In the coming weeks, as holidays are celebrated and the calendar flips to 2024, the NHL will be getting ready to name this year’s All-Star roster. Like last year, the league’s Department of Hockey Operations will select one All-Star from each of the 32 teams, with fans voting in an additional three players for each division. Unlike last year, the selected All-Stars will not be representing their division, but rather be selected in a player draft to be held on the Thursday of All-Star Weekend.
Ahead of the 2023 All-Star Game, Logan Thompson earned his first career All-Star nod as the goaltender for the Pacific Division. He was later joined by Chandler Stephenson, who was named as an injury replacement for Matty Beniers of the Seattle Kraken.
All-Star reprisals from Thompson, currently serving as back-up to Adin Hill, and Stephenson, who struggled a bit to open the season, seem unlikely. So who will be heading to Toronto to represent the Vegas Golden Knights? Let’s examine the possibilities:
A three-time All-Star, Jack Eichel still has yet to represent Vegas in the mid-season exhibition. That should change this year. He currently leads the team in scoring (12 goals, 33 points), as he did over the course of last spring in what was his first postseason and over the 2022-23 regular season. More significantly, he’s been every bit of the franchise center that the Golden Knights had hoped to get when they made the incredibly risky blockbuster trade to land Eichel in November of 2021.
Over the past four seasons prior to this one, William Karlsson has recorded between 12 and 15 goals. Just 30 games into 2023-24, the speedy Swede has already notched 13 and remains on pace for his highest-scoring season since potting 43 goals in the 2017-18 expansion year. Karlsson was somehow snubbed for an All-Star nod in 2018 (he was named as an alternate despite scoring 27 goals before the All-Star break), so the league could write a wrong this time around.
On sentimental value alone, Mark Stone deserves to be an All-Star. The Golden Knights captain participated in his first an only All-Star Game at T-Mobile Arena in 2022, but played in just one more regular season game thereafter before being sidelined for two months with back issues. Those injuries have robbed the 31-year-old of significant chunks of his recent prime years, but he has been healthy and productive so far this season.
Though currently sidelined with a lower-body injury, Adin Hill has already done enough to merit All-Star consideration this season. Boasting a 1.87 goals against average and a .935 save percentage, Hill still leads the league in both categories and has generated Vezina buzz. For all the strong individual performances we’ve seen from various Golden Knights players thus far, it’s hard to argue that anyone other than the recently re-signed 27-year-old has been the club’s MVP through 30 games. After Thompson represented Vegas at last year’s All-Star Game, the organization should be sending another netminder to the event this time around.