Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
All four Leafs team up, “Sam Bobrovsky”, and other happenings at the 2024 All-Star Players Draft
24 days ago
Tonight kicked off the 2024 All-Star Weekend and the first major event was the Player’s Draft.
Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly were two of the captains in charge of drafting their team for the main event on Saturday with the assistance of the unofficial ambassador, Justin Bieber. It was clear they would try and use their first two picks to bring on their fellow All-Star teammates, but the question was who they would select first and it ended up being William Nylander.
If we are talking about who has been the better of the players this season, William Nylander has been miles better. Not only did he have an impressive 18-game point streak to begin the year and has him currently 11th in the league in scoring, but he is fresh off signing an eight-year extension that will all but ensure he remains a Leaf for life.
Mitch Marner did not have to wait much longer to hear his name called by his buddies as he would end up being their next pick.
While this has been an off year by his standards, Marner is still one of the best wingers in the NHL today and his 200-foot game makes him a vital component of the Leafs’ success. Even though he wasn’t the first Leaf taken in the draft, I am sure he is not complaining about getting to be on the same team with his teammates and Bieber.
One of the other highlights involving Team Matthews was when he gave high praise for Filip Forsberg’s moustache as he made the Swedish forward one of their selections.
The player draft as a whole was difficult to watch as there were far too many cringe-inducing moments. While having the event back in the mix is certainly a welcome return, there needs to be some kinks worked out for next year because the product itself was not exactly stellar both on TV and in the arena.
Despite the event being mostly a dud, there were a few notable moments throughout the festivities. There was Connor McDavid referring to Sergei Bobrovsky as “Sam Bobrovsky”.
The microphones for each of the captains stayed of the captains remained on at all times, leading to moments like this one where Team Hughes said out loud their plans.
Shoutout to Michael Buble, who revealed afterwards that he is on mushrooms, for being arguably the best part of the draft as he had quite a few quips such as this one with Quinn Hughes about what position he would play this weekend.
The NHL did not necessarily have a Phil Kessel-esque situation where there was one player by himself for the last pick, instead having Leafs legend Dave Keon have a hand in handing out envelopes to the final four players available where they would randomly get assigned to their teams. The final player to be picked in this draft was Oliver Bjorkstrand, who had to cancel his vacation plans just to be at this event.
Below are the full rosters for all four teams who will compete against each other on Saturday for the All-Star game, with the first game set to begin at 3 p.m. EST. The next major event involving the NHL players is the Skills Competition which will commence at 7 p.m. EST on Friday and you catch both on Sportsnet.
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