Eichel's an All-Star; What Other Golden Knights are Toronto-Bound?

Dec 19, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (9)
Dec 19, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel (9) / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Eichel is an All-Star for a fourth time. The 27-year-old was selected to represent the Vegas Golden Knights as part of the initial group of 32 players to participate in the 2024 All-Star Game in Toronto.

While the achievement may not quite measure up to winning the Stanley Cup in his postseason debut, its nevertheless an incredible accomplishment for Eichel in the aftermath of unprecedented neck surgery and a tumultuous exit from Buffalo. He is firmly established as the Golden Knights' top star and has fully returned to the pre-injury form that netted him consecutive All-Star nods in 2018, 2019 and 2020 as a member of the Sabres.

But enough about Eichel. The rest of the All-Star field will be filled through a fan vote, with eight more skaters and four more goaltenders being chosen. While the rest of Eichel's Vegas teammates face long odds of joining him at the mid-season exhibition, there are certainly a few deserving members of the roster. Here are the club's top candidates:

Mark Stone

It was only two years ago that Mark Stone made his All-Star debut in front of Golden Knights fans at T-Mobile Arena, but a lot has happened in the interim. Stone would only play 10 more games that season due to injury, and then just 43 the year after. From there, however, the Vegas captain got healthy in time to serve as an integral part of the Stanley Cup run and hasn't missed a game yet this year.

Mark Stone, Travis Gawryletz
Will Mark Stone join Jack Eichel at the All-Star Game? / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Now fully healthy, Stone's season has essentially mirrored that of his linemate Eichel's All-Star campaign. In the same 40 games (they are two of six Golden Knights to have suited up for every contest), Eichel holds a three point scoring edge (42 to 39), boasting a higher goal total (18 to 12) while Stone has recorded more assists (27 to 24),

Based on Stone's parallels to a guy on his team who is already an All-Star, the 31-year-old seems like the surest bet to make the trip north for All-Star Weekend.

Adin Hill

It seems all but certain that injuries will cost young stars like Connor Bedard and perhaps even Jack Hughes the chance to participate in the All-Star Game. Unfortunately, the same may ring true for Adin Hill.

Sidelined since November 30 save for a six-minute stint in the crease on December 17, Hill simply wasn't healthy enough to warrant inclusion among the first set of 32 representatives. If he had, however, remained in net while continuing his early torrid pace (1.93 goals against average, .933 save percentage), the 27-year-old would've been a shoo-in for his first All-Star invite.

When you look at the goaltenders who were selected to participate, comparisons to Hill can seem almost unfair. Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars has allowed a goal per game more and has won just one additional game despite appearing in six more. But for as deserving as he is, it's difficult to envision Hill getting healthy enough in the coming weeks to sufficiently bolster his argument for inclusion.

Brayden McNabb

I know, the All-Star Game is not and has never been the place for a stay-at-home defenseman. That said, the steadiness and high-value contributions provided by Vegas original Brayden McNabb deserve to be recognized in some way.

Brayden Mcnabb
Brayden McNabb is quietly having an excellent season in Vegas. / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

McNabb isn't even really doing the stay-at-home thing this year, anyway. Demonstrating a lot more willingness to jump up into the rush, the 32-year-old has two goals and 14 assists for 16 points thus far, already just eight points off of his career-high and two off his best offensive output as a Golden Knight. He also holds the team lead in plus/minus with a plus-11 on the year.

Will McNabb be named as part of the second wave of All-Stars? Almost certainly not. But if this mention of the sturdy blue liner in the All-Star conversation helps open some eyes as to how strong his 2023-24 season has been, then mission accomplished.

In the interest of parity, it's unlikely that Vegas will send more than a maximum of two representatives to Toronto. That's particularly bad news for the injured Hill and the under-appreciated McNabb, but there's still hope that Stone will get the chance to join Eichel as All-Stars.