The NHL has announced the first 32 participants for All-Star Weekend.

Now comes the fun part.

First, the fans will select 12 more participants, giving us a pool of 44 players.

Then, the NHL will select four captains and pair them with celebrities, and in a new event at the arena and on TV, they will draft the teams for the 3-on-3 tournament in the All-Star Game.

Who else do you think deserves to go? Who do you want in the skills competition? Who do you think the captains and celebrities will be, and what’ll they do in the draft -- pick teammates, embrace rivals, create dream scenarios?

The draft will be part of NHL All-Star Thursday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Feb. 1, followed by the NHL All-Star Skills presented by DraftKings Sportsbook on Feb. 2 and the NHL All-Star Game on Feb. 3.

The first 32 participants are a great foundation. They include one player from each team, so every market has a representative. We already have some of the biggest stars, but we still have lots of room for fans to debate and vote for more of their favorites.

Auston Matthews is the headliner among the first 32 participants as the representative of the hometown team. The Toronto Maple Leafs center leads the NHL with 30 goals.

But we also have Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. Like Matthews, each has won the Hart Trophy, voted as the NHL’s most valuable player.

We have two Hughes brothers -- Jack, the New Jersey Devils forward, and Quinn, the Vancouver Canucks defenseman. We have one Tkachuk brother -- Brady, the Ottawa Senators forward.

The fans will select the final 12 players (eight skaters, four goalies) in the 2024 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by MassMutual. They can vote at, via X (formerly Twitter) and the NHL App now through Jan. 11, and they have plenty of good candidates from which to choose. Too many, frankly.

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Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, Canucks forward J.T. Miller and Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen weren’t among the first 32 participants, but each is in the top 10 in the NHL in scoring.

What about Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko, Canucks center Elias Pettersson, Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar? How about the other Tkachuk brother -- Matthew, the Florida Panthers forward?

Once we get the final 44, we’ll need a dynamic dozen. Unlike in past years, not every player will participate in the skills competition.

Let’s say Matthews and McDavid are selected one way or another. Matthews won’t just do accuracy shooting. McDavid won’t just do fastest skater.

Each of the 12 will compete in four of the following six events: Fastenal NHL Fastest Skater, Rogers NHL Hardest Shot, Upper Deck NHL Stick Handling, NHL One Timers, NHL Passing Challenge and Cheetos NHL Accuracy Shooting.

Based on accumulated points, the top eight will advance to the Honda NHL Shootout, each choosing which goalie he will face. The top six will advance to the finale: the Pepsi NHL Obstacle Course, which will incorporate all the skills and be worth twice the points.

Once we get the final 44, we’ll need four teams, too. Captains have picked the teams for the 3-on-3 tournament at the NHL All-Star Game three times before: at Carolina in 2011, Ottawa in 2012 and Columbus in 2015. This will be the first time they will do it with celebrities, though.

You never know who might make an appearance. But Matthews seems an obvious choice to be a captain in front of the hometown crowd, and it’s well known that Justin Bieber is a Maple Leafs fan. Would they spend “10,000 Hours” preparing? What would their “Intentions” be? Whom would they force to “Stay” and feel “Lonely”? (“Sorry.”)

Based on the first 32, we have questions: Will the Hughes brothers play with or against each other? Will we get Crosby with MacKinnon or McDavid or both?

But so much depends on the fan vote and the final 44: Will the Tkachuk brothers get to play with or against each other? Which teammates will get to be reunited or split? Matthews, Nylander and Marner? Demko, Miller, Pettersson and Quinn Hughes? McDavid and Draisaitl? MacKinnon and Makar? Who else?

Up to you.