TAMPA – Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will stay home for the All-Star break and he’s bringing a few friends with him.
The league announced the rosters for the All-Star Game that will be held at Amalie Arena on Jan. 27-28 in Tampa, and it has a distinctively Lightning flavor on the Atlantic Division team.
While Stamkos was voted by the fans to serve as captain for the Atlantic team, three of his teammates were named to the team by the league on Wednesday – Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper will serve as head coach of the Atlantic Division team.
The four players are the most of any team in the league and the most the Lightning have ever sent to the All-Star game.
Under the current All-Star game format, which is being utilized for the third consecutive year, the game will feature a 3-on-3 tournament with the Atlantic Division playing the Metro Division in one game and the Pacific Division facing the Central Division in the other game. The two winners will meet in the championship game.
Three of the four Lightning representatives are repeats to the All-Star game, with Stamkos participating in his fifth All-Star game, his first since 2016. Both Kucherov and Hedman are playing in the second game after each were named to the game last year in Los Angeles. Vasilevskiy is making his first appearance and is just the third Lightning goaltender to ever be named to an All-Star game, joining Nikolai Khabibulin and Ben Bishop.
All four players will also take part in the Skills Competition as well, which will take place on Saturday the 27th. The event will feature some new, yet-to-be-revealed events in addition to regulars such as the hardest shot competition.
This will be the second time Tampa has served as host for the NHL showcase event, having been the backdrop for the 1999 game at the then Ice Palace (same building, different name which proved to be the last All-Star game for Wayne Gretzky, who was named the game’s MVP, as he retired following the 1998-99 season. Wendel Clark was the only Tampa Bay player to play in that game, in what was a North America against European players.
The remaining rosters for the four teams:
Atlantic Division – Forwards: Alexsander Barkov (Florida), Jack Eichel (Buffalo), Brad Marchand (Boston), Auston Matthews (Toronto), Kucherov, Stamkos (Tampa Bay). Defense – Mike Green (Detroit), Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Hedman (Tampa Bay). Goaltender: Carey Price (Montreal), Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay). Head coach – Cooper (Tampa Bay)
Metro Division – Forwards: Josh Bailey, John Tavares (New York Islanders), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia), Taylor Hall (New Jersey), Alex Ovechkin (Washington). Defense: Noah Hanifan (Carolina), Seth Jones (Columbus), Kris Letang (Pittsburgh). Goaltender: Braden Holtby (Washington), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers). Head coach – Barry Trotz (Washington).
Central Division – Forwards: Patrick Kane (Chicago), Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado), Braden Schenn (St. Louis), Tyler Seguin (Dallas), Eric Staal (Minnesota), Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg). Defense: John Klingberg (Dallas), P.K. Subban (Nashville), Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis). Goaltender: Pekka Rinne (Nashville), Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg). Head coach: Peter Laviolette (Nashville)
Pacific Division – Forwards: Brock Boeser (Vancouver), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles), Connor McDavid (Edmonton), James Neal (Vegas), Rickard Rakell (Anaheim). Defense: Brent Burns (San Jose), Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona). Goaltender: Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles), Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas). Head coach: Gerard Gallant (Vegas).