NHL All-Star roster heavy on hometown Lightning

By Spectrum Sports Staff/Associated Press,
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 7:34 PM EST

The NHL's best team will be well-represented at the NHL All-Star game later this month at Amalie Arena.  Four Tampa Bay Lightning players were featured on the Atlantic Division roster announced by the NHL on Wednesday.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was voted the Atlantic Division team captain as part of the 2018 NHL All-Star Fan Vote.  He will be joined by forward Nikita Kucherov, defenseman Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy while Lightning head coach Jon Cooper will serve as the Atlantic Division's head coach in the 3-on-3 All-Star tournament to be played on Sunday, January 28th.

"It's going to be a great showcase of a hockey city,'' Stamkos said. "To be able to share that moment with them is going to be special, especially in front of our home fans who greatly deserve something like this and I'm sure we'll put on a great show.''

The four All-Star selections is the most for any team this season, and also marks the most players in team history to have been selected to an All-Star game in a single season.

Stamkos will make his 5th All-Star appearance, returning to the marquee event after playing just 17 games in the 2016-17 season.  The center currently ranks 3rd in the league with 52 points and is a career-high +19 just past the midway point of the season.

The NHL's scoring leader Kucherov will make his second straight All-Star appearance.  After setting a career-high with 85 points last season, the winger is on pace to shatter that mark this year with 60 points through his first 43 games.

Hedman will make his second All-Star appearance as well (and second consecutive).  Tampa Bay's ice time leader (25:57/game) is currently a league-best +24 and ranks 3rd amongst NHL defenseman in points.

Vezina Trophy front-runner Vasilevskiy will make be appearing in his first career All-Star game.  The goalie leads the league in shutouts (6) and wins (27).  He is just one shy of the team single-season record for shutouts and 13 shy of the single-season record for wins.

For the third straight season, the All-Star game features a three-game 3-on-3 tournament between the Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific Divisions.  The teams are competing for a $1 million winner-take-all prize pool.