The NHL announced that Big Z will be one of two captains for the second annual NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft later this month. The other will be Daniel Alfredsson of the game's host Ottawa Senators.
This is a huge honor as it seems that the league will reserve one captain spot for the host's best player every year, with the other going to the most respected captain throughout the rest of the league. Last year it was Detroit's Lidstrom, who is a first ballot hall of famer. Chara and Alfredsson (along with Iginla) are tied for the lead in this year's contest making their sixth appearances as well. With Boston playing so well in the first half and coming off of a Stanley Cup, Chara is a logical choice, with the only other realistic options being Jonathon Toews of Chicago or Iginla in Calgary.
Alfredsson is likely to take teammate Erik Karlsson with his first pick, leaving Chara an opportunity to take either Tyler Seguin or Tim Thomas in the first round. The NHL Fantasy Draft was very successful last year, and has added a really cool and unique twist to the midseason classic. The idea comes from the league's marketing campaign leaning towards the game's roots in pond hockey.
Splitting up and picking sides also led to some interesting sub plots that should carry over this year as well. The Sedin twins were split up last year, but if I were Chara, I'd ensure that they'll play together this year by not picking either of them regardless of what happens. It'll be very interesting to see if Chara goes for either the Sedins or Alex Edler, the only other Canuck in the draft pool. It also showed who the least liked player in the pool was last year, Phil Kessel. (My college roommate ran into him in NH a few years ago and the distaste for Kessel seems to be warranted.) It should also be noted that Chara has a decided advantage over Alfredsson because the Sens' captain will be pressured to take the three teammates he has playing in the game, opening up some free spots for Z. I'm very interested to see how Chara plays it at the end of this month in Ottawa.
Some predicted Chara draft picks:
Seguin, Thomas: BOS