The NHL revealed the initial eight-man rosters for the 2023 All-Star Game on Thursday, and this year's selection format is a little different than in years past.
The NHL department of hockey operations selected one player from each team, including one goalie, to make up the initial eight-man roster for each of the league's four divisions. The three remaining players in each division—including two skaters and one goalie—will be voted on by the fans.
Fan voting begins Thursday and runs through Jan. 17. The final three players selected to each roster will be announced Jan. 19.
NHL chief marketing officer Heidi Browning said in a statement about fan voting:
"Thanks to our passionate fans, the All-Star Fan Vote is one of the NHL's top fan engagement programs. Each season, we look for opportunities to evolve the program to maximize fan engagement and attract new fans to participate.
"After reviewing campaign data and fan feedback from recent All-Star Fan Vote campaigns, we noted that our fans want the opportunity to have more influence on our All-Star Roster selection. We expanded the number of players on the ballots and introduced social voting opportunities for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by Guaranteed Rate."
Previously, fans voted for the captain of each division before the hockey operations department chose the remaining roster. Fans also got to choose one final player (Last Men In) for previous competitions.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend will be held at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, from Feb. 3 to 4. Here's a look at the initial eight-man rosters selected by the hockey operations department Thursday.
Boston Bruins: Linus Ullmark (G)—First appearance
Buffalo Sabres: Tage Thompson (F)—First appearance
Detroit Red Wings: Dylan Larkin (F)—Third appearance
Florida Panthers: Matthew Tkachuk (F)—Second appearance
Montreal Canadiens: Nick Suzuki (F)—Second appearance
Ottawa Senators: Brady Tkachuk (F)—Third appearance
Tampa Bay Lightning: Nikita Kucherov (F)—Fourth appearance
Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitchell Marner (F)—Second appearance
The Atlantic Division roster is highlighted by Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark and Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson, who are both making their first All-Star Game appearances.
Ullmark has arguably been the best goaltender in the NHL this season, owning a league-best 1.86 goals-against average and .939 save percentage, in addition to posting a 21-1-1 record. He has backstopped the Bruins to an NHL-best 29-4-4 record entering Thursday.
Thompson, meanwhile, is tied with Jason Robertson for third in the NHL with 55 points in 36 games, sitting behind only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. His 30 goals rank second in the league, and he has also posted 25 assists.
It's been a breakout season for the 25-year-old, who set career highs of 38 goals and 30 assists for 68 points in 78 games during the 2021-22 campaign. He's set to top those numbers this season.
Carolina Hurricanes: Andrei Svechnikov (F)—First appearance
Columbus Blue Jackets: Johnny Gaudreau (F)—Seventh appearance
New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes (F)—Second appearance
New York Islanders: Brock Nelson (F)—First appearance
New York Rangers: Igor Shesterkin (G)—First appearance
Philadelphia Flyers: Kevin Hayes (F)—First appearance
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby (F)—Fifth appearance
Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin (F)—Eighth appearance
The Metropolitan Division roster is highlighted by none other than Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals great Alexander Ovechkin, who are no stranger to the All-Star Game.
Crosby, 35, will be making his fifth All-Star Game appearance this season. He has notched 19 goals and 24 assists for 43 points in 37 games for the 19-12-6 Penguins.
Ovechkin, 37, will be making his eighth All-Star Game appearance. He is tied with Bo Horvat for third in the NHL with 28 goals in 40 games, and he has notched 19 assists for 47 points.
Additionally, Ovechkin passed Gordie Howe for second in all-time NHL goals earlier this season, and he has helped the Capitals to a 21-13-6 record.
Arizona Coyotes: Clayton Keller (F)—Third appearance
Chicago Blackhawks: Seth Jones (D)—Fourth appearance
Colorado Avalanche: Cale Makar (D)—Second appearance
Dallas Stars: Jason Robertson (F)—First appearance
Minnesota Wild: Kirill Kaprizov (F)—Second appearance
Nashville Predators: Juuse Saros (G)—Second appearance
St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko (F)—Fourth appearance
Winnipeg Jets: Josh Morrissey (D)—First appearance
The Central Division roster is highlighted by Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson, who will be making his first All-Star Game appearance, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, who will be making his second appearance.
Robertson ranks tied for fifth in the NHL with 26 goals in 40 games, in addition to 29 assists for 55 points. The 23-year-old had a career year in 2021-22 with 41 goals and 38 assists in 74 games, and he's on pace to better those numbers this year with the 23-11-6 Stars.
Makar, meanwhile, is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen with nine goals in 36 games, in addition to 25 assists for 34 points. One of the best young defensemen in the NHL, Makar has helped the reigning Stanley Cup champions to a 19-14-3 record this season
Anaheim Ducks: Troy Terry (F)—Second appearance
Calgary Flames: Nazem Kadri (F)—Second appearance
Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid (F)—Sixth appearance
Los Angeles Kings: Kevin Fiala (F)—First appearance
San Jose Sharks: Erik Karlsson (D)—Seventh appearance
Seattle Kraken: Matty Beniers (F)—First appearance
Vancouver Canucks: Elias Pettersson (F)—Third appearance
Vegas Golden Knights: Logan Thompson (G)—First appearance
The Pacific Division is highlighted by Seattle Kraken rookie Matty Beniers, who will be making his first All-Star Game appearance, and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, who will be making his seventh appearance.
Beniers, selected second overall in the 2021 NHL draft, leads all NHL rookies with 28 points and 13 goals in 37 games. He is also tied for third among rookies with 15 assists and has helped the Kraken to a 21-12-4 record in their second NHL season.
Karlsson, meanwhile, ranks first among NHL defensemen with 13 goals and 40 assists in 39 games. With 53 points already this season, the veteran has his highest point total since he notched 62 points as a member of the Ottawa Senators during the 2017-18 season.
Despite Karlsson's efforts, the Sharks have a 12-20-7 record this year.