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Steven Stamkos says he’s “ready for anything” heading into Thursday’s 2012 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

Fans have watched Steven Stamkos long enough to know what to expect from the Lightning forward.

But ask the 2012 All-Star about his own expectations of himself, at least in terms of when he will be selected at this year's NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, and the task becomes more difficult as if he were completing one of Guy Boucher's psychological tests in self-evaluation.

Heading into Thursday's selection showcase, just about the only thing Stamkos knows for certain is that the Draft "should be a fun event" and that he is in fact playing in the annual showcase of the league's top players.

Last season, he had the luxury of relying heavily on teammate and close friend Martin St. Louis to come through with the homer pick and select him with the first overall choice. Fast forward one year later, however, and Stamkos' best guess is as good as anybody's.

"To be honest, I have absolutely no clue," Stamkos said. "I think since I'm not one of the captains, I'm in the same situation as everyone else where you're just hoping you don't get picked last. But, I'm ready for anything."

Stamkos has been selected with the first overall pick in each of the past three consecutive Drafts he has participated in.

The streak began six years ago when he was chosen No. 1 by the Sarnia Sting at the 2006 OHL Entry Draft that saw the Markham, Ontario native first crack the major junior ranks. The theme then continued in 2008 at the NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa, and made its most recent occurrence last season at the inaugural All-Star Fantasy Selection Show held at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

Stamkos might have had St. Louis' clever sleight of hand working in his favor a year ago, it appears as if he'll have to revert back to relying on pure talent alone come Thursday night if he hopes to go first yet again.

The fact Stamkos leads the NHL with 32 goals indicates that being selected shouldn't be a problem, so why does he feel like he could be picked last?

"There are a lot of other guys in the league who are great players and who are deserving of it, so we’ll see what happens," he said. "It would be nice if it happened again, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was someone other than me this year."

Considering the captains on both sides, Stamkos said he expects Zdeno Chara to take Bruins teammate Tim Thomas with the first overall pick. As for who Team Alfredsson chooses ahead of the field, the Bolts forward is banking on Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson.

"It will be an interesting time for sure,"Stamkos added.

"It'll be fun for the fans, but I'm looking forward to it."

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