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St. Louis: Stamkos should go No. 1 in All-Star Draft

by Mike G. Morreale
Six-time NHL All-Star Martin St. Louis can think of 38 good reasons why Tampa Bay Lightning teammate Steven Stamkos should be a part of Team Lidstrom during the NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover on Sunday.

"Well, obviously, 38 goals so far this season ... that's all I have to say," St. Louis told the media during an All-Star conference call  Monday. "He's pretty good for the skills thing too. He's got some good moves and it would be nice to be on the same team together. But we'll see."

St. Louis will find out on Friday during the NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft powered by Cisco (TSN/RDS in Canada; VERSUS in the U.S., 8 p.m. ET) at the Raleigh Convention Center. St. Louis, who was named an alternate captain for the All-Star Game, will join fellow alternate Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and captain Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings to choose from a pool of 36 all stars.

The first selection will be determined via a coin flip.

Stamkos was named the NHL's second star of the week after tallying a League-best 5 goals for the Southeast Division-leading Lightning (30-15-5) en route to four-straight victories last week. Stamkos, who will be making his first All-Star appearance, is also in the midst of a six-game point streak and leads the NHL in goals (38), power-play goals (15) and points (67).

Based on what Lidstrom and Kane had to say, St. Louis might very well get his wish.

"I got to chance to play against (Stamkos) in junior when he was just a rookie and you could just really tell how good he was going to be even back then," Kane said. "Obviously, you see some of the highlights and you can't really believe he scores all those goals from the wing on the power play.

"Marty does a great job of setting him up," Kane continued. "I actually talked to Stamkos this summer and he was saying he was probably the happiest guy in Tampa when Marty got re-signed. He's a fun player to watch ... he's very explosive and has a great shot and is a heck of a player."

Lidstrom wouldn't mind having the chance to transition to Stamkos off the breakout.

"I think the first thing that comes to mind is the quick release," Lidstrom said. "He's got a great quick shot, whether it's a slap shot or quick wrist shot and he looks to be a strong skater too. He's got strong strides, so that's what I see just from watching it on TV from the highlight goals he's been scoring."

St. Louis guessed that Team Staal captain Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes might select goalie and fellow teammate Cam Ward if he earns the first pick, leaving the League's scoring leader there for the taking.

"If Staal's picking first, hopefully he goes with his teammate Cam Ward and we can make an educated first pick," St. Louis said.

St. Louis and Stamkos have combined for 58 goals and 127 points this season -- accounting for almost 40 percent of the scoring for the Lightning.

"Really, as long as the team is doing well, you don't care how you're getting it done." Stamkos told NHL Live! Monday afternoon."Me and Marty have that great chemistry. We want to go out every night and help the team win."

St. Louis, who has been a part of every All-Star Game since 2003, is second in the NHL with 38 assists and tied for fourth with 57 points. While it is nice to be an alternate with Kane and captain Lidstrom, a part of St. Louis also wished to hear his name announced.

St. Louis was never drafted. He signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames in 1998 and spent the latter part of the 1997-98 season with the International Hockey League's Cleveland Lumberjacks at the time of his signing with Calgary. He was later released and signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning prior to the 2000-01 campaign.

"When this all came out, I thought about, for once, having an opportunity to put the hat on, wear the jersey and take a picture," he said. "In all honesty, though, it's a nice place to be ... at the All-Star Game among all the other elite players in the League. Everybody finds their way and has different stories, so it's just nice to be a part of that weekend like everyone else."

St. Louis, winner of the 2010 Lady Byng Trophy winner, has also garnered the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award and the Stanley Cup during his nine-season career.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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