Here are the lineups and our predictions for the 2016 All-Star games.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Game 1: Metropolitan vs. Atlantic
Metropolitan storyline: This game is going to most likely be the more interesting of the two preliminary games. The only reason I think this is because of the absence of Alexander Ovechkin. Evgeni Kuznetsov is taking his place. He would’ve been a huge difference on the team for 3 on 3. I don’t want to take much away from Kuznetsov though. Kuznetsov is putting together one hell of a season and deserves to be there, but Ovechkin is one of the best players in open ice. The Metropolitan team is nevertheless stacked with talent in all positions and is my pick to win this game.
Atlantic storyline: Jaromir Jagr is now 43 and even said earlier this season he didn’t want to be an all star because he didn’t have the stamina. Well, obviously the fans voted him in anyway, which will be interesting to see. The other storyline for this team will be its strong reliance on defense. Aaron Ekblad, P.K. Subban, and Erik Karlsson are some of the best defensemen in the league right now. Putting them all on one team will make for some interesting hockey. This team will likely keep game 1 close if they don’t win.
Game 2: Central vs. Pacific
Central storyline: The Central is the most talented team in this year’s field. I can’t help but pick them to at least make the finals. Hands down the best offensive all star team, the six forwards they put on the same team is just unfair. Kane, Toews, Tarasenko, Benn, Seguin, and Duchene. The only downfall I can see this team having is goaltending. I can’t wait to watch this team hopefully win it all.
Pacific storyline: John Scott is going to be very intriguing to watch. The saga of John Scott has had its twists and turns and is finally coming to its end. A player with only 11 career points, Scott knows and accepts he isn’t the best on the ice. It will be interesting to see how much he plays and how he does considering he really isn’t even in the NHL anymore. The only way I see the Pacific winning is if Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau ends up having the game of his life. So far this season Gaudreau has been one of the best, if not the best, in 3 on 3 hockey.
Finals: Central wins a narrow and exciting game after Tarasenko scores the game-winning goal.
MVP: Jaromir Jagr gets a symbolic send off with the MVP award in what is likely his final all star appearance.