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NHL All-Star Game 2016 Rosters: Analyzing Teams for 3-on-3 Tournament

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane controls the puck against the Nashville Predators in the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Kane scored his 30th goal of the season to match his personal season high as the Blackhawks won 4-1 for their 12th win in a row. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Steve SilvermanFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2017

Fans who like three-on-three hockey will get a king-sized dose of it Sunday at the NHL's 2016 All-Star Game.

Bridgestone Arena is the site of this year's tournament, which will see four teams representing each of the NHL's divisions compete.

The Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions of the Eastern Conference will meet in one 20-minute three-on-three game, while the Central and Pacific Divisions of the Western Conference will meet in a second three-on-three contest.

The two winners will meet in one final game to determine a champion.

Atlantic Division
PositionPlayerTeam
FPatrice BergeronBoston Bruins
FJaromir JagrFlorida Panthers
FLeo KomarovToronto Maple Leafs
FDylan LarkinDetroit Red Wings
FRyan O'ReillyBuffalo Sabres
FSteven StamkosTampa Bay Lightning
DAaron EkbladFlorida Panthers
DErik KarlssonOttawa Senators
DP.K. SubbanMontreal Canadiens
GRoberto LuongoFlorida Panthers
GBen BishopTampa Bay Lightning
NHL.com

The Atlantic Division may not have the scoring power of the other divisions. Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins is considered one of the best all-around players—dominant on defense and capable on offense but not necessarily spectacular when it comes to making game-changing offensive plays.

Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning is this unit's best scorer. When it comes to finding the back of the net with a vicious wrister, he is at the top of the line. Dylan Larkin and Ryan O'Reilly are both capable players, but Larkin is a rookie who may be in over his head, while O'Reilly is more of a grinder.

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The X-factor may be 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who has had a renaissance year with the Florida Panthers. The quickness and speed needed in the three-on-three game is not his forte, but he has the savvy and toughness to power his way to the net and cash in on scoring opportunities.

Aaron Ekblad is one of the best young defensemen in the league, while Erik Karlsson is the game's top offensive defenseman. P.K.Subban has a devastating slap shot, but he has not been finding the back of the net very often this season (four goals in 50 games).

Roberto Luongo has been one of the keys to the Panthers' climb this year, while Ben Bishop was behind the Lightning's run to last year's Stanley Cup Final.

The back end looks strong for the Atlantic, but forwards such as Bergeron, Larkin and the Toronto Maple Leafs' Leo Komarov will have to exceed expectations for this team to have a chance.

Metropolitan Division
PositionPlayerTeam
FNicklas BackstromWashington Capitals
FClaude GirouxPhiladelphia Flyers
FEvgeny KuznetsovWashington Capitals
FEvgeni MalkinPittsburgh Penguins
FBrandon SaadColumbus Blue Jackets
FJohn TavaresNew York Islanders
DJustin FaulkCarolina Panthers
DKris LetangPittsburgh Penguins
DRyan McDonaghNew York Rangers
GBraden HoltbyWashington Capitals
GCory SchneiderNew Jersey Devils
NHL.com

The Metropolitan Division has a couple of brilliantly talented players in Claude Giroux and Evgeni Malkin and a great supporting cast in Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals.

If Giroux gets off to a hot start, it can be difficult to slow him down, while Malkin has the kind of moves around the net that other players can only dream of making. While Alex Ovechkin is the Capitals' headliner and big-time goal scorer, Backstrom and Kuznetsov have been brilliant and two of the prime reasons Washington may be in line for the Presidents' Trophy.

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

That foursome will get plenty of support from John Tavares and Brandon Saad. Tavares has an excellent skill set and excellent hands for shooting or passing, while Saad has shown the same kind of game-breaking speed with the Columbus Blue Jackets that he demonstrated during his run with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins has long been known for his offensive prowess from the blue line, while Justin Faulk has been improving steadily for the Carolina Hurricanes. Ryan McDonagh's steady play on the New York Rangers' blue line has been a constant.

Braden Holtby is as talented and proficient as any goalie in the league, while Cory Schneider is one of the main reasons the New Jersey Devils have a shot to make the playoffs this season.

The skill up front in the Metropolitan Division gives this team an excellent chance, along with Holtby's play in goal.

Central Division
PositionPlayerTeam
FJamie BennDallas Stars
FMatt DucheneColorado Avalanache
FPatrick KaneChicago Blackhawks
FJames NealNashville Predators
FTyler SeguinDallas Stars
FVladimir TarasenkoSt. Louis Blues
DDustin ByfuglienWinnipeg Jets
DRoman JosiNashville Predators
DShea WeberNashville Predators
GDevan DubnykMinnesota Wild
GPekka RinneNashville Predators
NHL.com

The Central Division may have the most star power of any of the teams. Start off with Patrick Kane, the league's leading scorer who has an excellent chance to contend for the Hart Trophy as well as the scoring title.

The Dallas Stars are represented by Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, and those two may form the best offensive one-two punch in the league. 

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues is a pure sniper who can fill the net, while the Colorado Avalanche's Matt Duchene already has 23 goals.

James Neal would love to put on a show for his home fans in Nashville, and that also goes for the defensive duo of Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Weber is known for his blazing slap shot, but he also gets his wrister away in a heartbeat. Josi can carry the puck as well as any defenseman. 

Dustin Byfuglien could be dangerous in the three-on-three game because of his versatility. The one problem area for this team could be in goal where Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild and Pekka Rinne of the Predators both look vulnerable.

Pacific Division
PositionPlayerTeam
FJohnny GaudreauCalgary Flames
FTaylor HallEdmonton Oilers
FJoe PavelskiSan Jose Sharks
FCorey PerryAnaheim Ducks
FJohn ScottArizona Coyotes
FDaniel SedinVancouver Canucks
DBrent BurnsSan Jose Sharks
DDrew DoughtyLos Angeles Kings
DMark GiordanoCalgary Flames
GJohn GibsonAnaheim Ducks
GJonathan QuickLos Angeles Kings
NHL.com

The Pacific Division is captained by John Scott, who clearly does not belong here based on talent. But he was voted in by the fans, so look for his teammates to support him as much as possible.

Twenty-two-year-old Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau is one of the best three-on-three players in the league. Johnny Hockey has the skill with his hands to find the top of the net from in tight, and that's a bonus in this format. 

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers has improved steadily since getting selected with the No. 1 pick in 2010, and his hard-charging style combined with his game-breaking speed make him very dangerous. 

Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks are both clutch goal scorers who have the drive to get to the front of the net and the skill to score from distance. 

Brent Burns of the Sharks and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings are the kind of defensemen who are not afraid to show off their offensive skills. Mark Giordano of the Flames has the skating speed to go from end to end in a instant.

The Kings' Jonathan Quick is still one of the best goalies in the league, and John Gibson has proved he can get the job done for the Ducks.

This is a well-rounded team that does not appear to have any weaknesses.

 

Prediction

The Central team has the most skill, but the goaltending does not compare with the other three teams. Look for the Pacific to take advantage of that weakness and advance to the finals.

The Atlantic Division simply does not have enough goal scoring, and the presence of Jagr could slow this team down dramatically. The Metropolitan Division should pull away in the late stages of this game.

Look for the Pacific Division to rally around Scott and find a way to come up with the win in the first three-on-three tournament in All-Star history.

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