The 2013 AHL All-Star Classic is set to take place Jan. 28 in Providence, Rhode Island, showcasing the best players in the top minor league in North America. Unfortunately, due to the NHL lockout ending, this year’s event will no longer boast the league’s best players – almost half of the top 20 scorers are expected to start the season in the NHL.
It seems incredibly unlikely that the AHL would ever cancel an event like this, but they should almost consider it. League leading scorer Jordan Eberle will be with the Edmonton Oilers, as will rookie defenseman Justin Schultz (2nd in scoring) and top draft picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall. The Philadelphia Flyers will take the Adirondack Phantoms‘ Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, both of whom were likely to be selected for the game. The Detroit Red Wings could take Gustav Nyquist and possibly Tomas Tatar from the Grand Rapids Griffins, eliminating two top scorers from the Western Conference.
When it comes to goaltenders, Robin Lehner may get a chance to be the backup for the Ottawa Senators and Braden Holtby should be on his way to the Washington Capitals, but are on a very short list of AHL netminders expected to start the season in the NHL.
The list here goes on an on, and will mean the players in the All-Star Classic aren’t necessarily the best players in the league so far this season. The right move here is for the rosters to be announced, then have all missing players replaced. This will give many AHL veterans and other players their moment in the spotlight, and acknowledge the great seasons many NHL players had in the AHL. Every year features a few last minute changes due to call-ups and injuries, but this year’s All Star lineup will be one of the most challenging to put together yet.