Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
NHL Skills Competition lineup announced, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl among 12 players involved
20 days ago
The 2024 All-Star Weekend festivities are about to get rolling in Toronto.
As you may know, the All-Star festivities are a little bit different this year, with the biggest change being to the 12-player Skills Competition.
The players pick four competitions of the six that they believe they can do well in. The first-place winner gets five points, with the player in second place getting four points, going all the way down to no points for a sixth-place finish. The top eight point-earners will move on to a seventh event, which is a one-on-one shootout against a goaltender that they get to choose. From there, the top six will advance to the eighth and final event, which is an obstacle course that features double points.
Unsurprisingly, both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will be among the 12 players who are participating. Here’s what they’ll be involved in at the Skills Competition on Friday evening.
The world’s best hockey player picked the Fastest Skater, Passing Challenge, Stick Handling, and Accuracy Shooting.
It wouldn’t be all too surprising if McDavid wins at least two of these competitions. McDavid is incredibly fast, especially with the puck on his stick. His fastest career time at the challenge was in 2017 when he posted a 13.31 lap in 2017, just shy of Dylan Larkin’s record of 13.172 set the season prior. It’s worth noting that Larkin had a skating start, while McDavid started from a stationary position.
McDavid will battle with the likes of Quinn Hughes, Nathan MacKinnon, Mathew Barzal, and even his own teammate, Leon Draisaitl! Speaking of whom…
Draisaitl will participate in four challenges as well, participating with McDavid in the Passing Challenge, Stick Handling Challenge, and Accuracy Shooting Challenge. However, Draisaitl will not participate in the Fastest Skater Challenge, and will instead compete against Elias Petterson, Nathan MacKinnon, Nikita Kucherov, J.T. Miller, Auston Matthew, Mathew Barzal, and David Pastrňák in the One-Timers Challenge.
Draisaitl is well known for his one-time goals. We’ve seen countless times on the power play him scoring from the right-side faceoff dot on a cross-ice pass. If I had to guess, this may be the only challenge that the 28-year-old German wins, but he may have a fighting chance in the accuracy shooting as well.
As noted earlier, the top eight placed players will then face off in a shootout against a goalie they choose. The goaltenders available are Jeremy Swayman of the Boston Bruins, Alexandar Georgiev of the Colorado Avalanche, Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers, Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers, Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks, Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets, and former Oiler, Cam Talbot, now with the L.A. Kings.
Afterwards, the six players with the most points will face off in the Obstacle Course, where points are doubled. There’s a good chance that at least one Oiler representative makes the final round, but it’d be awesome if both Draisaitl and McDavid have a shot at winning.
Either way, this Skills Challenge is a breath of fresh air to an All-Star game that has been quite boring for a while now. With a $1 million prize for the winner.
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