Well, the short answer is everyone, they are all All-Stars you know. But in all seriousness, there are always stars who steal the show at these events and oftentimes it is not a name that you might expect like Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews that tears it up. In past years, we have seen some great players take home the MVP award that outshine the betting favourites at these events.
Any one of the 45 All-Star Game selections is as likely as the next to steal the show. But if this history of the All-Star Game has taught us anything, it’s not always the best player in the league that catches the most eyes at these events.
Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis Blues) – First All-Star Game
The St. Louis Blues youngster is enjoying a career year fairly quickly into his young NHL career. Jordan Kyrou has taken the next step in his development, proving to the world just what he is capable of. In the shortened 2020-21 season, given his first full-time NHL opportunity, Kyrou burst onto the scene and made a name for himself with an admirable 35 point, 14 goal season in 55 games played, which was good enough for fourth amongst Blues skaters in scoring. This year, Kyrou is leading the way for the Blues with a team-high 42 points across 40 games played.
Kyrou has proven what he can do on the biggest stages this year, which was evident at the biggest game of the year, the 2022 Winter Classic. In his first outdoor NHL game, playing in the coldest temperature the league has ever recorded, and one of the coldest North American sporting events on record, the Canadian speedster defied expectations. Kyrou set a record for the most points scored by one player in a single Winter Classic with a two-goal and four-point outing, as the Blues bested the home team 6-4 in the frigid Minnesota outdoors.
In his first-ever skills competition on Saturday evening, Kyrou proved once again that he does not get fazed by the pressure in the fastest skater event. Competing against three-time winner Connor McDavid and former fastest skater winner Dylan Larkin, Kyrou came out victorious, beating out his heavily favoured competition with a lap time of 13.550 seconds.
His lightning-quick speed and high-end skill should be more than enough to make some more waves in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Kirill Kaprizov (Minnesota Wild) – First All-Star Game
It’s hard to believe that this is only Kirill Kaprizov’s second season in the NHL. Despite being drafted in 2015, the Russian superstar finally made his long-awaited NHL debut last year. Tearing it up with the Minnesota Wild subsequently winning the Calder Trophy given annually to the league’s rookie of the year, Kaprizov has already solidified himself amongst the best in the league. Kaprizov is set to make his first All-Star Game appearance this year and is safe to assume that he will make his presence known in a tournament based almost solely on offence very quickly.
Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche) – First All-Star Game
Cale Makar is certainly not an underrated name by any means, but defensemen are rarely named as the most valuable player of an All-Star Game. In fact, the last defenseman to be crowned with such an honour was Raymond Bourque back in 1994-95. Besides Bourque, the only other defender to be named the All-Star Game MVP was none other than Bobby Orr back in 1971-72. Cale Makar would become just the third defender in history to achieve this feat.
Makar has been arguably the league’s defenseman since he came into the league in 2019-20. He won the Calder trophy in his first year, was nominated for the Norris trophy and named to the league’s First All-Star Team last season, and is a favourite to win the Norris trophy this season. His offensive-minded style of play will surely see him shine in Las Vegas this weekend.
Joe Pavelski (Dallas Stars) – 4th All-Star Game
It’s hard to find anyone who has been more impressive/productive than Joe Pavelski over the past couple of months. The 37-year-old Dallas Stars forward is showing no signs of slowing down in his 16th season in the National Hockey League. Pavelski is a large reason why the Stars are fighting for a wild card spot this season, as he is leading one of the most productive lines in hockey, which consists of himself, Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson. Pavelski’s 48 points in 42 games sit as the ninth highest total in the league, which is also the highest on the Dallas Stars.
While originally being selected to represent the Stars at the All-Star Game, it was not until it was announced that Nathan MacKinnon would miss the event due to an injury that Pavelski added another accolade to his resume, being named as the captain of the Central Division All-Star Team.
Pavelski won the inaugural 21 In 22 Event during Friday night’s NHL Skills Competition.