SAN JOSE – Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres and two-time defending champion Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers are among the entrants in the Fastest Skater competition for the All-Star Skills Challenge, the NHL announced Friday afternoon. Sabres winger Jeff Skinner will be in the Puck Control event.
The six-event challenge in SAP Center begins at 9:30 EST and will be televised by NBCSN.
Eichel and McDavid will be joined by rookies Elias Pettersson of Vancouver and Miro Heiskanen of Dallas, 2018 Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders, Arizona's Clayton Keller and Kendall Coyne of the gold medal-winning U.S. women's Olympic team. Each skater will be timed for one full lap around the rink; there is no head-to-head racing.
Eichel finished third last year after a short bobble at the start of the race. McDavid won it in 13.454 seconds. Winners in each event earn a $25,000 prize.
Skinner's event will also feature Pettersson, South Buffalo native Patrick Kane of Chicago, Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux, Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele and Toronto's John Tavares.
The NHL's description is as follows: It is a single-round timed event that includes three skills: (1) Stickhandling, where a skater controls a puck through a series of ten pucks in a straight line; (2) Cone Control, where a skater controls a puck through a series of eight cones in a zig-zag formation; and (3) Gates, where a skater approaches each gate and is required to shoot or otherwise guide the puck through the lit rung of the gate. Following the gates, time stops when the puck is shot into the game net. Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next skill.
Eichel and Skinner will join all skaters in the Save Streak event, where the eight goalies will vie to make the most consecutive and most total shootout saves.
The NHL has announced that Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby will not participate due to the flu but is expected to play in Saturday's All-Star Game. Participants in the other Skills Challenge events are:
- Premier Passer: Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes; Thomas Chabot, Ottawa Senators; Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers; Roman Josi, Nashville Predators; Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks; Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues; Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche; Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers
- Hardest Shot: Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks; John Carlson, Washington Capitals; Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets; Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Accuracy Shooting: Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings; Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning; Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins; Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs; Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils; David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins; Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks; Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets