The stars of the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus will conduct a fantasy draft Friday to create teams for a real game to be played Sunday. We here at NHL.com decided to get into the spirit by conducting our own All-Star fantasy draft.
Dan Rosen played the role of Jonathan Toews; Corey Masisak played the role of Nick Foligno. We followed the same rules that All-Star captains Toews and Foligno must follow Friday during the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
Rosen won a coin flip to pick first for Team Toews. All goaltenders had to be selected by the 10th round. All defensemen had to be gone by the end of the 15th round. Each team had to have 12 forwards, six defensemen and three goaltenders.
As is the case in the real fantasy draft, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Drew Doughty and Patrick Kane were not eligible to be drafted. Nash and Getzlaf have been assigned as assistant captains on Team Toews; Doughty and Kane are assistant captains on Team Foligno.
The remaining 36 players selected to compete in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) and the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) were available for Team Rosen and Team Masisak … err, Team Toews and Team Foligno.
Here is how the draft went:
1. Team Toews: Sidney Crosby
Easy No. 1 pick. He'll score. He'll distribute the puck. He won't have to worry about backchecking to help out the defense. He'll be all offense all the time. It's a slam dunk.
2. Team Foligno: Steven Stamkos
We would have taken Stamkos at No. 1. This game is all about goals and he's one of the two best on the planet at scoring them.
3. Team Toews: Alex Ovechkin
Are you kidding here? Ovechkin has 11 goals in the past 11 games. He's on fire. And how rich is it that we can put Ovechkin on the left side of Crosby? Get your cameras ready. Also can't wait to see if he has any props to use in the Skills Competition.
4. Team Foligno: Evgeni Malkin
Crosby and Ovechkin vs. Malkin and Stamkos in a 2-on-2 street hockey showdown would be pretty epic. No one is taking the puck off Malkin in this game. Put him with Stamkos and Kane and six points are possible.
5. Team Toews: Shea Weber
Critics will get on us for taking a defenseman too early in an All-Star Game draft. They'll miss the point that Weber guarantees us a win in the Hardest Shot competition Saturday. This was a shrewd move; an absolute steal.
6. Team Foligno: Vladimir Tarasenko
No one has had more highlight-reel goals this season. He and Kane will be expected to carry us in the shootout.
7. Team Toews: John Tavares
Full disclosure: We were hoping Tarasenko would slide one more pick, but with Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Tavares, Nash and Weber we have some gold here. It worked in Sochi, it'll work in Columbus. Ovechkin should be happy to ride along.
8. Team Foligno: Claude Giroux
It would have been tough to choose between Tavares and Giroux for us, but we think we would've gone with Giroux anyway. His team has had a disappointing season but this is a chance for him to show off. He'd be my dark horse MVP choice.
9. Team Toews: Carey Price
Sticking with what worked in Sochi, we'll go with the goalie who might be the best in the NHL right now. A .929 save percentage, 2.15 goals-against average, 24 wins; is a shutout in the first period in order?
10. Team Foligno: Tyler Seguin
Team Toews is taking defensemen and goalies early because when both teams reach double-digits in goals it's a good idea to not grab as many game-breaking forwards as possible. That is sarcasm.
11. Team Toews: Anze Kopitar
Clearly we're looking to keep goals-against down and dominate the puck-possession game in Columbus. We'll cycle, grind, get the puck and bodies in front of the net, score some greasy goals. Our even-strength Corsi and Fenwick will be 75 percent or better.
12. Team Foligno: Duncan Keith
We now have the two best candidates for the Norris Trophy, and the two best defensemen in this game at carrying the puck. That's going to happen a lot, too.
13. Team Toews: Mark Giordano
We see your Keith and Doughty and raise you Giordano and Weber. OK, Keith and Doughty are pretty darn good, but Giordano and Weber have more points than each of them this season. As you said Mr. Foligno, this game is about scoring. We'll take our chances with Giordano and Weber creating offense for Toews, Getzlaf, Nash, Crosby, Ovechkin, Tavares and Kopitar. Plus you're not scoring on Price anyway.
14. Team Foligno: Sergei Bobrovsky
If anyone is going to go crazy in net and stop like 17 of 18 shots to steal the MVP, it is going to be the hometown hero.
15. Team Toews: Roberto Luongo
We won a couple Olympic gold medals together, and frankly it's just fun to watch Blackhawks teammate Corey Crawford twist in the wind a little bit. Luongo has been great this season. Florida is lucky to have him.
16. Team Foligno: Marc-Andre Fleury
He's having his best season. Say whatever you want about postseason issues or rebound control some nights, Fleury still has maybe the best reflexes in the League and should be good for two or three highlight-reel saves in this format.
17. Team Toews: Ryan Johansen
We can't believe Team Foligno let Johansen get away. We can't believe they let him hang around until the ninth round. He's a steal here, and now we get some hometown flavor on our team. We're still down 2-1 in Blue Jackets, but Johansen might turn some fans in our favor.
18. Team Foligno: Dustin Byfuglien
Since we missed on Weber, Byfuglien might finish second in the hardest-shot contest. He's going to be the defense version of Malkin too; he's going to be dancing around with the puck all night.
19. Team Toews: Jaroslav Halak
Yep, this pick was made to get under Crawford's skin. Halak is having a solid season for the New York Islanders. They are becoming scary good. He's a big reason for it. But let's not lie; Team Toews made this pick to watch Crawford's reaction, because it was either him or Halak.
20. Team Foligno: Corey Crawford
We probably would have taken the guy with the .920 save percentage and a bunch of teammates around all weekend to make him feel comfortable instead of the quiet guy with a .910 save percentage making his first appearance at an event like this if we had the choice, but this works for us.
21. Team Toews: Ryan Suter
We'll reunite Suter and Weber and watch them control the game from the blue line. Good luck getting the puck back, Team Foligno. I mean, seriously, this draft isn't even fair anymore. We're checking with the NHL to see if Team Foligno wants to forfeit now to avoid embarrassment.
22. Team Foligno: Jakub Voracek
Checking the NHL.com stats page to see how many players have more points than Voracek this season; oh yeah, there aren't any. This seems like a pretty good value pick. Put him with Giroux and Tarasenko and tell them we want five goals at a minimum and we'll call that good coaching.
23. Team Toews: Brent Seabrook
Had to get a teammate and had to get another righty. Welcome aboard, Seabs.
24. Team Foligno: Brent Burns
There are two players in this game who would be adept at playing forward and defense, and given the nature of the game likely will be doing a lot of both. They're both on our side.
25. Team Toews: Tyler Johnson
He won't have Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat to play with in this game, but something tells us he'll have no complaints about his linemates if he's on the wing or in the middle. Is there a more underrated young player in the NHL right now? We'll say no. Johnson could be the MVP in this game.
26. Team Foligno: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Nothing against the other three defensemen who were left at this point, but we needed a lefty. And there will be very few power plays so Shattenkirk might not be as valuable.
27. Team Toews: Kevin Shattenkirk
With Shattenkirk and Giordano we have the top two scoring defensemen in the NHL this season. Again, this game is about goals, right Team Foligno? We'll guarantee at least a baker's dozen, but the draft isn't over yet.
28. Team Foligno: Justin Faulk
He is going to see sheltered minutes away from the top lines and probably a lot of offensive zone … OK we're joking, these are all great players; there is no shelter out there. There is always one player who is a little less heralded that ends up with, like, a goal and three points, and Faulk might be that player.
29. Team Toews: Erik Johnson
You may think Faulk could be the unheralded player contributing three points to a win; we think it'll be Johnson. He's lighter, faster and way more offensive-minded this season.
30. Team Foligno: Phil Kessel
Team Toews tried to orchestrate a pre-draft agreement to have Kessel picked last again, but we were having none of that. Besides, having the chance to put Kessel and Seguin next to each other on a line might break Hockey Twitter. They both might get hat tricks.
31. Team Toews: Patrice Bergeron
Can't imagine what fans of the Boston Bruins think of Team Foligno now. Kessel ahead of Bergeron? There are heads are spinning in Boston. And how dare you go against our pre-draft agreement? We had a pact; OK, we didn't, but we'll happily take Bergeron. For all of our offense we now have the three Selke Trophy finalists from last season. Dominance.
32. Team Foligno: Zemgus Girgensons
Who's the one with a lot of money? Zemgus Girgensons. Who's the one which word we are shouting? Zemgus Girgensons. [Love Latvian tribute rap videos.]
33. Team Toews: Patrik Elias
Can we give the old-timer (he's 38) some love, please? Elias has reached 600 assists and 1,000 points this season, and he has 399 goals. He has won the Stanley Cup twice. He is headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame, or at least he better be. Respect.
34. Team Foligno: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Did Elias play in one of these before Nugent-Hopkins was born? Maybe we're thinking of Jaromir Jagr. Regardless, the Nuge is going to make for a very nice fourth-line center in this game. Get it to Girgensons will be his directive.
35. Team Toews: Bobby Ryan
He'll bring the intensity for us in a bottom-six role. Ryan's hands and creativity are exceptional. He's tailor-made for the All-Star Game. And now we've got Crosby and Ryan, the top two picks in the 2005 NHL Draft.
36. Team Foligno: Radim Vrbata
All of that money spent in the offseason and Vrbata has the most goals of any player who changed teams. We'll be happy to add another potential 30-goal scorer to round out the roster.