Western Conference Young Stars; Gagner, Kane lead the charge

Cody MillardCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2008

So the new format in the Young Stars game has eight players from each conference selected to the roster, to play three-on-three against the goalies playing the next day for their respective All-star teams. My question is why?

I understand that it would just take more effort to put together an entire roster for the Young Stars game, but looking at this years cast, it should be the year to consider it.

There are players from both conferences not playing in the All-star game that damn well deserve it. Jonathen Toews, Andrew Cogliano, Martin Hanzal, and Tom Gilbert to name a few from the west.

 Taking a look at the Western Conference's team this year, it is still pretty solid.

C - Patrick Kane - Chicago Blackhawks; The young centre has lived up to and even passed expectations, no doubt one of the candidates for the Calder. One of the players to crack their respective teams line-ups right from the 07 Draft, Kane has shown why he was taken first over-all. 40 Pts. in 45 GP, Kane leads all rookies in both assists and points.

C - Sam Gagner - Edmonton Oilers; Another star player to crack the roster out of the 07 Draft, Gagner has showcased his abilites in the shootout, and even regular play with nifty deeks, and even showing he can hold his own ground in the corners. Things are looking bright or this young Oiler, and sitting in 10th in rookie scoring with only 16 points in 43 games, he is still chipping in on an offensively distraught Oiler squad.

C - Peter Mueller - Phoenix Coyotes; Not much attention was payed to the gifted centre, as he was part of the opening night squad of a laughable Phoenix Coyotes, however since the addition of Ilya Bryzgalov, like most of the Coyotes, Mueller has seem to come to life, and is cruising to the play-offs with his linemates, holding 22 Pts in 43 games and holding fifth place in Rookie scoring, I'd say thats not too shabby.

C - David Perron - St. Louis Blues; Playing for a rejuvenated Blues roster, its no surprise to see Perron on the list of contributors. He posses a good set of hands, and can push his way to the net with linemates to get the goal. 18 points in 31 games, he is keeping up with the rest of the rookies, sitting in eighth.

D - Alexander Edler - Vancouver Canucks; The strong play of Edler has gotten him a invite to play with the young stars, and it shows as he boasts a +18 in 31 games. Roberto Luongo may be one of the top goalies in the league, but even all-stars need help, and Edler has proven time and time again that he can keep up with the best of them.

D - Erik Johnson - St. Louis Blues; Another strong defensive minded player that still chips in on offense, he sits at 16 points and holds a +10 to his name. He has been instrumental in the Blues powerplay.

D - Jack Johnson - Los Angeles Kings; He has been a light in dark places for the Kings this season, they sit with the worst record in the NHL, and as such it seems to reflect badly on the players, especially in the +/-, with Johnson being no exception. A -7 with only 6 points, he seems more focused on helping keep the puck out of the net, which has caught the eye of the GM's.

D - Matt Niskanen - Dallas Stars; Another stud defenseman in the making for the Stars? I seem to think so. The kid is showing why perseverance does pay off. He came into camp, looking to be deep on the depth charts, but he pushed himself harder than most, and it really caught the coaches eyes. He plays well defensively, holding a +14 to his name, and can also pitch in on the rush, second only to Eastern Young Star Tobias Enstrom in Rookie Defence Scoring with 17 points.