The full roster for the 2008-2009 edition of the Prime Cuts, as well as some insight as to why I picked certain players over others. A list of honorable mentions is included as well…
Zach Parise – Evgeni Malkin – Martin St. Louis
Scott Hartnell – Travis Zajac – Martin Havlat
David Booth – Ryan Kesler – David Backes
Cody McLeod – Jay McClement – Cal Clutterbuck
Mike Green – Zdeno Chara
Mark Streit – Keith Ballard
Jan Hejda – Matt Greene
I made the tough choice of leaving Ovechkin off of this team. He has everything you could ever want in a hockey player, but I ultimately decided to go with Parise for a few reasons. First off, not many people saw Parise's breakout season coming. I placed a bit of an emphasis on players breaking out as opposed to already being established on this team. Second, I have always been a bit of a Parise fan and feel some level of reward for predicting he had the skills to be a 90-100 point player (at the time I even questioned my own optimism).
This team could easily and obviously have had Ovechkin on it. He is clearly the better player versus Parise, but for the reasons above I left him off. This isn’t the NHL’s First All-Star Team – it’s Angus’ Prime Cuts.
The top line center gig was also hotly contested, between Malkin and fellow Russian Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk has obvious qualities that Malkin doesn't (faceoff ability, defensive presence), but with my selection of a feisty forechecking winger like Parise on the left side and a play-making winger in St. Louis in the right side, a goal-scoring center was more appropriate. Not to discount Datsyuk's goal scoring ability at all (he is one of the best), I just consider Malkin more of a sniper. Again Datsyuk was very close to making it. At right wing, there were not many candidates. I like St. Louis because he brings the same compete level every night. Marian Hossa was in the mix, as was Jarome Iginla. But ultimately I decided for the speedy, gritty game of St. Louis. It must have been tough to come to the ice every day on that Tampa Bay team this year (yes, I know they are millionaires, but it is still the case), but M