At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, I don’t typically love All-Star games. I think they tend to be self-celebratory marketing ploys, and even unnecessarily risky in the case of the NFL Pro Bowl. However, as is their nature, the NHL does things a little bit differently.
Instead of the standard conference-on-conference single game format of most leagues, the NHL is, for the third year, using their format of a three-game tournament. Teams will be assigned according to division, with the top two battling it out in the 2019 NHL All-Star game, which is slated to take place in San Jose on January 26th. Voters get to select the four team captains that will lead each squad.
Let’s look at some of the players who should be receiving their fair share of votes to captain their division’s All-Star team.
Nikita Kucherov – After scoring 100 points last season, it looked to some as though Kucherov’s numbers had nowhere to go but down. He’s more than held his own this year, having already scored 52 points before the season’s halfway mark.
David Pasternak – The Bruins expected great things from their 21 year-old forward this season. Leading Boston with 44 points in 35 games, Pastrnak has most certainly delivered.
Alex Ovechkin – Ovi is the captain of the defending Stanley Cup champs, and is leading the Atlantic division with 29 goals and 43 overall points. There’s not much of a question whether or not he’ll get the nod to captain his division’s All-Star team.
Claude Giroux – If anyone could give Ovechkin a run for the captaincy, it could be Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux. The veteran winger is leading his team in assists (29) and points (41).
Nathan MacKinnon – Following last year’s breakout season, Colorado’s MacKinnon is still tearing it up on the ice. He’s second in points within his division (behind teammate Mikko Rantanen), but he’s been the lightning rod that could be the push his team needs to get to the playoffs.
Patrick Kane – Chicago’s Patrick Kane has never scored fewer than 60 points during any season in his almost 11-year career. With 17 goals and 35 assists so far this season, the veteran forward has more than earned rightful consideration to lead his division.
Connor McDavid – There’s almost no way that McDavid won’t be the captain for the Pacific Division for the third consecutive year. He’s scored 19 goals and racked up 30 assists over the 34 games he’s played this season, single-handedly elevating his team from disastrous to mediocre. Let’s just agree to give McDavid this moment before he has to go back to Edmonton.
Brent Burns – San Jose’s star blueliner has 34 points (30 of which were assists), and if selected, will be playing in his home arena. Plus, dat beard.
Brent Burns and Joakim Ryan have to have the best beards of any D pairing in the league. pic.twitter.com/uwfr9LebWW
— Brandon (@SiNuTrmon) May 3, 2018
Photo credit: NHL.com