Sunday, January 14, 2007

A look at the YoungStars

There are some nice selections here.

In the East, Mike Green from Washington has quietly had a great first full season, and Ryan Whitney's been a big part of keeping the Penguins in the playoff picture. Phil Kessel's obviously a sentimental choice, given he hasn't exactly lit it up (yet), while the likes of Evgeni Malkin and Thomas Vanek are no-brainers.

Out West, Peter Budaj has quietly had a very strong season, keeping Colorado in the Northwest Division race despite Jose Theodore's struggles. Brent Seabrook is another youngster who you hear too little about that has unbelievable potential, while St. Louis's Lee Stempniak has turned into one of the Blues' consistent scoring threats — especially since Andy Murray took over the coaching reins. Alex Radulov is going to be a big-time sniper for Nashville for a long, long time, and next to perhaps only Malkin and Kari Lehtonen (the old man of this crew at 23), Ryan Getzlaf is the best player in this game.

Who's missing? Marc-Edouard Vlasic would have been good to see, although San Jose's well-represented overall in the two games. Guillaume Latendresse has had a far better season than Kessel, and could have been named, and heck, Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton are only 21 and plenty 'young' enough (although Bergeron played in the 2004 game).

Anyone else?

UPDATE Just a note on the eligibility requirements: Players who are 24 and younger and on an entry-level contract qualify. Toronto's Kyle Wellwood seems like another good choice passed over, perhaps due to his recent injury woes.


At 10:11 p.m., January 14, 2007, Anonymous Logan said...

If you want to get into guys that have been around while but are still young enough to be in it, how about Ilya Kovalchuk? hard to believe the guy is still only 23.

At 10:38 p.m., January 14, 2007, Anonymous Ben said...

Kovalchuk is aleardy a SuperStars, he isn't a YoungStars no more.

The missing players are Latendresse for sure.

At 12:58 a.m., January 15, 2007, Anonymous paul said...

Not to spoil some of the fun, but the game seems to be limited to first- and second-year players. That eliminates some of the snubs already mentioned, and explains the presence of Budaj, a "Young"-star at the age of 24.

At 9:43 a.m., January 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The league wants to promote its young American stars and young stars on American based teams.
That's why Phil Kessel gets the nod ahead of Guillame Latendresse.
Face it. Latendresse speaks a foreign language that most Americans hate and ridicule, he plays for a team in a foreign country with the largest French speaking population outside of Paris.
Given how Americans feel about France, it's easy to see why they chose to pick a Yankee over a Quebecois.
Simple as that.
The league won't admit it, but is the unfiltered truth.
How would having a French Canadien playing instead of Phil Kessel sell the game in the southern US?
"Dag nammit, what dey got dat dam Frenchie playin instead of one of our boys?"

At 12:52 p.m., January 15, 2007, Anonymous MisterD said...

Wasn't Michael Ryder on his second professional contract when he was nominated to young stars game back in 2004?


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