It’s that time of year again. NHL All-Star Weekend.
The festivities kick off Friday with the skills competition and carry into Saturday’s 3-on-3 tournament. It will be another star-studded event, filled with the league’s biggest and brightest talents showing off what they do best.
Before the puck drops in Las Vegas, we’re sharing a little knowledge on each All-Star selection to go with this week’s power rankings. Who was late to start playing hockey? Who was motivated early on by candy? And who holds a record you probably didn’t know about? It’s fun facts for all!
How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors rates teams against one another — taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedule — and those results are tabulated to produce the list featured here.
Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the last edition, published on Jan. 26. Points paces are through Tuesday’s games.
Previous ranking: 2
Points percentage: .734
All-Star: Jonathan Huberdeau
Huberdeau hails from just outside Montreal but he attended more Panthers games growing up than he did Canadiens games. His parents would pack their family into an RV and head for Florida each winter, where Huberdeau spent many a night watching his future team in action.
Previous ranking: 1
Points percentage: ,773
Makar really identified the purchase of a Slurpee as his biggest impulse buy in the year 2019. He was also the first UMass player to ever win the Hobey Baker Award.
Kadri is used to building a rapport with linemates, but five years ago it was his instant chemistry with a rescue cat that brought Jazzy Kadri into his life — and the little lady became a social media star.
* Nathan MacKinnon is injured and not going
Previous ranking: 3
Points percentage: .762
Aho was drafted in the second round, No. 35 overall, by Carolina in 2015 draft. The only player from his draft class to have scored more goals (164) than Aho is No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid (217).
Andersen dreamed of becoming an architect, before his father Ernst — a former goalie — took him to a hockey rink for the first time. Ernst didn’t want his son playing net, but Andersen was so determined, he’d go into the crease without goalie equipment on until Ernst finally gave in.
Previous ranking: 4
Points percentage: .750
Hedman used this strange COVID-19 era of hockey to his advantage when, in July 2021, he became the first player in NHL history to have scored a goal in all 12 months of the year.
Stamkos has John Tavares to thank for his No. 91. The future stars once played together on a summer league team coached by Stamkos’ father, and they both wanted to wear No. 19. But Stamkos’ dad gave that number to Tavares, showing his son no favoritism. Stamkos has worn No. 91 ever since.
Vasilevskiy took a historic hold on a historic franchise when he became just the third goalie to post a win streak of at least 11 games against Montreal. For perspective, Turk Broda (1939-41) and Alec Connell (1925-27) were the others.
Previous ranking: 11
Points percentage: .713
Kaprizov had a Minnesota connection before ever stepping foot in the state, via two former Golden Gophers — Cade Fairchild and Ryan Stoa. They befriended Kaprizov while playing for the same KHL team, helping the young Russian learn English and putting in extra work with him on one-timers after practice.
Talbot worked 12-hour shifts at a steel mill while in college, before he was offered a D-1 scholarship to the University of Alabama-Huntsville. He credits that experience to laying a foundation of hard work that’s carried him throughout a long hockey career.
Previous ranking: 7
Points percentage: .726
Campbell played seven pro seasons before recording his first NHL win. Last year, he set an NHL record for most consecutive wins (11) by a goaltender to start a season. Quite a glow up.
Matthews holds all kinds of team and league records (scoring four goals in his debut was a nice start on that front), but he can also claim to be the highest scoring player ever under age 20 in Switzerland’s National League A. He tallied 46 points in 36 games the season before being drafted No. 1 overall by Toronto.
Previous ranking: 6
Points percentage: .674
Guentzel scored his first NHL goal during his first shift, with his first shot. Just like Mario Lemieux.
Jarry owns a 60-acre barley farm in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Naturally, he’s also got a giant retooled red tractor — nicknamed “Ferrari” — to do all the weeding and other necessary farming projects.
Previous ranking: 5
Points percentage: .681
All-Star: Chris Kreider *
Kreider would have a stunning personal résumé even without his NHL credentials: He can speak five languages (including Russian, used for chirping at other players on the bench when needed), plays guitar and piano, earned a degree from Boston College and reads Hemingway for fun.
* Adam Fox is injured and not going
Previous ranking: 9
Points percentage: .620
Pietrangelo has averaged more shifts per game (30) since entering the league in 2008-09 than any other defenseman (with at least 200 games played).
Stone was a defenseman when he started playing hockey, only he couldn’t skate backward very well so his father — showing great foresight — moved his son to forward. The rest, of course, is history.
Previous ranking: 10
Points percentage: .648
All-Star: Jordan Kyrou
Kyrou’s grandfather John immigrated to Canada and was hired by Toronto Maple Leafs great Tim Horton to work at his original eponymous coffee shop. John made donuts but turned down Horton’s repeated offer of free tickets to Leafs games, the story goes, because he didn’t care for the sport. Horrors!
Previous ranking: 12
Points percentage: .641
Kuznetsov was so obsessed with hockey as a child that he and his friends would buy bottles of soda to bribe the security guard at their local rink, so he’d let them skate after the building was closed.
Ovechkin didn’t take up hockey until he was 8 years old. By 12, he had broken the Russian junior hockey single-season goal-scoring record set by Pavel Bure at the same age, netting six goals in his team’s season finale.
* Tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t play
Previous ranking: 13
Points percentage: .652
Josi was once turned aside by security while trying to enter his neighbor’s house party uninvited. The neighbor happened to be Taylor Swift.
Saros recently took up padel to keep his goalie skills sharp. A popular pastime in Europe, padel is like a squash-tennis hybrid played on a small court where the player on one side tries to bounce the ball twice on their opponent’s end to earn points. Which all sounds like something a goalie would love!
Previous ranking: 8
Points percentage: .640
All-Star: Patrice Bergeron
Bergeron barely spoke English when the Bruins drafted him in 2003 and was self-conscious about his thick French accent. Early on, whenever he’d go to dinner with teammates, Bergeron would be too nervous to try pronouncing any menu items, so he’d just order the same thing as whoever was sitting next to him, regardless of what it was.
Previous ranking: 18
Points percentage: .610
All-Star: Johnny Gaudreau
Gaudreau was put in skates before he’d mastered walking. His father owned a hockey rink and would toss Skittles on the ice for Gaudreau to chase after; with the added motivation, 2-year-old Gaudreau went from crawling to striding toward the sweet treats in no time.
Previous ranking: 14
Points percentage: .573
Gibson was cut from the Baldwin (Pennsylvania) High School hockey team as a freshman and failed to make all his top-level youth teams growing up. He went on to be the top-rated North American goaltender in the 2011 draft, and Anaheim selected him 39th overall.
Terry started out playing roller hockey, not transitioning to the ice until he was 7. Terry struggled initially, but still was better at hockey than his other sports passions at the time (flag football and T-ball). Eventually, Terry got pretty good at lacrosse too but chose skates over cleats when push came to shove.
Previous ranking: 19
Points percentage: .573
Draisaitl not only was the first German-born player to win the Hart Trophy (in the 2019-20 season), he’s also the league’s all-time leading scorer from Germany, a feat he accomplished with 488 points in just 468 games.
McDavid nearly went the NCAA route, considering attending Boston University. He might have been teammates there with Jack Eichel, who was drafted second overall in 2015 after McDavid went first, but McDavid opted to tear up the Ontario Hockey League instead.
Previous ranking: 16
Points percentage: .552
All-Star: Adrian Kempe
Kempe had no nickname when he joined the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, in 2015. By the end of their run to a Calder Cup title that year, Kempe was known as “Juice,” for the spark he gave Manchester in scoring eight goals as an 18-year-old.
Previous ranking: 15
Points percentage: .558
All-Star: Joe Pavelski
Pavelski is so good at so many things — hockey, tennis, golf, you name it — that his college teammates at Wisconsin nicknamed him “The Truth.” As in, everything Joe Pavelski does is the truth.
Previous ranking: 17
Points percentage: .512
All-Star: Kyle Connor
Connor has scored the fourth-most 5-on-5 goals in the NHL (109) since his first full season in 2017-18. The only forwards with more: Alexander Ovechkin, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews.
Previous ranking: 23
Points percentage: .477
All-Star: Zach Werenski
Werenski played hockey with fellow Michigan native (and now, fellow NHL All-Star) Dylan Larkin from the time they were 10. It was Larkin who convinced Werenski to attend the University of Michigan with him, floating the promise that if he did, they could share a dorm room.
Previous ranking: 22
Points percentage: .522
All-Star: Timo Meier
Meier owes a lot to being linemates with Nik Ehlers on the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. The 2014-15 campaign was Meier’s draft year, and he rocketed up boards everywhere thanks to a 44-goal, 90-point season that was aided by having Ehlers, now a member of the Winnipeg Jets, riding shotgun.
Previous ranking: 24
Points percentage: .500
All-Star: Dylan Larkin
Larkin was part of an elementary school wrestling club, but instead of working on classic moves (think: half-nelson), the group would watch WWE clips and try to reenact them.
Previous ranking: 21
Points percentage: .500
All-Star: Adam Pelech
Pelech has an impressive hockey pedigree — his older brother Matt was drafted 26th overall by Calgary in 2005, his brother Michael was a sixth-round pick by Los Angeles in 2009 and Pelech’s uncle Mike Gillis was a No. 5 overall pick by the former Colorado Rockies and a former Vancouver Canucks general manager.
Previous ranking: 20
Points percentage: .500
All-Star: Thatcher Demko
Demko is one of only three California-born goaltenders to have played in the NHL (John Blue and Collin Delia are the others), and the San Diego native is the winningest of them all with 51 career victories entering Tuesday night.
Previous ranking: 29
Points percentage: .433
All-Star: Alex DeBrincat
DeBrincat was the second-youngest Blackhawks player (after Jeremy Roenick) to record a hat trick; he was 19 when he pumped in three goals on Nov. 27, 2017, against Anaheim.
Previous ranking: 25
Points percentage: .389
All-Star: Jack Hughes
Hughes was housemates with William Nylander as a kid after his family moved to Toronto from Florida so his dad Jim could work for the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate. Nylander had just been drafted eighth overall by the Leafs, and Hughes studied Nylander’s every move while they lived under the same roof.
Previous ranking: 27
Points percentage: .356
All-Star: Jordan Eberle
Eberle scored 216 goals as a 9-year-old in Hockey Regina’s Tier 1 novice league — in only 60 games!
Previous ranking: 26
Points percentage: .422
All-Star: Claude Giroux
Giroux was once an avid (and apparently rather good) bowler. He participated in tournaments frequently until high school, when they started interfering with Giroux’s burgeoning hockey career. A choice had to be made and, dare we say, Giroux made the right one.
Previous ranking: 28
Points percentage: .389
All-Star: Rasmus Dahlin
Dahlin was the youngest player (16) to ever dress for Sweden at the IIHF World Junior Championships. In that 2016 showcase, Dahlin also became the youngest Swede in tournament history to record a point.
Previous ranking: 30
Points percentage: .400
All-Star: Brady Tkachuk *
Tkachuk got into so many heated mini-stick battles with brother Matthew growing up that their father, NHL great Keith, had to keep drywall-patching compound on hand at home — and have boxing gloves on standby for his sons to literally duke it out against one another for basement supremacy.
* Drake Batherson is injured and not going
Previous ranking: 32
Points percentage: .261
All-Star: Nick Suzuki
Suzuki eschewed the usual sports-focused schooling route of a highly touted young athlete and instead attended a private arts institution where he excelled at painting (but not calculus, he admits).
Previous ranking: 31
Points percentage: .295
All-Star: Clayton Keller
Keller grew up in St. Louis, where his minor hockey coach was Blues legend Keith Tkachuk and his longtime linemate was Keith’s son (and current Calgary Flames forward) Matthew. Keller and Matthew, who remain friends, were even invited once as kids to take a morning skate with the Blues.