2022 NHL All-Star Weekend: Skills Competition, Rosters, Biggest Snubs

Toronto Maple Leafs' Austin Matthews (PHOTO: NHL)

We have a good news, bad news situation on our hands. Regretfully, zero games are listed on the NHL’s schedule for this weekend, nil pois. However, there is the NHL All-Star Weekend, held in Las Vegas, to look forward to instead – and it’s shaping up to be an exciting spectacle this year.

NHL All-Star Skill Competition, Las Vegas Edition:

For the first time in the event’s history, the Skills Competition will be held – partly, at least – outdoors. The NHL is bringing two new competitions to the party this year, with the league’s stars taking to Las Vegas Boulevard to compete in Fountain Face-off and 21 in ’22 tonight (00:30 GMT).

Fountain Face-Off, as its name suggests, will be staged at the Fountains of the Bellagio – with eight participants travelling by boat to a mini-rink. They must then shoot pucks as quickly as possible into five targets placed on the water, fighting through the spray from nearby fountains. It promises to be… an experience.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, a three-time Winter Olympic medallist with Team USA, is expected to take part in the competition – continuing the NHL’s recent trend of including women’s hockey players in its All-Star events.

21 in ’22, on the other hand, is a hockey-meets-blackjack mishmash. Players will try to build a hand that equals 21 by shooting pucks at a giant deck of playing cards. The winner, from a field of five participants, will be the player who takes the fewest number of shots to reach 21.

Traditional, if that’s the right term, All-Star Skill Competitions will also take place. Fastest Skater, Save Streak, Hardest Shot, and Accuracy Shooting are all back for another year. However, the Breakaway Challenge, a shootout-cum-trick shot test, promises to be the headline act.

Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, famed for making audacious plays, will take part in the Breakaway Challenge even though he wasn’t named on the Pacific Division’s All-Star roster. Manon Rhéaume, the first woman to ever play in an NHL game, and actor Wyatt Russell will act as guest goaltenders for the event.

Who Is Taking Part in the All-Star Game?

The rosters for the 2022 NHL All-Star Game were announced last month, with Auston Matthews, Claude Giroux (in relief of Alex Ovechkin), Nathan MacKinnon, and Connor McDavid selected as divisional captains.

This year’s All-Star Game will replicate the format from 2020, when the NHL’s four divisions competed in a three-on-three tournament. Divisional coaches will dress nine skaters and two goalies in each contest, with the event following a straight knockout set-up. The action is scheduled for 20:00 (GMT) on Saturday.

Atlantic Division (All-Star appearances)

Forwards:

  • Patrice Bergeron, BOS (3rd)
  • Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA (2nd)
  • Dylan Larkin, DET (2nd)
  • Auston Matthews, TOR (4th) *
  • Steven Stamkos, TBL (7th)
  • Nick Suzuki, MTL (1st)
  • Brady Tkachuk (2nd) +

Defencemen:

  • Rasmus Dahlin, BUF (1st)
  • Victor Hedman, TBL (3rd)

Goaltenders:

  • Jack Campbell, TOR (1st)
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL (4th)

+ replaced OTT F Drake Batherson (injury)

Metropolitan Division (All-Star appearances)

Forwards:

  • Sebastian Aho, CAR (2nd)
  • Claude Giroux, PHI (7th)*
  • Jake Guentzel, PIT (1st)
  • Jack Hughes, NJD (1st)
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov, WSH (2nd)+
  • Chris Kreider, NYR (2nd)
  • Tom Wilson, WSH (1st)++

Defencemen:

  • Adam Pelech, NYI (1st)
  • Zach Werenski, CBJ (2nd)

Goalies:

  • Frederik Andersen, CAR (2nd)
  • Tristan Jarry, PIT (2nd)

+ replaced NYR D Adam Fox (injury)

++ replaced WSH F Alex Ovechkin (COVID-19 protocol)

Central Division (All-Star appearances)

Forwards:

  • Kyle Connor, WPG (1st)
  • Alex DeBrincat, CHI (1st)
  • Nazem Kadri, COL (1st)
  • Kirill Kaprizov, MIN (1st)
  • Clayton Keller, ARI (2nd)
  • Jordan Kyrou, STL (1st)
  • Joe Pavelski, DAL (4th) *

Defencemen:

  • Roman Josi, NSH (4th) +
  • Cale Makar, COL (1st)

Goaltenders:

  • Juuse Saros, NSH (1st)
  • Cam Talbot, MIN (1st)

+ replaced COL F Nathan MacKinnon (injury)

Pacific Division (All-Star appearances)

Forwards:

  • Leon Draisaitl, EDM (3rd)
  • Jordan Eberle, SEA (2nd)
  • Johnny Gaudreau, CGY (6th)
  • Adrian Kempe, LAK (1st)
  • Connor McDavid, EDM (5th) *
  • Timo Meier, SJS (1st)
  • Mark Stone, VGK (1st)
  • Troy Terry, ANA (1st)

Defenceman:

  • Alex Pietrangelo, VGK (3rd)

Goaltenders:

  • John Gibson, ANA (3rd)
  • Thatcher Demko, VAN (1st)

* Fan-elected captain

NHL All-Star Snubs:

Look, as entertaining as All-Star Weekend is, the event rarely features all of the NHL’s biggest names and best players – and there are two reasons why.

Firstly, the NHL insists that every team is represented at All-Star Weekend – hence the inclusion of players from the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, and Montreal Canadiens this time out. Secondly, some players just don’t want to take part. Alex Ovechkin, for example, has skipped three All-Star Games – earning himself one-game suspensions in 2015-16, 2018-19, and 2019-20.

This year, Sidney Crosby is the biggest name missing from the roster. William Nylander, who enjoyed a fantastic start to the season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is another unfortunate omission. Of the NHL’s up-and-coming stars, it would’ve been exciting to see the likes of Moritz Seider, Lukas Raymond, and Zegras in the line-up. Maybe next year?

Related: Elite League Extends Regular-Season, Delays Playoff Finals Weekend


Are you excited for All-Star Weekend? Join the conversation on Twitter by mentioning @BritIceHockey.

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