Cam Ward, Steven Stamkos Top Picks in NHL All-Star Player Draft
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The hype leading up to Friday's night's All-Star Fantasy Draft centered around all the lobbying players were doing behind the scenes.
Then Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos -- whose teammates were either the captains or assistant captains who did the picking -- were taken with the first two overall picks and it was clear behind-the-scenes maneuvers were overshadowed by pure familiarity.
Eric Staal, who will captain the red team in Sunday's exhibition at RBC Center, tapped Ward and later selected rookie Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner. Team Nicklas Lidstrom didn't have any fellow Detroit Red Wings to choose from, but assistant captains Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay) and Patrick Kane (Chicago) selected some current and former teammates -- going back to college in the case of Boston goalie Tim Thomas.
"I'm very happy to end up on Martin St. Louis' team," said Thomas, who played with St. Louis at the University of Vermont. "It's great to be with him again. I had a feeling I was going to go to the blue (Lidstrom's) team."
For his part, Thomas said he "was too focused on playing in games" to do any lobbying.
It extended across bloodlines -- at least in one of the two instances -- as well. Eric Staal tapped his brother and New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal in the seventh round, but not after first taking some criticism.
"I'm disappointed," Marc Staal chided after he was passed over by his brother six times. "I am never going buy him Christmas presents or birthday presents again. It's classless."
The two players who knew each best were, however, split up as Vancouver's Sedin twins found themselves on different teams.
"Team Lidstrom got the best twin," said Henrik Sedin, who was selected by Lidstrom's squad immediately after Staal tapped Daniel in the third round.
Like most drafts, there always seems to be a player who inexplicably drops. Jonathan Toews, who won the Conn Smythe Award after leading the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup, fell to the eighth round before Lidstrom selected him with the 16th overall pick.
"I was a little bit nervous during the whole thing," Toews said. "I didn't know what to expect, but the pressure was on the captains. Must of us just sat back and enjoyed it."
Toronto forward Phil Kessel was "Mr. Irrelevant" as the last player picked, going to Team Lidstrom.
1. Cam Ward, G, Carolina
2. Alexander Ovechkin, F, Washington
3. Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver
4. Zdeno Chara, D, Boston
5. Rick Nash, F, Columbus.
6. Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers
7. Marc Staal, D, New York Rangers
8. Patrick Sharp, F, Chicago
9. Dan Boyle, D, San Jose
10. Carey Price, G, Montreal
11. Jeff Skinner, F, Carolina
12. Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh
13. Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia
14. Erik Karlsson, D, Ottawa
15. Corey Perry, F, Anaheim
16. Patrik Elias, F, New Jersey
17. David Backes, F, St. Louis
18. Paul Stastny, F, Colorado
1. Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay
2. Duncan Keith, D, Chicago
3. Henrik Sedin, F, Vancouver
4. Shea Weber, D, Nashville
5. Tim Thomas, G, Boston
6. Danny Briere, F, Philadelphia
7. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Atlanta
8. Jonathan Toews, F, Chicago
9. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pittsburgh
10. Jonas Hiller, G, Anaheim
11. Brad Richards, F, Dallas
12. Keith Yandle, D, Phoenix
13. Brent Burns, D, Minnesota
14. Martin Havlat, F, Minnesota
15. Anze Kopitar, F, Los Angeles
16. Matt Duchene, F, Colorado
17. Loui Eriksson, F, Dallas
18. Phil Kessel, F, Toronto