2018 NHL All-Star Game Roster Selections

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Before the NHL announces the rosters for the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, which will take place at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay on Jan. 28.

Of course, nobody could have known the host Tampa Bay Lightning would run away with the Eastern Conference at the halfway mark but that is exactly what they have done. With 63 points already this season, Tampa Bay has an eight-point cushion on the red-hot Washington Capitals for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Expect them to be well represented on my Atlantic Division team.

My 2018 NHL All-Star Game Roster Selections

I selected six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies for each of the four divisions. The teams will compete in a 3-on-3 style tournament, which began at the 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville, and has drawn rave reviews from players, coaches and hockey fans.

The Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions will face off to determine the Eastern Conference winner. Then, the Central and Pacific Divisions will do the same to determine the Western Conference’s representative. Then, the winning divisional teams from each conference will square off in the final to determine the champion. Each game will be divided into two 10-minute halves.

Last year, the Metropolitan All-Stars beat their counterparts from the Central Division, 4-3 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Every team needs at least one representative. With only a limited number of spots available, this means many deserving players were snubbed. But guys are snubbed every season in every professional sport, regardless of the format. If your favorite player does not make the cut, let me know. But that is part of selecting All-Star rosters.

Without further ado, here my picks for each division starting in the East.

Atlantic Division

Forwards

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (Captain)

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabers

Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers

Defensemen 

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

The Lightning dominated this roster, and for good reason. Tampa Bay has four players on my team, while no other team has more than one.

Stamkos was voted as the captain by the fans and his 51 points are tied for fourth in the NHL. Stamkos’ linemate and Hart Trophy frontrunner Nikita Kucherov leads the league in scoring (59 points) and is tied with Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in goals (27).

Hedman is tied for fourth among defenseman in points (31) and assists (26). He has a great impact the game at both ends of the ice. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was an easy decision. He ranks third in save percentage (.935) and Goals Against Average (2.04).

Marchand leads the Bruins with 40 points and he, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak have formed one of the most explosive lines in the NHL. Matthews is second to Kucherov in goals among Atlantic forwards and is the clear pick for the Maple Leafs. Jack Eichel leads the Sabers in points, and the same can be said for Huberdeau in Florida.

Dylan Larkin and Mark Stone were deserving candidates, but I could not a spot on among the forward group. As a result, Erik Karlsson and Mike Green, two guys that could get traded at the deadline made the squad. Price has not a great season for the Canadiens but he gets the nod over the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask because Montreal needed a representative.

Metropolitan Division

Forwards

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Captain)

Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils

Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

John Tavares, New York Islanders

Josh Bailey, New York Islanders

Defensemen

Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers

John Carlson, Washington Capitals

Noah Hanifin, Carolina Hurricanes

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

Ovechkin has had a great bounce-back season, currently sitting tied for first in goals (27). Hall has easily been the Hurricanes best player with 42 points.

The Islanders have not had a great season, but they have been scoring goals at a crazy rate. Tavares (51 points) and Bailey (50 points) sit inside the top 10 among all forwards in scoring.

Yes, you read that right. Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were both excluded. The Penguins have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments, but Kessel has been the most consistent point producer.

I wanted to include both Giroux and teammate Jakub Voracek, who sit second and fourth respectively in points. Voracek leads the league with 43 assists, but I went with Giroux.

Carlson leads all Metro defensemen in scoring and was an easy choice. Gostisbehere sits second among all Metropolitan defenseman in points with 32. Hanifin has had a great season for Carolina.

Sergei Bobrovsky (.922 save percentage, 2.40 Goals Against Average) and Henrik Lundqvist (.924 save percentage, 2.52 Goals Against Average) were my choices in net.

It was hard not to include Seth Jones and Sebastian Aho.

Central Division

Forwards

Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets

Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Defensemen

P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators (Captain)

John Klingberg, Dallas Stars

Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild

Goalies

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

The Colorado Avalanche currently hold a playoff spot and MacKinnon is a contender for MVP. Only Kucherov has more points than MacKinnon, who is tied for second with Giroux at 52 points.

Wheeler sits second in points among Central forwards with 50 and has led the charge for the division-leading Jets. It was too hard to exclude either Tarasenko or Schenn. Both have nearly identical stats and have had a major impact on the Central’s second-best team.

Seguin has scored the most goals among Central forwards (21) and sits tied for sixth in points with Kane, who is one representative for the underperforming Blackhawks.

Klingberg and Subban sit first and second respectively in points among Central defenseman. It was tough to keep Alex Pietrangelo off the team, but the Wild need a representative. Eric Staal was considered, but ultimately Suter was my choice. Nobody averages more time on ice among Central defenseman than Suter (26:50).

The Jets needed a great goaltender to take the next step, and Hellebuyck has been the answer. Crawford has kept the last-place Blackhawks afloat in a tightly bunched division.

This was by far the toughest team to pick.

Pacific Division

Forwards

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Captain)

Jon Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames

Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes

Defensemen

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks

If it were not for one player from each team rule, the best story in the NHL and the best team in the Western Conference could have easily had five or six representatives.

But Marchessault has led the way in scoring and Fleury leads the league in Save Percentage (.945) and Goals Against Average (1.73).

McDavid leads all Pacific Division forwards in scoring (47 points) for the disappointing Oilers. Kopitar, who sits third among Pacific forwards in points (44) and Doughty, who leads Pacific defensemen in points (30) and TOI (27:10) are my choices for the Kings, who are second in the Pacific behind Vegas.

Gaudreau sits second to McDavid in points among Pacific forwards (46) and Giordano is fourth to Doughty in TOI among Pacific defenseman and has always been reliable. I picked Giordano over Oliver Ekman-Larsson because he has been the more consistent player.

Boeser leads all NHL rookies in points and goals. Keller leads the Coyotes in points, goals, and assists as a rookie and was the Calder Trophy favorite in October. Burns, who is tied with Doughty for first in points among Pacific defensemen (30) was the obvious choice for the Sharks.

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