by PuckStopsHere on 01/07/09 at 02:25 AM ET
The West Conference All Star Team is announced today (Wednesday) and the East Conference team tomorrow (Thursday). I want to post my teams in advance of the announcements.
First the (assumed) ground rules for the teams. The starters are given by fan balloting. The rosters are 21 men in size (as the last few All Star Games have been) with 12 forwards, 6 defencemen and 3 goalies. Each team must be represented on the rosters - last year this was true of the initial rosters but when injury replacements were made this restriction was loosened.
Given that there are 15 spots left to fill on both rosters (since the starting lineup claims six spots) and both starting lineups come from only two NHL teams (West is from the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks and East is from the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins) that leaves 13 teams to be represented out of 15 spots. That leaves only 2 free spots per conference to go to players who are not selected to make sure each team is represented. Thus it is hard to fit all deserving All Stars on the teams. Some players who are having what I consider All Star seasons have to be omitted by the format.
Finally, I chose the most worthy players I could based on their achievements so far this season only. I did not take into account past seasons or predictions of future seasons. Often some veteran players ask not to play in the All Star Game to get a weekend off - I have no way of predicting these players and made no attempt to do so - the NHL roster may take this into account. I did not worry about injury status. A player who is deserving of an All Star spot based on his current achievements who is hurt and will miss the game makes my roster with the assumption he will be replaced closer to the actual game (the NHL may not do this). Thus, this is not a prediction of the NHL rosters. It is a list of the players I think are most worthy given my ground rules.
Niklas Backstrom Minnesota Wild
Jean-Sebastien Giguere Anaheim Ducks (starter)
Steve Mason Columbus Blue Jackets
Brian Campbell Chicago Blackhawks (starter)
Scott Niedermayer Anaheim Ducks (starter)
Kyle Quincey Los Angeles Kings
Brian Rafalski Detroit Red Wings
Sheldon Souray Edmonton Oilers
Shea Weber Nashville Predators
Brad Boyes St Louis Blues
Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings
Shane Doan Phoenix Coyotes
Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim Ducks (starter)
Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks (starter)
Patrick Marleau San Jose Sharks
Brad Richards Dallas Stars
Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche
Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks
Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks (starter)
Craig Anderson Florida Panthers
Carey Price Montreal Canadiens (starter)
Mike Smith Tampa Bay Lightning
Mike Green Washington Capitals
Tomas Kaberle Toronto Maple Leafs
Mike Komisarek Montreal Canadiens (starter)
Andrei Markov Montreal Canadiens (starter)
Mark Streit New York Islanders
Dennis Wideman Boston Bruins
Jeff Carter Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins (starter)
Dany Heatley Ottawa Senators
Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta Thrashers
Alexei Kovalev Montreal Canadiens (starter)
Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins (starter)
Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Zach Parise New Jersey Devils
Marc Savard Boston Bruins
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes
Tomas Vanek Buffalo Sabres
Nikolai Zherdev New York Rangers
Thus the teams with two players added to the roster are top teams in the standings. In the West Conference, they are the Detroit Red Wings (Datsyuk and Rafalski) and the San Jose Sharks (Marleau and Thornton) and in the East Conference they are the Boston Bruins (Savard and Wideman) and the Washington Capitals (Green and Ovechkin). Let’s see if the NHL comes close to my picks. I doubt they will add Paul Stastny to the team since it is clear he cannot play. He had surgery on his right forearm and is likely out until February or March. That said he is Colorado’s top scorer and deserved selection - even if it is an honorary thing since he cannot play in the All Star Game and will need replacement.
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