Every year, the NHL All-Star Game is a weekend of talent, fun and most of all, hockey. While it might not be the most competitive match any of its participants will play in, it's a time to raise awareness for the sport, bring the NHL spotlight to a new city and display some of the most exciting stars in the world all on one rink.
Being chosen as an All-Star, however, is still an honorable if inconsequential selection. These two teams are composed of the best of the best, and any player chosen can add that recognition to their resume.
Though we're still lethargically wading through the oppressive summer heat right now, it's never too early to look ahead to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, sure to be one of the highlights of the upcoming 2011-12 season. The event, to be held in Ottawa, will return to Canada for only the second time in nine years and will also be the memorable first appearance for a handful of up-and-coming stars.
We've picked out 10 particular players who seem primed to break the bubble of just-misses and make the cut to play in their first unforgettable All-Star game next season. They might already have felt the sting of being snubbed before or instead are simply on too fast of a learning curve not to explode onto the scene in time for a selection. However they may get there, all of these players are racing down the track to a first-time All-Star appearance in 2012.