The stage is set for a...probably so-so All-Star Game. A lot of guys that should be in Columbus for the festivities inexplicably weren't invited (or rather explicably, if you prescribe to the idea that the league asks franchises who is and is not interested...ahem...Hank).
We ignored the ground rule of certain players being off-limits due to captaincy or assistant captaincy. Instead, everyone was thrown in. Injury substitutions have been denoted as there have been more than a few since we drafted. The ceremonial coin flip went to Team Cohen, so he will get first pick.
Note: All stats shown are 5v5 (score adjusted, where applicable).
Let's take a look at how this thing played out.
Team Cohen: With my first pick I will get the only Ranger All-Star out of the way and take former Columbus Blue Jacket Rick Nash. The idea of the Columbus crowd booing their former hero and the irony of Nash being picked first is too great to pass up on. He will be fantastic on the penalty kill because the NHL all star game is definitely a serious game with hard-working PKs.
Team Mercadante: Brandon you snake. I wanted NYR's lone guy. I guess I'm going to have to match your goal scoring with a sniper of my own. Tyler Seguin is my first pick. Even though the AS Game is of course known as a defensive affair, I just see a sparkle in this guy's eye. And I gotta imagine he will throw the best pre and post-game parties Columbus has ever seen.
Team Cohen: You have taken the party animal off the board, so I must shift my focus over to stopping him. How will Columbus fans feel rooting against Rick Nash is their own goaltender is his teammate? I select Sergei Bobrovsky, partially because he has 'Bob' in his name, and partially to force the hometown crowd to root for Nash. INJURY REPLACEMENT - BRIAN ELLIOTT
Team Mercadante: Appealing to local fan sensibility. Decent strategy. Because those jerseys aren't going to sell themselves. With my second pick I'll add more offense and MOAR partying. Patrick Kane. This team won't pass a sobriety test, but they'll be wheeling all night.
Team Cohen: Your team is already sounding like a lot of fun, but not for opposing defenses. With you taking Buffalo-born Patrick Kane in mind I should take the best American born All-Star defenseman to stop him: Kevin Shattenkirk.
Team Mercadante: For my next pick I've called on my assistant GM, Kevin Power, to step in and make the call.
Did you know that Crosby has appeared in just one All-Star Game (2007)? He has missed 5 due to injury and the rest due to Olympics or lockout. Neat. INJURY REPLACEMENT - JOHNNY GAUDREAU
Johnny Hockey and Kaner are going to go berserk with no checking and no defense.
UPDATE: NOPE. NHL has decided that Gaudreau will not play and they will play one forward short. Because...I don't know. They don't like fun?
Team Cohen: I am struggling to choose between Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, or Steven Stamkos. After much consideration, I have decided on Evgeni Malkin, as I would love to see the two battling through an intense game such as the All-Star game.
Your wish shall not be granted, Brandon. You too, will get a rook injury replacement. 3 of the first 7 picks have now been replaced. ALL STAR GAME HOORAH! INJURY REPLACEMENT - FILIP FORSBERG
Team Mercadante: My next pick is easy. Give me Steven Stamkos. Gimme gimme gimme.
Team Cohen: Alright alright you get Stamkos, I will take Alexander Ovechkin to pair with
Malkin and Nash on the first line. Not bad, right?
Team Mercadante: Time to draft a goaltender. I would totally go for Hank here, normally, but I've got to give credit where it's due. No goalie in the NHL has been as transcendent over the course of this season as Pekka Rinne. He has a legit argument for MVP. Rinne is our starter.
No he isn't. INJURY REPLACEMENT - JAROSLAV HALAK
Team Cohen: f you're going to take
Pekka Rinne and my top goalie right now is Sergei Bobrovsky I should probably build up my defense. I'll take a killer slapper in Rinne's teammate, Shea Weber.
Team Mercadante: Wait, did Erik Karlsson really not make the all-star team? That's the dumbest thing ever for so many reasons. He's going to have a field day when he isn't the sole center of attention. He has to be my next pick. Can he?
Fine. I just wanted my boy Karlsson. In that case I'll take Mark Giordano, who is bald and awesome.
Team Cohen: Bald and awesome is a good combination. I will take John Tavares to get another first overall pick and get the New York fans on my side.
Team Mercadante: Blast. He was my sleeper who isn't really a sleeper. Let's stick with bald and awesome. Ryan Getzlaf. So bald. So awesome.
Team Cohen: Just saw that Nazem Kadri would be upset if Phil Kessel is picked last again. I don't want Kadri to be upset, so I will take Kessel.
Team Mercadante: Enjoy the media frenzy. I can't believe neither of us have picked Claude Giroux. Actually I can. Screw the Flyers (but I'm picking Giroux).
Team Cohen: Ahh good I should probably take the other Flyer, Jake Voracek now, but I won't. I will take Roberto Luongo so I can have the best tweeter in the game on my side.
Team Mercadante: That's going to be big leading up to the game. He can dish dirt on Kessel's compete level and ornery nature. I'm taking big Dustin Byfuglian. Will he play D? O? Free roaming monster? Nobody knows.
Team Cohen: I'll take a player of similar style in Brent Burns so when Byfuglien is skating around confused about which position he's playing he'll at least have a friend.
Team Mercadante: It’s Vlad Tarasenko time. Dark horse for All-Star Game MVP.
Team Mercadante: Carey Price has been a massive reason why Montreal has hung around the top of the NHL. I hope your team scores a lot on him and break his confidence for the rest of the season.
Team Cohen: I hope my team scores a ton on him as well, so I will draft a goal scorer. Let's go with Nick Foligno because he's apparently a goal scorer now??
Team Mercadante:Yea I can't believe the numbers he is putting up. With my next pick I'll take the Lord of Corsi, and hockey in general, Patrice Bergeron. We've been so busy nabbing the big point producers that we've skimmed right by possibly the best all-around player in the field. A 59.3 SACF% is uhm...yea.
Team Cohen: Darn, good pick. I will go back to defense and take Oliver Ekman-Larsson, mainly because he's fun to watch and has a fun name.
Team Mercadante: With my next pick I'm going to take a guy we all love, Drew Doughty. Please send hate mail in my direction.
Team Cohen: Funny you pick him because my next pick is Anze Kopitar, his teammate. Not enough Slovenians in the all star game in my opinion.
Team Mercadante: My next pick is going to be a diminutive undrafted points machine that plays with Steven Stamkos. Nope, not Marty St. Louis. Tyler Johnson.
Team Cohen: Oh man great pick. Is Duncan Keith still on the board? If so, how? I take Duncan Keith.
Team Mercadante: Hopefully this next pick doesn't hold out. I don't particularly love his game but we are starting to get into "maybe these guys shouldn't have made it" territory. Ryan Johansen.
Team Cohen: You take a Ryan, I'll take a Ryan, A man so familiar with losing it's about time he wins one, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Team Mercadante: How have we not picked Jakub Voracek yet. Heehawwwww. I'll take him now.
Team Cohen: Alright! So I think I could use another defenseman, so I will take defensively responsible Ryan Suter. The All-Star Game is won on defense, of course!
Team Mercadante: I'm taking Radim Vrbata with my next pick because:
Team Cohen: Wow that's a good pick with that picture in mind. I will take Bobby Ryan, perhaps the most confusing player in the game of all. (No Erik Karlsson?)
Team Mercadante: I know, right? I still can't understand how Karlsson, who has a game tailor-made for no checking, and is otherwise deserving in every way, isn't in there. Anyway, I want PK Subban. But since that's also not possible, I'll take Brent Seabrook.
Team Cohen: will take Zemgus Girgensons so I don't end up short on forwards and don't have to have the corpse of Patrik Elias on my team. Plus, Latvia!
Team Mercadante: Yea I'm short on D. So I guess Justin Faulk. Carolina actually Corsis pretty alright and he leads the D there. So that's something. This is where things really get meh.
Team Cohen: Yknow what? I actually need to take Patrik Elias to have 12 forwards. My team will have to roll only four lines. I take Elias and he will have to stay awake for the entire game.
Team Mercadante: I love that he himself doesn't understand why he is an all-star. Despite being a Devil, gotta love the guy. I'll take Erik Johnson, who completely sucks and would have difficulty beating out Gi for a top four spot on the Rangers. Boy, the Avs have had a rough year, eh? INJURY REPLACEMENT (MERCIFULLY) - AARON EKBLAD
Team Cohen: Yeah, they are pretty bad when you think about it. Saw it coming, too. My last pick is Jimmy Howard, partially because I like Jimmy Howard and partially because he will probably be replaced due to injury so I get the wild card factor! INJURY REPLACEMENT - MARC-ANDRE FLEURY
Team Mercadante: Yep I'll take Corey Crawford, who is like the third best goalie on his own team. Yay fan vote. Corey, for being picked last, you win my wife's beat up 2004 Acura. It needs new brakes and the cruise control is busted. Enjoy.
Forward Graphs are all 5v5 score adjusted. Closer to top right and darker the blue, the better.
Defense Graphs are all 5v5 score adjusted. Closer to bottom right and darker the blue, the better.
Goalie Comparison - Top right and darker blue is better
NHL 15 Showdown
Brandon's ragtag crew of replacements comes back to win the 7 game series in astounding fashion, with Rick Nash scoring the GWG and taking ASG MVP.
Enjoy the real thing. Try. Try to enjoy it.
All stat tables and graphs courtesy of war-on.ice.com