Earlier today we held an All-Star Mock Draft with Steve Whyno of Philly Sports Daily. He had Team Staal and the first pick while I had Team Lidstrom and the last pick. Here's a quick glance at our teams.
|Team Staal (Steve Whyno)||Team Lidstrom (Travis Hughes)|
|Cam Ward||Tim Thomas|
|Marc-Andre Fleury||Henrik Lundqvist|
|Jonas Hiller||Carey Price|
|Mike Green – Alt. Captain||Nicklas Lidstrom – Captain|
|Kris Letang||Shea Weber|
|Duncan Keith||Zdeno Chara|
|Marc Staal||Dustin Byfuglien|
|Brent Burns||Dan Boyle|
|Erik Karlsson||Keith Yandle|
|Eric Staal – Captain||Patrick Kane – Alt. Captain|
|Ryan Kesler – Alt. Captain||Martin St. Louis – Alt. Captain|
|Steven Stamkos||Henrik Sedin|
|Alex Ovechkin||Daniel Sedin|
|Claude Giroux||Danny Briere|
|Rick Nash||Jonathan Toews|
|Patrick Sharp||Brad Richards|
|Anze Kopitar||Corey Perry|
|Jeff Skinner||Martin Havlat|
|Matt Duchene||Loui Eriksson|
|Paul Stastny||David Backes|
|Patrik Elias||Phil Kessel|
For the record, Phil Kessel was Mr. Irrelevant. After the jump, we'll get into detail about how Team Lidstrom will kick the living hell out of Team Staal. Oh, and we claimed Peter Laviolette as coach, so that means Alain Vigneault of the Canucks is his co-coach. That's a good thing, too.
We'll have to set up our lines, obviously. Here's the plan...
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Phil Kessel
My thinking here? Obviously, you keep the Sedin twins together, and if you put Kessel's release on that line with Henrik's playmaking ability? Yeesh.
Loui Eriksson - Daniel Briere - Martin St. Louis
I've always dreamed of seeing Briere play with St. Louis or Vinny Lecavalier, and this line is full of magic. These guys will dangle all over the place. I lose out on keeping Eriksson with from Brad Richards, but that's okay.
Corey Perry - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
I'm obviously going to keep the teammates together as much possible, and one would be silly to separate Toews and Kane. I almost thought about putting Briere with them just because, but I think Perry's ability to hang on to the puck and use his size is probably a better fit here.
David Backes - Brad Richards - Martin Havlat
I like Richards and Havlat together, and I really like Backes all the time, but really, this line is just the leftovers. Still, not half bad for a fourth line, right?
Now for the defense...
Nicklas Lidstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Zdeno Chara - Dan Boyle
Shea Weber - Keith Yandle
Two possibilities here. I did take a lot of big men, which could hurt me in an All-Star Game. That's okay, though. Shea Weber isn't a pylon or anything, and neither is Zdeno Chara, really.
I could put two big men on the ice at the same time, but you just know they'd get burned by some of the speedy forwards on Team Staal. So I decided to break them up. I'll put Lidstrom with Byfuglien since I think he's the lesser of the bunch defensively and could use Lidstrom's help.
I put Chara with Dan Boyle because Boyle can move with the best of them, and I put Weber with Yandle because he can move as well. I think each pairing has a nice balance of size, speed and defensive smarts.
Penalties don't happen in the All-Star Game, so I won't bother with PP and PK units.
As for the goaltenders, Tim Thomas is having the year of his life and Henrik Lundqvist is the only hope the Rangers ever have. Carey Price was the throw-away pick at the position, and I'm just fine with that. ... And realistically, they're all going to allow at least two goals anyway, right?
Now, looking over at Team Staal, I'm not terribly concerned here. I have faith in my boys. Sure, Stamkos is always a threat and Ovechkin's scary too. And then there's Nash and Giroux and Staal, of course. They have weapons. Whatever. It's an All-Star Game.
On defense, though, I think our boys really have the edge. Mike Green? Come on now. I honestly think Duncan Keith is a little bit overrated and while Kris Letang is having a good year, can those top three really match up with Lidstrom, Chara and Byfuglien? I don't think so.
In a game defined by offense, this one could come down to a few defensive plays here or there. That's where I think we have the edge, and that's why Team Lidstrom's going to come out on top.... you know, when these fake teams never play each other.