Draft Pool for the 2011 All Star Game Announced

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Normally we’d be announcing the two teams of players who would be representing their respective conferences in the All Star game this year. With the way things look right now, the West would be paced by the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks while the East would be a little more balanced with a couple of Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins as the key members.

Instead, they’ve all been thrown into the same pool, and will be subjected to a draft. In much the same manner hockey fans choose their fantasy teams, the two designated Captains will choose their teams and employ their own team-building strategy. Along with this, 12 rookies were named to compete in the skills competition.

So who’s up for the draft this year? Well the eligible players (and rookies) were named on Tuesday:

Anaheim Ducks

Corey Perry: Perry is four goals away from his fourth-straight 25+ goal season and has 45 points in 45 games for the Ducks. This will be his second All-Star game.

Jonas Hiller: Hiller has 21 wins, a .929 save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average. Hiller is on pace for a career-high 38 wins and has been awarded with his first All-Star nod.

Cam Fowler: One of twelve rookies who will attend the All-Star game, he’s seventh in rookie scoring and first amongst defensemen. Fowler is producing like the top-three pick he was expected to be selected as in this past June’s draft.


Atlanta Thrashers

Dustin Byfuglien: The Stanley Cup hero seems to have taken the offensive game he learned as a forward back to the blueline. Byfuglien is tied with Nick Lidstrom for the lead in defensive scoring. This will be his first All-Star game.

Tobias Enstrom: On pace to shatter last year’s career-high of 44 assists, Enstrom already has 30 and is thriving alongside Byfuglien. The first-time All-Star has already shattered his career-high in goals.


Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara: Chara will be attending his fifth All-Star game, despite going through a down-season offensively. Chara is tied for seventh in the league in plus/minus at a plus-15.

Tim Thomas: Thomas’ third All-Star game comes during a season where he’s lost just four games in regulation. A .944 save percentage and a 1.84 goals-against average=absolutely ridiculous.

Tyler Seguin: Another rookie attending the festivities, the second overall pick from June has had an up-and-down rookie season with just six goals and 14 points so far.


Buffalo Sabres

Tyler Ennis: Ninth in rookie scoring so far, Ennis is a goal away from becoming the fifth rookie to record double digits in both goals and assists.

Calgary Flames

Jarome Iginla: Attending his sixth All-Star game, Iginla has performed admirable after a slow start on a under-performing Flames team. His 17 goals have him at 18th overall in the league, and he’s also on pace to surpass last year’s totals.


Carolina Hurricanes

Eric Staal: One of five players with 20 goals and 20 assists so far this season, Staal has hit the point-per game pace right on the nose with 41 points in 41 games. This will make four-straight All-Star games for Staal, and his fourth overall trip to the mid-season festivities.

Cam Ward: Off to his first All-Star game, Ward is ninth in wins and seventh in save percentage. He’s also lost just two regulation games in his last 12.

Jeff Skinner: The rookie surprise of the year, Skinner is four points ahead of Logan Couture for the league lead in rookie scoring. He’s also second in goals with 14.


Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Kane: Kane enters his second All-Star game on pace for his lowest-grossing season in his NHL career. Now healthy, he’ll be looking for a big second half.

Patrick Sharp: Tied for third in the league in goal-scoring, Sharp is just 11 goals away from surpassing his previous career-high in his first All-Star season.

Jonathan Toews: While not an upper-level producer, Toews’ leadership ability have him as a fan favorite, and being the leader of one of the NHL’s most popular teams certainly helped him towards his second All-Star nod.

Duncan Keith: Down by his standards, Keith is still on pace for a 44-point season as he heads towards a second All-Star appearance.


Colorado Avalanche

Matt Duchene: The goal-scoring has caught up to the play-making numbers for the sophomore superstar headed to his first All-Star game. Duchene is already just 12 points behind his final total from his rookie season.

Kevin Shattenkirk: Shattenkirk has been a blessing for the Avs this year on a defense ravaged by injuries. His 20 points have him eighth in rookie scoring and second in defensive scoring.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Rick Nash: Preparing for his fifth All-Star game, Nash is just ten goals away from his fifth 30-goal season. He is also one of just nine NHL’ers with 20 goals already this year.


Dallas Stars

Loui Eriksson: Eriksson has turned into a dynamic double-threat (play-making and goal-scoring) the past couple of seasons, and gets his first All-Star award amidst what hopes to be his first 80-point season. Eriksson is currently eighth in league scoring.

Brad Richards: Richards is hoping for his second-straight 90-point season (6th in scoring with 49 points) and like teammate Eriksson, is on his way to his first All-Star game. Richards is on pace for a career-high 34 goals.


Detroit Red Wings

Nicklas Lidstrom: Surprisingly Detroit’s only entrant into the All-Star game, Lidstrom gets his 12th invite amidst one of his most-impressive seasons. The 77-points he’s on pace for would be the second-highest total of his career, which is astounding at age 40.

Edmonton Oilers

Ales Hemsky: Hemsky has already surpassed last year’s games-played numbers and points  (27 to 22 and 24 to 22), and has been a leader amongst a young Edmonton roster. This will be his first All-Star game.

Jordan Eberle: Eberle is tied with Hall in rookie scoring with 23 points, but has been flashier than his Blue and Orange counter part. He should be fun to watch in the skills competition.

Taylor Hall: Hall has driven forth from a tough start to sit fifth in rookie scoring with 23 points. He is also tied for third in rookie goal-scoring.


Florida Panthers

Evgeny Dadonov: While the totals aren’t lofty, Dadonov has turned some heads in his first NHL season. Dadonov recently saw a hot-streak end that had him net seven points in five games, with three two-point efforts.


Los Angeles Kings

Anze Kopitar: Kopitar is tied for sixth in the league in assists and is set for his second-consecutive 80-point season this year. While last year was his first 80-point year, this will be his first All-Star game.


Minnesota Wild

Brent Burns: After a couple of rough, injury-riddled seasons Brent Burns seems to be ascending the ranks of offensive defensemen, and gets his due with his first NHL All-Star jersey. He’s second in goals by defensemen with 12, and is just four back of Byfuglien for the lead.

Montreal Canadiens

Carey Price: They doubted him when the season started, but now he’s a two-time All Star. Price has won 21 games and is on pace for 40 w’s and has four shutouts on the season, a personal best.


Nashville Predators

Shea Weber: While it’s no 23-goal season, Weber is just three goals away from a fourth 10-goal season in his second All-Star year. Weber is also on pace for his fourth 40-point season.


New Jersey Devils

Patrick Elias: In a disappointing year for the Devils, Elias is leading the team with 30 points and will hopefully be getting back to the 50 point plateau. Elias will be attending the game for the third time.


New York Islanders

Michael Grabner: More of a goal-scorer for the Isles this season, the rookie has nine goals and three assists. In his first NHL season, Grabner could be a threat for 20 goals.


New York Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist: Specifically Lundqvist has been unstoppable the last four games, but the now-two-time All Star has been one of the best, yet again, all season. Lundqvist is top-ten in wings, goals-against average and save percentage.

Marc Staal: Staal is amidst his strongest offensive season yet and is one of the most-played defensemen in the league. The same year he plays in his first All-Star game could also be Staal’s first 30-point campaign.

Derek Stepan: Stepan is third in rookie scoring with 12 goals and 12 assists and is second on his team in scoring. Not bad for a kid in his first year out of College.


Ottawa Senators

Erik Karlsson: Another sophomore undergoing a huge second season who’s a point away from tying last year’s rookie total. Karlsson has been a power play specialist and has grown alongside Sergei Gonchar.


Phoenix Coyotes

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: Although he’s undergoing an up-and-down rookie year, Ekman-Larsson is one of the most well-known young blueliners in the league. He’ll have plenty more All-Star nods in his future.


Philadelphia Flyers

Claude Giroux: The top team in the East is only sending one representative, and it’ll be Giroux’s first All-Star game. Giroux has already matched his single-season high in goals, and is 11 assists away from matching that high as well.


Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby: Despite missing time with a concussion, Crosby still has a healthy lead in the NHL points race. He’s got 66 points, and is the only player right now with 30 goals and 30 assists. The 126 points he’s on pace for would be a career high as he embarks on his fourth All Star game.

Evgeni Malkin: After back-to-back 100 point seasons, Malkin has fallen off a bit and he’s now on pace for fewer than 70 points. This marks his second hat-trick of the season: One is in goals, and he’s now being sent to his third All-Star game.

Kris Letang: Letang has never been to an All-Star game, but with 37 points already this season, he’s impossible to overlook now. The amazing thing, is that of the ten NHL’ers with 30 assists, three of them are defensemen and one is Letang.

Marc-Andre Fleury: Fleury has slowed down since a mid-season stretch that saw him destroy a slow start, but he’s still amongst the best in the league this season. Thanks to that performance, he’s an All-Star for the first time.

San Jose Sharks

Dan Boyle: Boyle is gunning for a third-straight 50-point season, and is on his way with 29 points already. Boyle is off to his second All-Star game, both while he’s been with the Sharks.

Logan Couture: Couture had four goals in 15 playoff games last year, and has a rookie-leading 19 goals in 43 games. He’s also second in points amongst first-year players with 28.


St. Louis Blues

David Backes: While he’s not having a season that’ll blow you away, the first time All-Star is on pace for a 20-goal, 60-point season with a +13 rating so far.


Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos: Stamkos is second in goals and points to Sidney Crosby, but he’s still taken the league by storm. Not a bad asterisk beside this year, noting that this will be his first All-Star game.

Martin St. Louis: Five players have 50 points right now in the NHL and there are two sets of teammates accounting for four of those spots. St. Louis and Stamkos are two of those teammates, and the five-time All-Star could be heading towards a second 100-point season, or at least a fourth 90-point season.


Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel: Kessel has been up and down this season, but then again Toronto has struggled to find him linemates—something that shouldn’t be a problem in his first All-Star game. After a bit of a slow period, Kessel is back on pace for his third-straight 30-goal season.


Vancouver Canucks

Daniel Sedin: Five goals away from a third 30-goal season and hopes of a 50/50 season, Sedin is off to his first All Star game. Do you think anyone is cruel enough to draft the brothers to opposite teams?

Henrik Sedin: Sedin has 54 points and only nine of them are goals, which is the direct opposite of his brother. All-Star appearance number two for number 33 comes while he and Daniel are the other pair of teammates in the NHL wtih 50+ points.

Ryan Kesler: Kesler has now made it four-straight seasons with 20-goals and has a career-high plus-17 rating right now. It’s his first time as an All-Star, and he may be helping Vancouver to their first Presidents’ Trophy.


Washington Capitals

Alexander Ovechkin: If struggling is an 85-point season, then wouldn’t everyone want to be Alexander Ovechkin? Heading to his fourth All-Star game, Ovie is hoping this will turn his season around and propel the Caps ahead of the Lightning in the Southeast division.

Mike Green: The dynamic defenseman is playing in his first All-Star game in his toughest season yet. With a fourth-straight 50-point year unlikely and a third-straight 70-point season an essential impossibility, Green is in the same boat as Ovechkin: hoping for a rebound.


You can e-mail Bryan at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com. You can also follow Bryan on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.