Dylan Larkin (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
The NHL unveiled the All-Star Game rosters and there are some surprises. Sidney Crosby and Blake Wheeler have been left out of the game, but rookies Dylan Larkin and John Gibson will both be suiting up. Also, Barry Trotz, who coached the Predators for 15 seasons, will return to Nashville as the Metropolitan Division coach.
released the full rosters for the 2016 All-Star Game Wednesday and the new format has made for some surprising inclusions and exclusions. With the format changed to a four-team divisional 3-on-3 tournament, each of the four divisions is sending six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders, as well as the coach from the division-leading teams. Each team is led by a fan-voted captain. The Atlantic Division team will captained by Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr, who will be joined by teammates Aaron Ekblad and Roberto Luongo, who will be one of two goaltenders for the club. Luongo will share the net for the Atlantic with the Lightning’s Ben Bishop. Also included on the club are Maple Leafs winger Leo Komarov, who is in the midst of a career year, and Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin. Larkin is the only rookie skater to make the All-Star Game roster. Steven Stamkos, P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson will also be part of the Atlantic squad, and the team will be coached by Panthers bench boss Gerrard Gallant.
Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Metropolitan Division will be captained by Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, who will be joined by two teammates: center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby. In his first season in Columbus, Brandon Saad has become an all-star, and Hurricanes blueliner Justin Faulk returns to the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season. One name shockingly left off the list is Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby. Though he’s had an up-and-down season, Crosby has arguably the biggest star in the entire league. The Penguins are, however, sending star Evgeni Malkin to suit up for the all-star club. Barry Trotz, who coached the Predators for 15 seasons, will make his return to Nashville as the coach for the Metropolitan Division team. The host Predators will have three players at the celebration as blueliners Roman Josi, Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne will all be playing for the Central Division squad. The Stars’ incredible scoring duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin will also be at the game, and will get to spend the All-Star Game coached by their Dallas bench boss Lindy Ruff. The 2015 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks will be sending both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who will act as the Central captain. Jets winger Blake Wheeler is a strange omission from the Central team and he’s the highest scoring player in the league to not be named to the All-Star Game. Wheeler is seventh in the league with 10 goals and 40 points, yet the Jets will only be sending blueliner Dustin Byfuglien to the game. Coyotes tough guy John Scott will be at the game to captain the Pacific Division team. The Pacific will have the only rookie goaltender at the All-Star Game as Anaheim’s John Gibson — he of 15 games this season — has gotten the nod to backstop for the division. He’ll be joined by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. The Pacific is the only division that does not have one team with three representatives, and the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau, Oilers’ Taylor Hall and Coyotes’ Scott are the only members of their respective teams attending the All-Star Game. The full roster listing,
via NHL.com, is below: