Thursday night was the draft for the NHL All-Star game, and it wasn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world. I guess when you don’t allow your players to drink, it’s not as fun as it once was. Who knew? Sidney Crosby ended up being Nathan MacKinnon’s first pick in the draft, which is hardly a surprise, but the agreement MacKinnon made with Quinn Hughes to lock that down is pretty impressive.
In the Ontario Hockey League, Calum Ritchie, coming off a dominant month, was honored by the league, and then went back to work later that evening.
All that and more in this Friday edition of Evan’s Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
Nathan MacKinnon was named the #1 star of January. If this sounds familiar, it’s because he was named the #1 star of December as well.
CHN has a correspondant in Toronto for the All-Star game who is talking with some of the players. Mike Stephens, who some of you may know, is working on pieces after speaking to both Georgiev and MacKinnon, so look for those soon.
You can get a subscription to CHN+ for $29.99 a year with the code “evan10” and get access to the + content on every site in the network. In addition to the + content, everything will be ad-free, which is the biggest perk.
MacKinnon Fleeces Hughes
The NHL was correct in going back to the draft, but there have got to be better ways to do it. It wasn’t entertaining to watch on television, the players didn’t look excited to be there, and the final four players were just assigned teams so that no one would be the last pick. Hopefully the skills competition and the games are better than what we saw.
MacKinnon admitted he didn’t prep at all for the draft, but he did make one deal to assure his best bud, Sidney Crosby, would be there when he picked. And I have to say, it’s a pretty smart deal. A fleecing, some might say.
Quinn Hughes of Team Hughes, which had the first pick in the draft for the All-Star Game, said Nathan MacKinnon, who had third pick, said they weren't allowed to take Sidney Crosby.
In exchange, MacKinnon's team was agreed not to select Brock Boeser.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) February 2, 2024
As for his full team, here you go. He seemed particularly excited to get some grit on his squad, and seemed to really want Kirill Kaprizov. Naturally, the Avalanche fellas kept the family together, and drafted Alexandar Georgiev. The actual NHL All-Star game will be televised on ABC on Saturday at 1 PM MST.
Obvious that you want this lineup. 🎶
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 2, 2024
Ritchie Honored In OHL
Nathan MacKinnon had 26 points in 12 games during the month of January, so Avalanche first rounder Calum Ritchie decided to match him with 26 points of his own. Sure, it’s the OHL and not the NHL, but pretty impressive, and it earned him an honor.
On Thursday, the OHL honored him by naming him the Player of the Month.
Oshawa Generals' Cal Ritchie has been named OHL's Player of the Month for January.
— Oshawa Generals (@Oshawa_Generals) February 1, 2024
Later that evening, Ritchie started February strong, picking up points on four of Oshawa’s five goals in their win. He’s now up to 51 points in 29 games, and is third in the OHL with 1.76 points-per-game.
Like I mentioned the other day, the plan is for me to speak to him next week. Currently working with Oshawa to lock that down, so something to look forward to on CHN.
National Hockey Now
Could Evgeni Malkin ever play for another NHL team? Assessing his value.
Scott Laughton was available over the summer, and it appears the Flyers are listening again. Unfortunately, they may have waited a little too long, as he’s not playing at the same level this season.
Could the Canadiens get that first rounder for Sean Monahan after seeing the Lindholm deal?