2011 NHL All Star Game: Steven Stamkos and the 10 Best First Time All-Stars

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2011

2011 NHL All Star Game: Steven Stamkos and the 10 Best First Time All-Stars

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    With the NHL All-Star Game not being played in 2010 due to the Winter Olympics, the 2011 NHL All-Star Game rosters are ripe with first-time participants.

    This year's installment of the Midseason Classic has more than just the quirky new format in which captains pick teams like it's a pick-up game.  Twenty-one players will be making their first appearances in the contest and some of the names may surprise you.

    Here are the top 10 first-time All-Stars in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

10. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

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    The lone representative from the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers, Claude Giroux is the perfect player for this game. His dazzling stick skills and scoring ability will allow him to put on a show.

9. Mike Green, Washington Capitals

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    A glorified winger, Mike Green has led NHL defensemen in scoring each of the last two seasons. Lucky for him, defense is not a priority in the All-Star Game, so his shortcomings in that area won't be put on display.

8. Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes

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    Cam Ward has the honor of playing his first NHL All Star Game in front of his home crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ward has long been underrated and is finally getting the respect he deserves.

7. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    The Penguins have one of the league's best young defensemen in Kris Letang. He has burst onto the scene this season as a viable two-way player and could push for a Norris Trophy in the years to come.

6. Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

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    Matt Duchene is as valuable to his team as any player on this list. He leads the Avalanche in both goals (18) and points (43). Duchene is a player I expect to see back in the All-Star Game year after year.

5. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks

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    Sometimes a forgotten man playing alongside the Sedin brothers, Ryan Kesler is having a career season for the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks. Kesler is on pace for a personal best 46 goals this season and could be Vancouver's most valuable player.

4. Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks

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    Jonas Hiller has faced more shots than any goalie in the league (1,245), yet he still has the league's third-best save percentage (.929). He is riding a lengthy shutout streak coming into this game.

3. Brad Richards, Dallas Stars

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    Brad Richards is having a career year and is on pace for 96 points. It's borderline shocking that this is the first All-Star Game Richards has been selected to.

2. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

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    Daniel Sedin, who has 25 goals and 54 points to his name this season, will be playing in his very first All-Star Game. But will he be on the same team as his brother Henrik?

1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    After his breakout 51 goal campaign last season, Steven Stamkos has piled up 31 goals in the first half of this season. I suspect this will be the first of many All-Star appearances for the talented Canadian youngster.