Commentary

The NHL analytic All-Stars

Drafting the NHL All-Star teams with an advanced statistical approach

Updated: January 26, 2012, 5:54 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider
Daniel AlfredssonFrancois Lacasse/NHLI/Getty ImagesOttawa's Daniel Alfredsson has the first pick in the NHL analytics All-Stars draft.

When captains Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara decide which players to draft for their All-Star teams, some of it will be based on merit, while other selections will be based on good, old-fashioned peer pressure.

"Probably Erik [Karlsson]," Alfredsson said when asked who his top selection will be. "My kids wouldn't have it any other way."

In this mock draft I will take a more analytic approach, while adhering to the selection process mapped out by the NHL. That means each team will consist of three goalies (selected by the end of Round 10), six defensemen (selected by the conclusion of Round 15) and 12 forwards total.

Scoring rates, puck possession and quality of competition faced from this season will all be evaluated and incorporated into the draft order, as will other advanced metrics like a skater's PDO (summation of his on-ice shooting and goalies' save percentages) and how often he starts in the offensive zone.

First, we'll present the captains and assistant captains, then we'll proceed with the draft picks. Picks will be in order, alternating teams, and since the game is held in Ottawa, Ontario, Team Alfie will go first.

The captains

Team Alfie: Daniel Alfredsson, F, Ottawa Senators -- Alfredsson is enjoying a bounce-back year, scoring 38 points in 46 games after just 31 points (and a minus-19) last season.

Team Alfie assistant captain: Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers -- The popular choice as Vezina Trophy frontrunner, Lundqvist is enjoying a marvelous season, posting a .937 save percentage with five shutouts, fueling a 22-10-4 record.

Team Chara: Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins -- Chara is one of the NHL's biggest triple threats. He plays 25 minutes per game, including 3:03 with the man advantage and 3:13 on the penalty kill while racking up points (currently tied for ninth among blueliners in scoring).

Team Chara assistant captain: Joffrey Lupul, F, Toronto Maple Leafs -- Lupul is having an outstanding season offensively and is a point-per-game player (20 goals and 51 points in 47 games) for the first time in his career, despite facing the opposition's top players.

The draft

1. Team Alfie: Evgeni Malkin, F, Pittsburgh Penguins -- Leads the league in even-strength points per 60 minutes (3.37) and is second in EV goals per 60 (1.82), while being matched up against the opposition's top pair of blueliners each night. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is also putting him in a position to succeed, giving him about 65 percent of his starts in the offensive zone. Last time he had more than 60 percent was 2008-09, and all he did was win a Cup and the Conn Smythe and the Art Ross trophies (113 points).

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.