The NHL today announced the 2011 All-Star Game rosters and two New York Rangers were selected for the game and one for the rookie skill competition. Defenseman Marc Staal and goalie Henrik Lundqvist were named to the game itself and center Derek Stepan was among 12 rookies selected.
The selection for Staal is the first for the game itself even though he has been a part of all-star weekend before in the NHL Young Guns game which no longer exists. For Lundqvist this will be his second selection to the team after playing in the most recent game in 2009. All three of these Rangers were well deserving of going to the game and will represent the team well in Raleigh.
Staal following a slow start has been phenomenal this season with six goals and 11 assists, while being a top shutdown defender and logging more and more minutes as the season has gone along and now ranking eighth in the league at a ridiculous 25:29 a game.
For Lundqvist, he also had an up and down beginning to the season but his overall numbers still look stellar at 18-12-3 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. Those numbers rank Lundqvist tied for sixth in wins, tied for ninth in goals against average, and eight in save percentage.
Stepan is second on the team with 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 43 games and ranks him third in goals and points, and eighth in assists among rookies which makes him a very viable threat for the Calder come year end.
I do not want to take away from the three Rangers who are going to the game, but the obvious candidate for snub from the Rangers is Brandon Dubinsky. I will not call out any names in particular that based on play and importance to his team this season Dubinsky should have been selected over but his numbers of 16-20-36 rank him tied for 29th in the league and he certainly should have been selected.
Overall the weekend is a popularity contest that concludes with a meaningless game that I would much rather players like Staal and Lundqvist get the rest instead of playing in, but I congratulate them on their deserved selections, look forward to Stepan winning the skills competition and hopefully seeing a good game.
Oh and if you did not know by the end of the weekend you might hear Marc and Eric Staal are actually brothers.