On Sunday night, two teams comprised of the NHL’s best players will compete at Nationwide Arena as Team Toews will battle Team Foligno in the NHL All-Star Game.
While there is still plenty of drama yet to unfold as All-Star weekend continues, we thought it would be fun to submit our suggested lineups for what is sure to be an interesting night full of offensive fireworks.
Seguin-Toews-Voracek Getzlaf-Tavares-Tarasenko Nash-Bergeron-Forsberg Elias-Johnson-Seguin*
Weber-Suter Seabrook-Faulk Ekblad-Giordano
On the offensive side of things, it’s tough to resist the temptation to put the NHL’s two leading scorers on the same line. Centering them with a two-way threat like Jonathan Toews makes it an even more enticing situation, so we went with that as the top line.
The second and third lines in this scenario are far from easy to deal with, too. Vladimir Tarasenko is a speed demon with a nose for goal, and playing with an excellent center like John Tavares and a savvy veteran like Ryan Getzlaf could make for some highlight reel goals.
As for that third line, it features the man who snubbed Columbus, as Rick Nash steps up and plays on the wing. Filip Forsberg adds a huge dimension of speed to that line, and Patrice Bergeron is the ideal stopper for a third line.
On the defensive side of things, the allure of a reunion between Shea Weber and Ryan Suter is impossible to ignore. We were tempted to go with Brent Seabrook and Mark Giordano on the second pairing, but we decided to split the vets and have Aaron Ekblad and Justin Faulk skate with guys who have been around the block before.
* = Team Toews is short one forward due to the NHL not replacing Sidney Crosby on the All-Star roster. Until a replacement is named, we decided Tyler Seguin was an ideal guy to double-shift.
Kane-Stamkos-Kessel Foligno-Johansen-Ovechkin Giroux-Kopitar-Vrbata Ryan-Nugent-Hopkins-Girgensons
Doughty-Burns Keith-Byfuglien Shattenkirk-Ekman-Larsson
Once again, the top line is an absolute horror show for an opponent, as Patrick Kane, one of the most gifted passers in the league, gets to throw passes out for two of the premier snipers in the NHL in Steven Stamkos and Phil Kessel. Uniting the Columbus Blue Jackets duo of Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno was a given, and giving them Alex Ovechkin on the second line seems like a really smart idea.
Our favorite line of this group is the third line. Claude Giroux is one of the most underappreciated players in the NHL, and pairing him up with an equally-underrated Anze Kopitar could be a master stroke. It was tempting to put Bobby Ryan on that line, but we’re comfortable with Radim Vrbata there and having Ryan anchor that fourth line.
On defense, there wasn’t a harder decision than whether to put Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty on the top pairing. We opted for the alternate captain in this instance, but Keith gets a lovely consolation prize in playing with the beefy and physical Dustin Byfuglien.
That third pairing is nothing to sneeze at either, as Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Kevin Shattenkirk are both tremendously talented youngsters with a penchant for moving the puck smoothly and quickly.