockey at both ends of the ice, and his relative Corsi number is 8.4, which is a very good number.

    The loss of captain Mark Giordano for up to two months to an ankle injury could be devastating for the team. He was off to a fantastic start along with Hudler.

    Honorable Mention: Mark Giordano

Carolina Hurricanes

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    All-Star Candidate: Jeff Skinner

    The Carolina Hurricanes have had a very average start to the season; however, their current offensive leader, Jeff Skinner, has been much better than average.

    The talented forward has nine points in his first 10 games and is plus-five to start the season. He has been sidelined by injury, but it is hoped he'll return by this weekend.

    Skinner is a versatile forward who could potentially be an Olympian with Team Canada. He is well on his way to posting his fourth consecutive positive relative Corsi number this season. His current number is 7.5.

    The Hurricanes need Skinner to be at the top of his game, along with Eric Staal, if they hope to make a playoff push this season.

    Honorable Mention: Andrej Sekera

Chicago Blackhawks

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    All-Star Candidate: Jonathan Toews

    When Sidney Crosby is healthy, he is arguably the best player in the NHL. Jonathan Toews is a close second, though, and Chicago fans are lucky to have him in the Windy City.

    Toews has 13 points in his first 13 games. His recent four-point effort against the Ottawa Senators was one of the better individual efforts so far this season.

    Toews continues to play exceedingly well in all three zones, and his faceoff percentage is a solid 55.1 to date.

    The Blackhawks haven't been as dominant as last year, but the Stanley Cup champs are sure to be in full flight when the games matter most next spring. Expect Toews to lead that charge.

    Honorable Mention: Duncan Keith

Colorado Avalanche

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    All-Star Candidate: Semyon Varlamov

    To say that the Colorado Avalanche have had a great start to the season would be an understatement. Patrick Roy has done a masterful job of motivating his team. The Avs have been disciplined in the defensive zone and have scored timely goals.

    There have been a number of All-Star candidates in Colorado, but the best of them all has been goaltender Semyon Varlamov. The Russian netminder has an exceptional save percentage of .945 and seven wins in his first eight games.

    The team defense has been great in Colorado, but that does not discount Varlamov's stellar play.

    Don't expect Varlamov to maintain these numbers, but if he stays anywhere near them, he will be both an All-Star and Vezina Trophy candidate.

    Honorable Mention: Matt Duchene

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    All-Star Candidate: James Wisniewski

    The Columbus Blue Jackets have a number of talented young players. American James Wisniewski certainly fits that bill and has been an early All-Star candidate for the Jackets.

    Wisniewski has nine points in the first 10 games, along with 13 hits and eight blocked shots.

    The Blue Jackets are in what appears to be the weakest division in the league this year, the Metropolitan. The club has been playing just under .500 hockey, but that leaves them right in the thick of it in this particular division.

    If Wisniewski can continue his hot play, the Blue Jackets should see their record improve in the coming months.

    Honorable Mention: Marian Gaborik

Dallas Stars

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    All-Star Candidate: Kari Lehtonen

    The Dallas Stars are last in the Central Division, but that has nothing to do with the play of Finnish netminder Kari Lehtonen.

    The talented Dallas goalie is one of the best in the game. He's posted a .945 save percentage and added an assist in his seven games played.

    The Stars are going to be in a tough up-hill battle all year in the Central Division, but Lehtonen is good enough to steal games against stronger teams. The Stars are a long shot to challenge for a playoff spot, but if they do, it will be thanks to Lehtonen.

    Former Bruin Tyler Seguin and captain Jamie Benn have also been very good for the Stars. They have to continue to be this good so that some of the pressure on Lehtonen will be lessened.

    Honorable Mention: Tyler Seguin

Detroit Red Wings

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    All-Star Candidate: Niklas Kronwall 

    The Detroit Red Wings had a good start to the season but have won just one game in their past five. Niklas Kronwall has been a bright spot for the Wings.

    The Swedish defender has eight points in 11 contests and is a plus-four as well. He has registered seven hits and 26 blocked shots in those 11 games.

    The Red Wings are going to have to play very well this year to make the playoffs in what is one of the best divisions in the entire league. There are six very good teams in the Atlantic Division, and the Florida Panthers have enough talent to pull off some upsets this season.

    Perennial standouts Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have also had very good starts to 2013-14. Those two, along with Kronwall, will be counted upon all year in the Motor City.

    Honorable Mention: Pavel Datsyuk

Edmonton Oilers

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    All-Star Candidate: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

    The Edmonton Oilers are in danger of falling out of the playoff race by early November. While it may seem alarmist, it is more realistic than thinking the team will be able to dig itself out of this early-season hole

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has played very well for the Oilers, and for long stretches of games, the Oilers have actually outshot and outplayed their opponents. But the team has had some of the worst goaltending in the NHL, and team defensive play has been woeful at times.

    RNH has returned from shoulder injury and contributed 10 points in 12 games despite facing the top defenders on most teams. He has created all kinds of scoring chances. Although he sports a minus-nine rating, this has not been an individual issue—it's a team one.

    Nugent-Hopkins has become one of the better young centres in the game, and if anyone can lead the "righting of the ship" movement in Edmonton, it's him.

    Honorable Mention: Mark Arcobello

Florida Panthers

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    All-Star Candidate: Aleksander Barkov

    The Florida Panthers continue to rebuild. They have a number of talented young players. None are more talented than 18-year-old Finnish phenom Aleksander Barkov.

    The young centre is averaging more than 16 minutes of ice time per game and has contributed seven points in Florida's first 12 games. He is just minus-one on the year and his relative Corsi number is a very strong 6.6 on a struggling squad.

    Barkov has enough game to play for Finland at the Sochi Olympics next February, and if there was an All-Star contest this season, he'd be in it. There will be some ups and downs this season, but expect Barkov to be right near the top of the scoring race for the Panthers at season's end.

    Honorable Mention: Brian Campbell

Los Angeles Kings

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    All-Star Candidate: Anze Kopitar

    The Los Angeles Kings have had an uneven start to the season and currently sit fifth in the highly competitive Pacific Division. Anze Kopitar has not been at his best in some games, but when he has played well, he's been the Kings' best player.

    The Kings' top centre has just two goals but has put up 13 points in his first 14 games to lead the team. As usual, he has played well defensively, too. He is plus-three in those games and his a relative Corsi number of 11.5 reflects his ability to attack the opponents' nets relentlessly.

    The Kings, at their best, are one of the better teams in the league. With Kopitar leading the way, along with defenseman Drew Doughty, the Kings will climb up the Pacific Division standings in short order. Kopitar is one of, if not the most underrated player in the NHL today.

    Honorable Mention: Drew Doughty

Minnesota Wild

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    All-Star Candidate: Ryan Suter

    Ryan Suter is going to be a perennial All-Star for a number of seasons. He is Mr. Everything for the Minnesota Wild.

    He can do it all, and it starts with his ice time. Suter leads the entire league in ice time and averages 28:54 minutes per game for the Wild.

    The alternate captain plays in all game situations and has seven points in 13 games for the Wild. Suter also has 16 hits and 15 blocked shots, indicating his commitment to defensive play.

    The Wild are not just hoping to win on most nights now—they are expecting to do so. Much of this is because Suter has helped change the team's culture since signing after beginning his career with the Nashville Predators.

    Suter is one of the game's best defenders, and fans can rest easy when he's on the ice.

    Honorable Mention: Josh Harding

Montreal Canadiens

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    All-Star Candidate: P.K. Subban

    P.K. Subban was a bit of a surprise in winning the Norris Trophy last year. If he wins it this year, no one will be surprised.

    Subban has had an excellent start to the season. He's dominated large parts of games and tallied 11 points in 13 contests.

    He has been responsible in his own end and boasts a plus-four rating. He also has a 14.2 relative Corsi number. Subban has been a force in all three zones, and if his strong play continues, he'll be a shoo-in to play for Team Canada in Sochi.

    Carey Price has also played some brilliant hockey for the Canadiens, but Subban has been that much better in the early part of the 2013-14 season.

    Honorable Mention: Carey Price

Nashville Predators

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    All-Star Candidate: Shea Weber

    Shea Weber has been one of the best all-around defensemen once again this season. The Predators captain has also been mentoring Nashville phenom Seth Jones.

    Weber has five points to start the season, which is very good considering Nashville's ongoing struggles to score. Weber has registered 26 hits and 30 blocked shots already this year. 

    His relative Corsi number is 9.8, which demonstrates his ability to tilt the ice in Nashville's favor when he is on the ice. His 26:15 minutes of ice time leads the entire team and is indicative of the trust that coach Barry Trotz has in him.

    The Predators are going to be challenged to make the playoffs this year, but expect Weber to be an NHL All-Star at season's end.

    Honorable Mention: Seth Jones

New Jersey Devils

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    All-Star Candidate: Marek Zidlicky

    The New Jersey Devils have not started the season the way they had hoped. Despite having one of the better goaltending duos in the league, they have struggled to keep the puck out of their own net. They rank 19th in the NHL this season in goals allowed.

    Zidlicky has been very good offensively and has nine points to start the season. 

    He has also registered 10 blocked shots and 22 hits. Because the Devils are in the weakest division in the league, their poor start is not as debilitating as it might be otherwise.

    The Devils aren't going to dominate anyone this year, but with Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur in goal, they are going to be in most games.

    Honorable Mention: Jaromir Jagr

New York Islanders

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    All-Star Candidate: John Tavares

    The New York Islanders have not begun the year the way they had hoped. Team defense has been an issue, with the goaltending being an even bigger one.

    A number of Islander forwards have been very good. Unsurprisingly, John Tavares has been great not just offensively, but he has played a good two-way game as well. His relative Corsi number of 4.6 isn't otherworldly, but given the start the Islanders have had, it's quite good. 

    Tavares has 13 points in the first 15 games. He's also had two game-winning goals for the Isles. His point total is not outstanding by his standards, so we can expect him to pick that up to at least a point-per-game pace soon. 

    Honorable Mention: Frans Nielsen

New York Rangers

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    All-Star Candidate: Brad Richards

    Brad Richards has been one of the few bright spots for the New York Rangers this season. The Rangers have been awful on many nights, with Henrik Lundqvist really struggling in goal prior to his injury.

    No player is in double digits yet for points, but Richards does lead the Blueshirts with five goals and nine points. Richards has also been dominant when he's been on the ice, with a relative Corsi number of 15.1. Quite simply, he's been playing with the puck a lot and creating scoring chances on most nights.

    The Rangers have the luxury of playing in the league's worst division, so there is a lot of time to turn things around in the Big Apple.

    Honorable Mention: Ryan McDonagh

Ottawa Senators

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    All-Star Candidate: Erik Karlsson

    The Ottawa Senators have been very inconsistent to start the season. They have managed just four wins in their first dozen games. With raised expectations in Ottawa, no one is happy in the capital city.

    Erik Karlsson has posted some very good numbers to start they year despite the team's slow start. The former Norris Trophy winner is playing almost 28 minutes per game and has 11 points in the Senators' 12 games. 

    Karlsson has also generated all kinds of chances this season and boasts a relative Corsi number of 15.9. Although Karlsson is not a very good defender in his own end, he doesn't spend a lot of time there. This mitigates his defensive shortcomings to a great extent.

    The Senators need everyone to lift their games, but Karlsson is a surefire All-Star this year, barring injury.

    Honorable Mention: Jason Spezza

Philadelphia Flyers

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    All-Star Candidate: Vincent Lecavalier

    The Philadelphia Flyers are on their second head coach this season and are last in the Metropolitan Division. In other words, things are not good in the City of Brotherly Love.

    Vincent Lecavalier has played just eight games for the Flyers this year, but he has seven points in those games. He leads the team in points (seven) and in goals (five).

    If Lecavalier remains healthy and continues to score goals, it will take away some of the pressure that Claude Giroux endures as the Flyers' top player. 

    The Flyers haven't played terribly defensively; in fact, Steve Mason has posted a very good save percentage of .928, despite the poor play of his team. If the Flyers can start scoring some goals, expect their fortunes to change.

    Honorable Mention: Steve Mason

Phoenix Coyotes

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    All-Star Candidate: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

    The Phoenix Coyotes have played some excellent hockey on many nights this year. They have 18 points in 13 games and are just three points behind the league's best team, the San Jose Sharks.

    It has taken a team effort to do this, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson's play has once again stood out. If he played in a larger market, he'd be touted as one of the league's best blueliners. 

    Ekman-Larsson does it all and makes it look easy, night after night. He has 10 points in the Coyotes' 13 games, and he has played 25:05 minutes per night in doing so.

    He has 19 hits and 14 blocked shots as well. He's anything but a one-trick pony.

    The Coyotes have averaged 3.31 goals per game, and a lot of that is due to Ekman-Larsson—along with Keith Yandle and Derek Morris—being very good in the offensive zone.

    Ekman-Larsson should get heavy First Team All-Star consideration this year.

    Honorable Mention: Martin Hanzal

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    All-Star Candidate: Sidney Crosby

    When he's healthy, Sidney Crosby is the best player on the planet. He's been at his best on most nights this season and leads the NHL in scoring with 21 points. 

    Crosby has also posted a 53.4 faceoff percentage and has played almost 23:00 minutes of hockey per night.

    What makes Crosby so good is not just his individual skill—it's his unselfish play that makes everyone around him better. Chris Kunitz has 13 points for the Penguins, and a lot of that has to do with Crosby playing with him for the better part of most games.

    Crosby spends most of his shifts in the attacking zone. His relative Corsi number of 22.2 is a great indicator of this. Few players can attack with Crosby's non-stop aggression.

    Sid the Kid is a lock to be an NHL All-Star this year. Look for him to be one of the stars at the Sochi Olympics in Russia as well.

    Honorable Mention: Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose Sharks

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    All-Star Candidate: Antti Niemi

    The San Jose Sharks have been the best team in the NHL this season, and there have been a number of great individual performers for this California team.

    While there has been some excellent offensive play, no one has matched the play of starting goaltender Antti Niemi.

    The Finnish goaltender has been sublime this season. He's had two shutouts as well as two assists so far. He's also posted a .924 save percentage along with nine wins in 12 games. Niemi will get serious consideration to be the starter for the Finnish Olympic team in Russia next February.

    Niemi hasn't done any of this alone. The Sharks have had wonderful play from numerous players, including Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton. Rookie Tomas Hertl also had a memorable four-goal game.

    Honorable Mention: Logan Couture

St. Louis Blues

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    All-Star Candidate: Alexander Steen

    The St. Louis Blues are one of those teams that opponents hate to play. The Blues boast some big, mobile players that can play any style of game. Alexander Steen has had a great start to the season and is one of those players that teams don't want to face.

    He has already lit the lamp 11 times and he has added another five assists. Two of those goals were game-winners.

    Steen is a plus-seven this season and has developed a very good defensive game under head coach Ken Hitchcock. 

    Steen has been one of many good performers for the Blues. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has also been exceptional. Both of these players are threats to be All-Stars this season.

    Honorable Mention: Alex Pietrangelo

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    All-Star Candidate: Steven Stamkos

    The Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos has become one of the most consistent scorers in the NHL. He has one of the best releases in the game and his accuracy is second to none. 

    The Tampa pivot has 18 points this season, and he could be one of a handful of players to crack the 100-point barrier this year.

    Stamkos is also a plus-six after 12 games; however, this is not exclusive company, as the Lightning have outscored most of their opponents.

    Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are always threats to be All-Stars. The veteran St. Louis is also a good bet to join Stamkos on Team Canada's trip to Sochi.

    Honorable Mention: Martin St. Louis

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    All-Star Candidate: Phil Kessel

    The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to defy the odds by winning comfortably on many nights, despite being outshot by a wide margin. Led by first-line winger Phil Kessel, the Leafs have taken advantage of their chances with their high skill and speed.

    Phil Kessel has been dynamite on most nights. He leads the team with 18 points, and night in and night out, he's been one of the top players in the league. 

    Because the Leafs have been outshout so badly, Kessel's relative Corsi number has not been very good (-3.3). That is not in line with his long-term numbers, so that is likely to improve as the season wears on.

    James van Riemsdyk, captain Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul have also played some inspired hockey this season. But it has been Kessel that has outshone them all.

    Honorable Mention: Jonathan Bernier

Vancouver Canucks

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    All-Star Candidate: Henrik Sedin

    Vancouver Canucka captain Henrik Sedin has been his usual brilliant self to begin the 2013-14 season. Sedin is a plus-nine this year and has 18 points to date.

    Along with brother Daniel, Henrik has been able to dominate most opposing lines with an outstanding 24.0 relative Corsi number.

    Ryan Kesler has seen some time on a line with the twins, and when this trio gets the puck down low in the offensive zone, there are very few defenders who can handle them. Some observers thought the Canucks were likely to take a step back this year, but that has not been the case so far.

    There is still a lot of top-end talent in Vancouver. The Sedins are both likely All-Stars if their play continues at this high level.

    Honorable Mention: Daniel Sedin

Washington Capitals

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    All-Star Candidate: Alex Ovechkin

    Washington Capital superstar Alex Ovechkin somehow managed to be in two places at the same time last year: He was named as the First Team All-Star on both left and right wings. That is unlikely to happen again, but Ovechkin is off to the kind of start that will garner all kinds of All-Star consideration.

    Ovechkin has already taken 75 shots this season. He has 10 goals in just 12 games and has added five assists. Ovechkin has also managed to deliver 32 hits this year.

    Ovi is extra motivated this year since he will be one of the featured Russian athletes in Sochi in February. If he continues to play as well as he has so far, the Capitals should rise in the weak Metropolitan Division in the coming weeks.

    Honorable Mention: Nicklas Backstrom

Winnipeg Jets

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    All-Star Candidate: Bryan Little

    The Winnipeg Jets have had some flashes of brilliant play this season, but on other nights, they have looked disinterested. While several players are off to good starts, Bryan Little has led the pack with seven goals in the Jets' first 14 games. 

    Little has been playing with a lot of speed and heady play. He's also a plus-four in those 14 games.

    Captain Andrew Ladd has also had a good start this year. The same can be said for big Dustin Byfuglien; he's had nine points in 14 games and has logged an average of 26:32 minutes per game.

    The Jets have a number of offensive weapons on their roster. To have team success, they have to commit to better play in their own zone if they hope to make some noise in the race to make the playoffs.

    Honorable Mention: Dustin Byfuglien