On February 3, 2024, the best hockey players in the NHL will take to the ice at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto for the 68th NHL All-Star Game. Under league rules, each of the four division’s eight teams must have at least one representative.
While there will be your given superstars representing many of the league’s 32 teams, it is safe to say that there will be a share of players making their well-deserved first appearance at the annual 3-on-3 event and skills competition. Each divisional team will be made up of eleven players including four wingers, three defensemen, two centers, and two goalies.
Winners of the midseason exhibition will financially deposit bonuses of anywhere between $1 million for the winning team, to $100,000 team prize bonus for each win, and $250,000 for the Most Valuable Player.
NHL First Time All-Stars in 2024
Sam Reinhart – Center
The Florida Panthers currently sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, third in the Eastern Conference, and sixth overall. For a team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season as the eighth seed, this is a step up. One of the main reasons for the Panthers’ success this year has been the play of center Sam Reinhart. As the second overall draft pick in 2014, Reinhart over the last two-plus seasons in Florida has become the player that the Buffalo Sabres had hoped for, one that is fully deserving of a trip to Toronto.
Rasmus Dahlin – Defenseman
The 2018 NHL Draft did not have a lot of big names, but it was filled with a lot of serviceable players, including first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. After three years of trying to find his footing in the NHL, the 23-year-old defenceman from Sweden has started to come into his own, recording a career-high 73 points last season. While the Buffalo Sabres are among the bottom feeders of the Atlantic Division, Dahlin has continued to impress and is on pace for his second-best points season.
Jeremy Swayman – Goaltender
The Boston Bruins are on top of the NHL standings with a big thanks going to their dynamic netminding duo of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. Yes, Ullmark won the Vezina and the Jennings awards last year and represented the Bruins at the All-Star game, but Swayman has a better record this year and also leads the league in Save Percentage and Goals Against Average.
Jesper Bratt – Left Wing
The New Jersey Devils will likely have plenty of players to choose from to represent their team in Toronto, but it doesn’t hurt to give their second-leading scorer a chance to shine. On pace to crack the 100-point mark after back-to-back 73-point seasons, Jesper Bratt is proving to be the Devils’ second-best scoring option this season.
Ivan Provorov – Defenseman
In his first season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Ivan Provorov is on pace to have a career-best season. Although the Blue Jackets have given up the most goals in the Metropolitan Division this season, it’s not fair to lay blame on Provorov, who while sitting second in +/- at -7, is sitting third on the team in minutes played.
Ilya Sorokin – Goaltender
The New York Islanders are not very good. Sitting seventh in the Metropolitan Division New York’s other team struggles are more because they cannot score (30th of 32 teams) than stopping the puck. A Vezina Trophy finalist last season, Sorokin will likely be the Islanders’ sole representative at this year’s event.
Connor Bedard – Center
The most hyped rookie since Connor McDavid was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers, Connor Bedard has shown that despite being just 18 years old he is meeting all expectations and is capable of playing with/against players twice his size and age. This will just be the first of many All-Star appearances for the teen sensation.
Sean Durzi – Defenseman
A second-round draft pick in 2018, Sean Durzi didn’t make his NHL debut until 2021, helping the LA Kings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ironically, Durzi would be traded by LA to Arizona for a second-round pick. Leading the Coyotes in +/- and points for a defenseman, Durzi is on pace to shatter his career high in goals and points.
Jake Oettinger – Goaltender
After joining the Dallas Stars as a 22-year-old rookie, Jake Oettinger found himself thrust into the starting role in his sophomore season, winning 30 of 46 starts. Last year Oettinger went 37-11-11, but we aren’t talking about last year. This season, Oettinger is off to another great start, posting a 7-2-1 record, and helping the Stars to a 10-3-1 start out of the gates.
Frank Vatrano – Left Wing
Undrafted in 2014, Frank Vatrano signed a rookie free-agent deal with the Boston Bruins, joining the Bears main roster for the 2015-16 season. During his first eight years in the NHL, Vatrano’s highest point total maxed out last year at 41. Now in his second year with the Anaheim Ducks, Vatrano is producing more than a point per game and is on pace for his best professional season.
Vince Dunn – Defenseman
When the Seattle Kraken picked up Vince Dunn from the St. Louis Blues, little did they know that they were adding a top-line defender to their lineup. Although Dunn had collected a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, it would be the 2022-23 season that was his breakout year. Currently the fifth-highest-scoring defenseman in the league, Dunn may eclipse last season’s point total this year.