The NHL’s All-Star skills competition takes place on Saturday evening in Los Angeles. You can watch all of the action on NBCSN starting at 7 p.m. ET, or online via our Live Stream which can be found right here.
On Friday, the NHL announced the players that will be participating in each event, including the team skills relay and the new four-line challenge.
Now that we know who is doing what, let’s try to pick some winners when it comes to the three individual challenges.
DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting
Who will win? Tavares and Kane have actually won this event in the past, and the odds on favorites (according to Bovada) to win each individual heat are Tavares (-150), Crosby (-130), McDavid (-120), and Kane (-140). Tavares would seem to be the odds on favorite overall, but I am going to go with rookie sensation Patrik Laine from the Winnipeg Jets.
Not only does he already have one of the best shots in the league (that he will also get to show off in the hardest shot contest), he has pinpoint accuracy with it as well.
Bridgestone NHL Faster Skater
Who will win? Dylan Larkin broke a nearly two-decade old record belonging to Mike Gartner in this event last season and there might be one or two players in this group that can challenge his mark (Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid) and they just so happen to be going head to head in one of the heats.
MacKinnon’s acceleration is on par with that of an Olympic speed skater, while McDavid simply plays the game at a different speed than everybody else.
McDavid seems to be the odds on favorite to take this one and is my pick, not only to win the competition, but to also break Larkin’s record of 13.172 seconds.
Oscar Mayer NHL Hardest Shot
Who will win? This is always the event everybody wants to see, and this year should be no exception because it’s a pretty impressive — and intriguing — list of competitors. We already talked about Laine’s shot up above, and you have him going up against Brent Burns who is in the middle of an historic offensive season for defenseman. Shea Weber, who has dominated this event the past two years and ended Zdeno Chara‘s five-year run at the top, goes up against one of the league’s all-time best goal-scorers (and players) in Alex Ovechkin. You also have P.K. Subban, the player Weber was traded for over the summer and the owner of a pretty dangerous shot, in this event as well.
Not only has Weber won it the past two years but he has challenged Chara’s all-time record of 108.8 miles per hour, checking in at 108.5 and 108.1 the past two seasons.
There are a lot of great shots in this field, but Weber still seems to be in a class all on his own.
He takes it for a third consecutive year.