The 2023 NHL All-Star weekend is just around the corner with the best players and coaches arriving in Florida to showcase their skills and compete against each other in one of the league's marquee events.
On Friday the All-Star skills competition will take place, followed by the All-Star Game tournament on Saturday, which will feature a team made up of superstars from each of the league’s four divisions.
Teams will consist of nine skaters and two goalies and they will participate in a three-on-three single-elimination tournament, with the winner scooping a $1million prize.
The Pacific Division will play the Central Division in the first All-Star Game semi-final, followed by the Atlantic taking on the Metropolitan Division. Each game will consist of two 10-minute periods.
|What||NHL All-Star Game|
|Where||FLA LIVE Arena, Sunrise, Florida|
|When||3pm ET, Saturday February 4th|
|How to watch||NHL.com, ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS|
|Odds||Atlantic +225, Central +250, Metropolitan +300, Pacific +325|
The NHL hockey operations department first chose one player from each of the 32 NHL teams to begin making up the teams, and then a fan vote determined the final 12 players.
Of all players handed the latest All-Star honour, Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin has made the most appearances, Florida will be his eighth.
Several players will be making their first All-Star appearances, Vegas Golden Knights' Logan Thompson in his rookie season.
He is firmly in the running for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year at +1200.
The hosting Panthers will have two representatives on team Atlantic with Matthew Tkachuk joining Captain Aleksander Barkov, who replaced Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews after he was forced to pull out through injury.
The Atlantic will need to rely on their extra strong goaltending and offensive prowess as no defensemen have been voted on to the team.
Brother Brady of the Ottawa Senators has been voted on to the Atlantic roster alongside Tkachuk.
Joining them is the Maple Leafs' Mitch Marner, who earlier this season set a franchise record of 19 consecutive games with at least a point.
With little protection in front of them, the Atlantic will rely heavily on arguably the strongest goalie tandem in the tournament, with Boston Bruins' Linus Ullmark paired with Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Ullmark leads the NHL with 26 wins, a .937 save percentage and 1.90 goals against average (GAA), while recent back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Vasilevskiy is widely considered and affectionately known as the league's "Big Cat."
Ullmark is to win the Vezina Trophy as goalie of the year and Vasilevskiy +1400.
The Atlantic will go up against the Metro in the semi-final and they will be led by two certain Hall of Famers in Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ovechkin, and it's an exciting prospect to see what they can do teamed up together.
The long-time rivals will line-up alongside three New York Rangers with forward Artemi Panarin, defenseman Adam Fox and goalie Igor Shesterkin all deservedly given the All-Star nod.
Twenty-one-year-old New Jersey Devil Jack Hughes will make his All-Star debut and the larger than life personality has the potential to set the event alight. With 33 goals, his form has the Devils on track to make the playoffs following a four-season absence.
Three of Colorado Avalanche's Stanley Cup champions top the Central's list of names.
Forwards Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon, plus current Conn Smythe and Norris Trophy holder Cale Makar will likely make up their top line and their ability to deliver in big moments together will make them a dangerous prospect.
The trio are to become Stanley Cup champions again this season and Makar is +250 to retain his Norris Trophy award as the league's best defenseman.
High scorers Kirill Kaprizov of Minnesota Wild and Jason Robertson of Dallas Stars offer exciting depth, while defensemen Josh Morrissey of Winnipeg Jets and Seth Jones of Chicago Blackhawks provide stability, but an equally good offensive punch from the blue-line.
In goal, the Central will benefit from a pair of workhorses in the Winnipeg Jets' Connor Hellebuyck and Nashville Predators' Juuse Saros, who have proven ability to stand on their head and steal a win on any given night.
The Pacific will benefit from having the league's top goal and point scorer Connor McDavid paired with his Edmonton Oilers' team-mate Leon Draisaitl, who is second in the NHL for points.
McDavid is to finish the season as top scorer and win the Rocket Richard Trophy and his 41 goals are three ahead of the Atlantic and Bruins' David Pastrnak who is +220.
The Oilers duo will line up with the league's top point scoring defenseman Erik Karlsson making their offensive threat almost unfair.
The Pacific have two of the lesser experienced goalies in net, though, in Thompson of the Golden Knights and Stuart Skinner of the Oilers and with Karlsson as the only defenseman they may concede more than they would like.
Troy Terry of the Anaheim Ducks is a young star to watch in the Pacific line-up.
The Atlantic will be led by the Bruins' Jim Montgomery and the Metropolitan by the Hurricanes' Rod Brind'Amor. Peter DeBoer of the Stars will take charge of the Central and Bruce Cassidy of the Golden Knights will be behind the Pacific's bench.
The coaches were chosen based on who at the midway point of the NHL season had led their team to the best points percentage.