First off I have to say that I am a bit surprised that as the host team the Kings are only sending two players to the All-Star Competition this year. I also must say that I was expecting Coach Sutter to be the Pacific division coach again this year, though I believe that Coach DeBoer will do an excellent job, I assumed as the host team Sutter would be a logical choice.
I would like to start with the notable player who will NOT be appearing at this year's All-Star Competition, Anze Kopitar! Kopitar who was made Captain of the Kings team this season was not included in the pacific division roster. Admittedly on paper Kopitar has not been putting up the numbers we have become accustomed to seeing from him, but his presence both on and off the ice are a defining feature of the Kings team. The Kings have had a rough start tho the season with the injury of Jonathan Quick in the first game, and subsequent injuries of Marion Gaborik and Braden McNabb among others. These injuries have changed the dynamics of the team and how they have to play. I think it is a testament to both Coach Sutter and Captain Anze Kopitar that despite all of their difficulties and challenges they are still in the running to make the playoffs this season! In last nights game against the Stars Kopitar scored his 247th goal as a King, passing the Great One Wayne Gretzky, in all time career goals in a Kings Uniform. Kopitar is now 6th on the Kings list of all time goals. When you inevitably ask why he deserves a place on the All-Star team when he has not had nearly the stats in goals or assists this season I will point out that Chicago's Jonathan Towes, who has exactly the same number of points this season as does Kopitar, did make the cut for the Central Division All-Star Team and Chicago is sending 4 players which is more than any other pacific division team. I for one am very disappointed that Kopitar did not make the cut!
Now on to the two players who will be representing the Kings on the 2017 All-Star pacific division team. The first is Jeff Carter, who will be making his first appearance on the All-Star team in eight years! There is no question about weather Carter deserves to be on the All-Star team this year. He has 37 points so far this season with 22 goals and 15 assists in 41 games. Jeff Carter leads the Pacific Division in goals and is second in the NHL in goals so far this season! Jeff Carter in undeniably one of the main reasons the the Kings still have a shot at making the playoffs this year.
The other Kings representative on the All-Star team this year comes as no surprise to anyone, Drew Doughty. This will be Doughty's third consecutive appearance in the All-Star Tournament. He also won the Norris Trophy last season. Doughty is one of the leading defensemen in the division in both goals and points. As of last night he was also holding the third place spot in the league in time on ice for a defenseman. So far this season Doughty has 22 points with 7 goals and 15 assists in 41 games. On paper Doughty makes the All-Star team on reputation as much as anything else, though he does have the second best stats as a defenseman on the Kings just one point behind Alec Martinez. Doughty like Kopitar however brings more to the team than just his numbers. The team responds well to him and he encourages others to step up and play to the best of their abilities when they are on the ice with him. It is his presence as well as his skill that make Doughty an exceptional player.
Congratulations to Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty for being selected to represent the Kings and the Pacific Division this year on the All-Star team!