This morning the NHL announced that Eric Staal of the hometown Carolina Hurricanes, and veteran defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings will be the captains for the league’s inaugural All-Star Fantasy Draft.
So now that we know the captains, what other key questions will be answered during the draft?
- Will Sidney Crosby play? This morning news leaked that Crosby was planning to skip the All-Star Game out of protest because the league failed to punish the players that gave him concussions. Crosby’s agent has refuted the report, but Crosby is still no sure thing to play because of his health. We assume that by the draft his status will be more clear.
- Will Eric Staal pick his brother? For his part, Marc says that he doesn’t want to be on Eric’s team because the elder Staal is “too mouthy”. But we think there’s a pretty good chance the Staals end up on the same team.
- Who will be the first pick? The sexy names — Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Steven Stamkos — weren’t selected as captains, meaning there will be plenty of drama to see who is chosen first. If Crosby doesn’t play some of the drama will disappear, but the debate between the other two will still rage. Still, none of the three are guaranteed to be the top choice as many think that Nicklas Lidstrom might pick his fellow Swedes at the top. Staal is a bit of a wild card, and who knows, he might even take his brother. So there’s sure to be plenty of intrigue at the top.
- Who will be the last pick? The NHL gave plenty of thought as to whether a “Mr. Irrelevant” final choice was a good idea, but at the urge of the players, there will be a last pick. Patrik Elias and Ales Hemsky seem like logical candidates, but since we don’t know how the captains will pick, anyone could be last. It will be interesting to see how the overlooked player, whoever it is, handles the embarrassment.
- How seriously will the captains take this? Surely the fans’ ultimate hope is that this draft will provide a glimpse at which players are the most highly regarded by their peers. But will the captains actually draft that way or will they take their buddies, their teammates, and their countrymen?
Obviously the NHL has the opportunity to create plenty of interest with its first All-Star Fantasy Draft, but it will be very interesting to see how the league markets it.
The draft will be televised on Versus on January 28th.
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