For fans of the Colorado Avalanche, it’s obvious that Nathan MacKinnon is the most valuable player in the Central Division - and among the best in the entire league. Now he’s being recognized as such. Early Thursday morning, the NHL announced the captains for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game and MacKinnon will be representing the Avalanche as the leader of the Central Division.
This will be MacKinnon’s third consecutive trip to the All-Star Game.
MacKinnon will captain the 11-man team that will compete in the 3-on-3 All-Star tournament next month. The runner up for the Hart Trophy last season, MacKinnon currently sits third in the NHL with 56 points - three behind his league-leading linemate Mikko Rantanen.
We can safely assume that Rantanen will fill one of the remaining five forward sports on the Central Division team. The 22-year-old Finn is having a breakout season with 59 points through only 37 games.
Both Rantanen and MacKinnon are set to shatter their career high for points while producing at a pace that would give them two of the best seasons in the modern NHL.
Along with MacKinnon, Connor McDavid (Pacific), Auston Matthews (Atlantic) and Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan) have been named captains for their respective divisions.
The league will fill out the remaining rosters for each All-Star team, but in a move similar to that of Major League Baseball, the fans will be given the opportunity to vote in the “last-man” for each division.
The 2019 NHL All-Star Game takes place January 26th in San Jose, California.