Hall Selected to All-Star Game

The rosters for the 2018 NHL All-Star Game – to be played January 28 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida – are set and Taylor Hall, for the second consecutive year, will be the Devils’ lone representative. This is his third All-Star appearance overall, including his time with the Edmonton Oilers.

Hall will join a Metropolitan Division roster coached by Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals (Washington was in first place in the Metro Division at the cutoff, so Trotz got the nod). His teammates will include forwards Josh Bailey (New York Islanders), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers), Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) who was chosen captain of the Metro in a fan vote and John Tavares (New York Islanders). The defensemen are Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes), Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins). The goaltenders are Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals) and Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers). Only Bailey is playing in his first All-Star Game for the Metro.

The All-Star format is once again a three-on-three mini tournament between the four divisions of the NHL. Last year, in Los Angeles, the Metro won with Hall playing a big role in the victory.

Hall currently leads the Devils in goals (15), assists (27) and total points (42) in 39 games. He is also tied for the team lead in power play goals with Brian Boyle. Both have five.

The Metro’s opponents in the first round of the tournament will be the Atlantic Division, which is very heavy on hometown Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition to coach Jon Cooper and Steven Stamkos – who was named captain of the Atlantic by the fans, the Lightning also have forward Nikita Kucherov, defenseman Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy on the roster. The Atlantic should be tough competition for the defending champs, also featuring Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres (making his first All-Star appearance), Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In the Western Conference, the Central Division will be led by two Nashville Predators: coach Peter Laviolette and Central captain, defensman PK Subban. Goalie Pekka Rinne will also represent last year’s Western Conference (playoff) champions. In what could be signaling a changing of the guard, for the first time in a long time the Chicago Blackhawks will only have one representative in the game – Patrick Kane. Meanwhile the Dallas Stars will have two in forward Tyler Seguin and defenseman John Klingberg, the St. Louis Blues will have two in forward Brayden Schenn and d-man Alex Pietrangelo and the Winnipeg Jets will be sending forward Blake Wheeler and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

The Pacific Division will see two first timers in Vancouver Canucks rookie forward Brock Boeser and the Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell. The Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid will serve as captain of the division and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights will be sending two representatives in forward James Neal and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury plus their coach, Gerard Gallant. The Los Angeles Kings have three players on the team in forward Anze Kopitar, d-man Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick.

Overall, it should be an interesting set of games coming up in a few weeks. The new format has been a real hit for the last few years that it has been in effect. Good luck and congratulations to Taylor Hall and to all of this year’s NHL All-Stars.

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