The NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft will be held for the first time in NHL league history on Friday, January 28th 2011 in anticipation of the All-Star Game in Raleigh, Carolina two days later.
The fantasy draft is a new format for the NHL and one that has hockey fans excited about an All-Star game that has been growing stale for quite some time. The premise is simple and goes back to the schoolyard or backyard rink when teams were decided by two captains picking the players. The best player goes first, as captains pick players alternately.
Bodog have put together odds and betting lines on which player will be the first one taken and, also, who will be the last one drafted. Now, it is worth noting that the last selection must be a forward since all goalies and all defencemen have to be chosen before Round 15 of the draft.
The two team captains are Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, so they’re out of the running for both categories. In addition, two alternate captains for each team will be named later and will assist the captains in the selection process.
So let’s get to which player is likely to go first. There are two favourites, Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin, the reigning MVP of the league, and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, a fairly decent player himself. Both Sedin and Ovechkin are getting 4/1 odds to be selected first overall. After that it’s Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby at 5/1, followed by the Lightning’s star sniper, Steven Stamkos, at 7/1.
It will be interesting to see how the captains play this.
You have to think that if Lidstrom gets the first pick, which will be determined by a coin toss, that he might be tempted to look at his fellow Swedish countryman Sedin.
And if patriotism plays any part, Staal, a Canadian, might be pressured into picking Crosby first. Of course, Sid the Kid is widely considered the best player in the world, so it’s not like anyone would accuse Staal of favouritism.
As for Ovechkin, the Capitals’ sniper is suffering through a rather disappointing season to date. One of the most dangerous goal-scorers in the game today, the Russian superstar has failed to match the torrid pace of his previous campaigns.
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