Vancouver Canucks: How the Pacific Division could look at the ASG

VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 19: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rogers Arena December 19, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 19: Elias Pettersson #40 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rogers Arena December 19, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /

The All Star Game is next month and frankly, the Vancouver Canucks could send three of its players. However, there are limited spots and certain rules that go with the event. Here is what I think Team Pacific Division could look like in San Jose.

With only a few days left in 2018, let’s look forward to 2019. New year, new Vancouver Canucks? We’ll possibly see. But, since it is less than a month away, let’s talk about the All Star Game. At this point last year, the local Vancouver media rallied hard for the Eastern media to take notice of Brock Boeser.

Through a lot of hard work and an incredible goal-scoring tear, Boeser was not only recognized across Canada, but across the NHL as the lone Canucks representative at the All Star Game. NHL fans outside of our Canucks bubble got a first-hand look at The Flow and his incredible shot.

He had incredible moments, talking to Sidney Crosby and breaking the league’s new accuracy shooting targets. Boeser also left the weekend with a new car and nice wad of cash as the MVP (the first rookie to do it since Mario Lemieux in 1985).

This year’s All Star Game should be interesting. The balance of power has shifted in the Pacific Division and while the Canucks are in the middle, they have another standout player making waves across the league.

Elias Pettersson is a lock for the All Star Game. He is crushing the rookie scoring race and is the most exciting young player in the league this year. Okay, there’s a heavy dose of Canucks bias on the second point, but can anyone really question that?

The NHL already had their fan vote for the captains of each division. Connor McDavid will be captain of the Pacific again, which isn’t surprising. Top five players have to win something, right? The NHL will fill out the rest of the rosters and have to make sure they follow certain rules.

One big one is to have at least one player from each team, no matter how terrible they have been this season (*cough* LA Kings *cough*). I’m also going to look at last year’s team and try to guess what the league will do this time around and justify it. The team needs to have six forwards, three defenceman and two goalies.

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Last year’s Pacific Division had Marc-André Fleury (Vegas) and Mike Smith (Calgary) in goal. On the blue line, we saw Brent Burns (San Jose), Drew Doughty (LA) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona). The forwards were Brock Boeser (Vancouver), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Anze Kopitar (LA), Connor McDavid (Edmonton), James Neal (Vegas) and Rickard Rakell (Anaheim).

So, since San Jose is hosting, I will assume they will have the same number of players as last year’s host, which was four. It should be three, but here we go. Looking at their roster, I could see the NHL selecting Logan Couture, Timo Meier, Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. That leaves four spots for forwards, one for defencemen and both goalies.

The netminders should be easy. I could see John Gibson from the Ducks to make an appearance and seeing Fleury represent the Golden Knights again. On defence, it gets tricky.

Do you pick Mark Giordano? He is playing better than Doughty, but the Kings’ forwards have been particularly bad this year. And one King has to be at the All Star Game. Since the Flames have All Star worthy forwards, Doughty would get the spot.

For the remaining four forward spots, Connor McDavid already takes up one. Johnny Gaudreau will take another. I already said Pettersson is a lock, so the last thing to worry about is the final spot. The Canucks have a good case in Brock Boeser. Injuries may have slowed down his season, but he is on an incredible scoring tear, with nine goals in 14 games since his return. But we still need to give Arizona a representative. So, the final spot goes to Clayton Keller.

Now, I think there should be value in the kind of eyes that a player brings to the All Star Game. Remember when I said Boeser broke the NHL’s fancy targets with his shot? The whole weekend is part of the event and that could work in Boeser’s favour.

Having that unique talent is far more interesting. Then again, Pettersson also has a booming shot, so the NHL could say that they already have that and don’t need both players. Out of fairness, every team needs to be represented. I do wish that the host city was limited to three players, but that’s just how the numbers play out.

So, here is my predicted roster for the Pacific Division (assuming everyone is healthy) in alphabetical order by last name within their position:

John Gibson (Anaheim Ducks) G

Marc-André Fleury (Vegas Golden Knights) G

Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks) D

Drew Doughty (LA Kings) D

Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks) D

Logan Couture (San Jose Sharks) F

Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) F

Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes) F

Connor McDavid (C) (Edmonton Oilers) F

Timo Meier (San Jose Sharks) F

Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks) F

Vancouver Canucks power rankings to end 2018. dark. Next

Do you think the NHL could do better? If there are a couple of injuries, maybe we could see one more Canuck at the All Star Game. Once again, the ASG will be fun to watch as we can see another young Canuck potentially shine during the event.