Team Lidstrom and Team Staal scouts perpare for NHL All-Star game draft
A new era has been ushered in as the National Hockey League will introduce a new All-Star game format in time for this season's All-Star weekend.
The Carolina Hurricanes will host the NHL's elite on the weekend of January 28, 29 and 30, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A new wrinkle, the All-Star fantasy draft will be held on Friday night, the SuperSkills competition will go on Saturday followed by the All-Star game on Sunday.
This new direction is the brain child of former NHLer Brendan Shanahan, now the NHL's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development.
Shanahan has also relied on input from other members from the NHL's hockey operations department, National Hockey League's Players Association and current players.
Under the new guidelines, two Captains were voted on by the 42 participating All-Stars who were announced earlier. Hometown 'Canes Captain Eric Staal and Detroit Red Wings Captain Niklas Lidstrom were voted as the games two Captains.
Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks were announced as alternate Captains for Captain Lidstrom. Team Staal will consist of Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Mike Green of the Washington Capitals as alternate Captains.
While Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla has bowed out of the All-Star game for personal reasons, allowing Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere to replace him, there are reports indicating that Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will both miss the All-Star game with Injuries. Without getting in to who should replace them, I've included them anyway into my mock draft. Expect the NHL to clarify their positions some time this week.
How the Draft will work:
"A coin toss will decide first pick with the team captains, joined by their two alternate captains, alternately drafting the 36 remaining All-Stars through 18 rounds. Each team will consist of three goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards total. For sake of fairness in the draft, the captain and alternate captains for each team will consist of two forwards and one defenseman. Also, to ensure that the final draft picks are true selections and not simply predetermined due to position requirements, each team’s three goalies must be picked by the end of Round 10 and each team’s six defensemen must be picked by the conclusion of Round 15." —Taken from NHL.com
No doubt that both Captains and their alternates will be busy during the draft. It should be interesting to see how it all pans out. Say what you want about the new All-Star game format, but this draft should be very interesting to watch.
Tune in on Friday January 28 at 7:30 pm eastern time to watch the events unfold. TSN in Canada will have the draft and Versus in the United States. NHL Network in both Canada and US will recap the events starting at 10pm eastern time.
I'm about to put it all on the line...
Here is my Mock draft of the 2011 NHL Star game rosters for Team Lidstrom and Team Staal...
Here we go...
Hey, I got a 50/50 chance, right?
Team Staal has first pick:
CAM WARD— Carolina Hurricanes.
Team Lidstrom first pick:
HENRIK SEDIN— Vancouver Canucks.
Team Staal second pick:
SIDNEY CROSBY— Pittsburgh Penguins
Team Lidstrom second pick:
DANIEL SEDIN— Vancouver Canucks
STEVE STAMKOS— Tampa Bay Lightning
ALEX OVECHKIN— Washington Capitals
JONATHAN TOEWS— Chicago Blackhawks
EVGENI MALKIN— Pittsburgh Penguins
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN— Altanta Thrashers
TIM THOMAS— Boston Bruins
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY— Pittsburgh Penguins
ZDENO CHARA— Boston Bruins
DUNCAN KEITH— Chicago Blackhawks
JONAS HILLER— Anaheim Ducks
COREY PERRY— Anaheim Ducks
RICK NASH— Columbus Blue Jackets
CLAUDE GIROUX— Philadelphia Flyers
LOUI ERIKSSON— Dallas Stars
CAREY PRICE— Montreal Canadiens
HENRIK LUNDQVIST— New York Rangers
KRIS LETANG— Pittsburgh Penguins
MATT DUCHENE— Colorado Avalanche
BRAD RICHARDS— Dallas Stars
SHEA WEBER— Nashville Predators
BRENT BURNS— Minnesota Wild
DAN BOYLE— San Jose Sharks
DANNY BRIERE— Philadelphia Flyers
TOBY ENSTROM— Atlanta Thrashers
MARC STAAL— New York Rangers
ERIK KARLSSON— Ottawa Senators
PATRICK SHARP— Chicago Blackhawks
ANZE KOPITAR— Los Angeles Kings
DAVID BACKES— St. Louis Blues
PHIL KESSEL— Toronto Maple Leafs
ALES HEMSKY— Edmonton Oilers
PATRICK ELIAS— New Jersey Devils
Cam Ward— Carolina
Marc-Andre Fleury— Pittsburgh
Carey Price— Montreal
Dustin Byfuglien— Atlanta
Duncan Keith— Chicago
Kris Letang— Pittsburgh
Brent Burns— Minnesota
Marc Staal— New York Rangers
Mike Green— Washington - Alt
Eric Staal— Carolina - Capt.
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay - Alt.
Sidney Crosby— Pittsburgh
Steve Stamkos— Tampa Bay
Jonathan Toews— Chicago
Corey Perry— Anaheim
Claude Giroux— Philadelphia
Brad Richards— Dallas
Danny Briere— Philadelphia
Patrick Sharp— Chicago
David Backes— St. Louis
Ales Hemsky— Edmonton
Tim Thomas— Boston
Jonas Hiller— Anaheim
Henrik Lundqvist— New York Rangers
Niklas Lidstrom— Detroit - Capt.
Zdeno Chara— Boston
Shea Weber— Nashville
Dan Boyle— San Jose
Tobais Enstrom— Atlanta
Erik Karlsson— Ottawa
Ryan Kelser— Vancouver - Alt.
Patrick Kane— Chicago - Alt.
Henrik Sedin— Vancouver
Daniel Sedin— Vancouer
Alex Ovechkin— Washington
Evgeni Malkin— Pittsburgh
Rick Nash— Columbus
Loui Eriksson— Dallas
Matt Duchene— Colorado
Anze Kopitar— Los Angeles
Phil Kessel— Toronto
Patrick Elias— New Jersey
While this is only a Mock Draft, the Real Draft will be packed with some interesting story-lines.
Some of these players are bitter foes on the ice, now they will become teammates, will they embrace this?
Chances are that they will if they have an open mind to it. The name of the game is fun and why not have fun with it.
Could this concept become a success... time will tell, but there is quite a bit of hype now that there are names and faces to finally apply this formula to. There is an opportunity for this game to be a "staple" in the future.
Having to pick your goalies and defenceman before certain rounds makes sense, but it will in all likelihood mean a few players will "slide" in the draft. Overall, these players are considered— through this process at least, as being the best current 42 players in the NHL.
There are concerns that Sidney Crosby, Ales Hemsky and a few others might not be in Raleigh when draft night occurs as injuries are part of the game. Here's hoping they are... and that they, along with everyone else enjoy the new format.
It will be interesting to see how the entire fantasy draft unfolds. There will no doubt be some great discussions about who picked who and who wasn't drafted high enough— which goes with the territory for an event so new.
While I personally was not a big fan of All-Star games in the past, and quite honestly though that this concept was an error by the NHL, I have to admit that I am curious as to how this will all play out.
I am going to keep an open mind.
Now that the NHL has built the formula, it will be all up to the players on how this event will go. In the end if this All-Star game is deemed a success, it could influence other leagues and sports to adopt this interesting concept.
Good Luck Team Staal and Team Lidstrom. Oh, and good luck to the goalies!
Mike MacDonald is a Feature Columnist covering the Nashville Predators and the NHL