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NHL Power Rankings: Top 15 All-Star Game Captain Candidates

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: Top 15 All-Star Game Captain Candidates

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The announcement has been made for the 2011 All-Star game participants, and there are some surprises and some disappointments.

    With all of the star power this year’s game will bring, it is time to see who will be the Captains for the pickup game that is the new All-Star format.

    The NHL has put itself out on the line with the new format and the idea of the captains picking teams is a pleasant wrinkle in the same old boring All-Star festivities.

    The following list is the Top 15 plays who have a shot, no matter how small, at being a team captain.

    Enjoy!

Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Shea Weber is one of the best two-way defenders in the league and the captain of the Nashville Predators.

    Weber may only be 25, but he is a born leader.

    If the league wants to expose one of the best defenders it has to the general public, allowing him to captain one of the All-Star teams would be the best way.

Rick Nash, F, Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

    Rick Nash is a perennial point producer in this league and helps to keep the team in Columbus afloat.

    Nash leads a cast with the Blue Jackets that is ever changing, but his play and talent has been ever consistent.  His leadership is a big part of the success of the team this year as well.

    The Blue Jackets captain adds a lot to the team, and his leadership experience and offensive abilities would make him a good All-Star Captain.

Martin St. Louis, F Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Mighty Mouse is back, in a big way.

    Through 41 games this season, St. Louis has 53 points and has been a hug factor in almost every game.

    One of the biggest reasons for Steven Stamkos' success this year is the ability and willingness of St. Louis to help guide Stamkos.

    Between threading Stamkos the puck and teaching him how to play the game the right way, Martin St. Louis would make an excellent All-Star captain.

Dustin Byfuglien, D, Atlanta Thrashers

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    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    “Big Buff” is a defenseman that really breaks the mold of your prototypical defender. Byfuglien can skate well, play solid defense and can add to the offensive attack whenever the team needs it.

    Since the beginning of the season, Byfuglien has played well, and the fans don’t know about it because he plays in Atlanta.

    Byfuglien has helped lead Atlanta out of the hockey darkness and made them relevant.  He would show a different side of the NHL and would make a good captain.

Anze Kopitar, F, Los Angeles Kings

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Anze Kopitar is the real deal.

    He is one of those rare forwards that can do everything well.

    If the NHL wants to expose some new faces to the main stream, they should choose Kopitar as a captain.

    Kopitar will bring all the offensive talent you could ever want, and he will attack with a forecheck that is just as good.

Dan Boyle, D, San José Sharks

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Dan Boyle is the power-play machine.

    For the Sharks, Boyle is the best defender and in some instances, the only defender, that can shut the other team down.

    Boyle is used to playing hard and playing through adversity so being a captain for one of the All-Stars should be no sweat.

Duncan Keith, D, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Duncan Keith is one of the best defender in the NHL.

    Not only did he help the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last year, but he has helped keep the ship in the right direction during a time of transition.

    Keith would keep the All-Star teams in line on the bench and on the ice.

The Sedins, F, Vancouver Canucks

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Playing in Vancouver, the Sedins are not exposed to the mainstream fans like Crosby or Toews, but they should be.

    My idea is to make the Sedins the two All-Star team captains.

    Split them up and see how similarly they build their squads. It would be a very intriguing idea. One problem with that idea is that the team name is the last name of the captain.

    Team Sedin vs. Team Sedin!

Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Zdeno Chara is a big defender who plays a big style of defense. He can shut down any player on any given day and is one of the best defenders in the NHL.

    Chara’s play has been solid this year and a chance to lead an All-Star team would be an excellent opportunity. 

    He already leads the Bruins, so the transition to All-Star captain shouldn’t be too drastic.

Jonathan Toews, F, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    When you lead a team to the Stanley Cup Finals, you’re good.

    When you win the Cup, you’re one of the best.

    Jonathan Toews has been an exceptional young leader on and off the ice, and he deserves a chance to lead an All-Star team.

    If Toews leads one of the All-Star teams, it would just be another notch in his achievement belt.

Nicklas Lidstrom, D, Detroit Red Wings

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Nick Lidstrom could be one of the best defenders in NHL history, and even at 40, he is a top-tier defender.

    Lidstrom will be a key part of the All-Star game and Detroit’s run at the playoffs this year.

    The All-Star game would be that much better with a player like Lidstrom at the helm of one of the teams.

Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    What is there to say about Stamkos that stats don’t speak volumes to.

    Through the first 43 games of the season, he has 57 points and has been a threat all over the ice.

    Stamkos skillset and sheer talent should put him at the top of the All-Star captain contenders.

Eric Staal, F, Carolina Hurricanes

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Not only is Staal a great leader for the Carolina Hurricanes but that’s not why he deserves to be a captain for the All-Star game.

    It’s at his house and the owner of the house runs the party.

    The wonderful season he is having would be tastefully accented by a nod to take the helm of one of the All-Star teams.

Alexander Ovechkin, F, Washington Capitals

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    No, it’s not one of his better statistical seasons of his career, but the man is still the second most popular player in the NHL.

    He deserves to be the second captain for the purposes of pushing the NHL.

    You can almost see the cover of the programs at the Arena in Raleigh with Sid vs. Ovie face to face with all of the other All-Stars standing behind them.

    Not only would he be a good captain, he would excel in a game where defense plays loose at best.

Sidney Crosby, F, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    The undisputed captain of one of the All-Star teams, Sidney Crosby has earned it this year.

    This time, it’s not just Bettman shoving him down our throats.

    Crosby has been amazing this year, leading the league with 66 points, and deserves to be the leader of an All-Star team.

    Whoever is across from him on the ice, it will be a fun new way to watch and play the All-Star game.

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