NHL.com Staff All-Star Picks
Jaroslav Halak, Blues --
St. Louis traded for him in the offseason to be the man, and that he has become. He was coming into his own at the end of last season with the Montreal Canadiens
and has picked it up a notch now that he's established himself as a bona fide starter in the League. He's young, agile and ultra-competitive, and he's earned this opportunity.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings --
The veteran has led all NHL defensemen in scoring four times during what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career, and he's doing it again this season despite turning 40 this past spring. He's won the Norris Trophy in six of the past nine seasons and is a four-time Stanley Cup champion -- enough said.
Duncan Keith, Blackhawks --
The 2010 Norris Trophy recipient still leads the League in ice time per game and remains a model of consistency along the blue line despite a subpar plus/minus rating. Let's face it, the Hawks as a whole have struggled out of the gate this season. Keith, though, can turn the transition as well as anyone in the League and is among the team leaders in blocked shots and takeaways.
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals --
"Ovi" does it all -- he'll offer excitement, crunching hits, and most importantly, the necessary offense to lead this team to victory. Heck, maybe he'll again don the sunglasses and floppy hat the Super Skills contest for old-time's sake. The three-time All-Star twice has won the Lester B. Pearson Award/Ted Lindsay
Award, the Hart Memorial Trophy and Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy. Who wouldn't want to see the "Great 8" a designated captain, taking on the responsibility of building his own fantasy franchise?
Sidney Crosby, Penguins --
How could you pass up an opportunity to have three of the game's most electrifying performers working the same line? It really doesn't matter who's at center or wing. Crosby, a three-time All-Star, tied for the League-lead with a career-high 51 goals last season. He also led the League with three hat tricks, was the most productive player in the shootout (8-for-10) and took (1,791) and won (1,001) the most faceoffs of anyone in the League. He also ranked seventh in faceoff winning percentage (55.9) among players taking at least 1,000 draws. He leads all forwards in ice time this season and is on pace for his fifth 100-point season.
Steven Stamkos, Lightning --
Stamkos has become one of the League's elite in such a short period of time that he's just too good to pass up. In addition to leading the League in goals this season, he's also incredibly savvy on the power play and effective on faceoffs. He just knows where to be and how to respond on the ice. And let's not forget his breakout campaign last season when he equaled Crosby for most goals in the regular season.