Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Meet the YoungStars

2008 Western Conference YoungStars Team
Defensemen: Alexander Edler (VAN), Erik Johnson (STL), Jackson Johnson (LA), Matt Niskanen (DAL)
Forwards: Sam Gagner (EDM), Patrick Kane (CHI), Peter Mueller (PHX), David Perron (STL)

2008 Eastern Conference YoungStars Team
Defensemen: Tobias Enstrom (ATL), Kris Letang (PIT), Mike Lundin (TB), Marc Staal (NYR)
Forwards: Nicklas Backstrom (WSH), Brandon Dubinsky (NY Rangers), Tyler Kennedy (PIT), Milan Lucic (BOS)

The release I saw didn't have goaltenders on there, and it appears the YoungStars will be shooting on Martin Brodeur and the other all-star netminders in their game.

I like the spirit of having young players at the event, but you're going to be hard pressed to find fans in Atlanta who will know who most of these 'stars' are, let alone want to watch them skate around pylons. The problem for the NHL now is that most of the league's true young superstars will be playing in what Evgeni Malkin called the 'adult' game last year.

Maybe this will at least give little-known future stars like Perron and Enstrom exposure to a larger audience than they've had to this point.

I don't know what the format is for this game yet, but it's safe to say it'll be vastly different from last season's game given how well that one went over. One idea I had was to have the YoungStars compete in their own skills competition, and the top finishers could have a chance to topple some of the more established players.

Someone like Perron might even be able to challenge in something like the fastest skater competition.

Key omissions: Carey Price, Martin Hanzal, Andrew Cogliano, Torrey Mitchell, Tom Gilbert, James Sheppard, Josh Harding, Mike Smith



At 1:17 p.m., January 15, 2008, Anonymous mogen_david said...

KK got the youngstars shooting against the/a goalie from the "Adult" Game.

At 1:18 p.m., January 15, 2008, Anonymous Karina said...

The TSN story said that goalies would be named later, I though? Is Price eligible if he's currently in the AHL?

At 1:27 p.m., January 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep ommision - Green form the Caps.

At 2:11 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

It used to be that all players in their rookie contracts were eligible (maximum of one appearance), so there's more than a few notable omissions by that measuring stick.

Wasn't Green at it last year?

I remember Marcel Hossa playing in this game a couple years after all of about 2 weeks of play in the NHL that year.

If Price is ineligible because he's in the AHL, just put Halak in instead. He's still a rookie.

At 2:39 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger trbrown said...

So, would I be correct to assume that the youngstars game will count towards the point total of the East vs. West skills competition.

It's kind of disappointing that the game will be this short, but at least it will be given more significance.

Actually, I think if anything, this may be the best opportunity for the all-star goalies to show their stuff. No doubt the kids will be making a lot of cross-crease plays. This may as well replace the three-on-one (or three-on-zero was it?) relays.

At 2:44 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger Shmee said...

I have to second the mouse on that...how is Mike Green left off this list?

At 3:19 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

For one, every single player here is a rookie. Two, Green was in the game last year.

At 3:53 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger Black Dog said...

Its so meaningless. I like Gagner a lot and he has a bright future but Tom Gilbert plays on the top pairing for the Oilers against their opponents' top lines while Cogliano centres Moreau and Pisani on a very effective line. Both guys are head and shoulders above Sam right now.

At 5:15 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger Bryce said...

Is this rookie-only thing exclusive to this season?

I ask because Getzlaf laced 'em last season, and that was, technically, his second season in the NHL.

Or are we going by first FULL seasons?

At 5:29 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Bryce - There really hasn't been any sort of eligibility list published but looking at who was named, my guess is they went exclusively with rookies this time around.

In the past, there were plenty of second- and third-year players on the teams, but then again, they also had young goaltenders at the game, so who knows?

I'll post here if I have a better explanation for the change.

At 6:05 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger lakings173 said...

James - what do you think about O'Sullivan in LA. Any thoughts on why he didn't make the cut?


At 6:12 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Again, not a rookie. It appears they went strictly with Calder-eligible players.

At 6:14 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger lakings173 said...

I guess you're right. Are you a fan of O'Sullivan?

At 6:21 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

He's going to be very good, but he's got some real work to do defensively.

Any kid that can score like that at the minor-league level is likely going to produce in the NHL eventually, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him as a first-liner in the next two years.

At 9:10 p.m., January 15, 2008, Anonymous Tyler said...

Am I the only one who thinks that Lucic will make some noise in this game?
He might not be known for his scoring prowess or have slick dangles like Gagner, but he is a much stronger defensive player and more well rounded than most in this game.

At 10:29 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Tyler, a skills competition mini-game isn't the best type of atmosphere for a guy with Lucic's game to shine. Not that that's a bad thing.... in fact, it's probably a good thing.

At 10:57 p.m., January 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Yeah, what he said. Lucic's is quite a player, though.


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