- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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Stars forward Jamie Benn was almost the last player selected in Thursday night’s NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, but Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara decided that Benn would be the 37th player selected and not the 38th.
Benn and San Jose’s Logan Couture were the last two players left in the draft and it was Chara’s decision as to which player would be picked next and which player would be the last one left.
“It’s never easy to leave one guy standing, to be the last one,” Chara said as he made his selection. “But Jamie really deserves to be picked because he had surgery a couple days ago and he still showed up. That’s a big credit to him. So I am picking Dallas Star Jamie Benn.”
Couture, as the last player to be picked in the draft, received a car.
“It was a little bit of a win-win there. Get picked or get a car,” said Benn. “I’m happy I got picked.”
Benn said the experience was fun and a little tense.
“Coming down to the wire it was a little nerve-wracking, but fun at the same time. We’re here for a good weekend and I am looking forward to it,” Benn said. “I don’t think [where you get picked] matters. I think just getting the chance to be at an All-Star game is a pretty good honor. For Zdeno to throw out a shout out there was really nice of him.”
Chara had the first overall pick in the draft and selected Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, meaning Benn will be teammates with one of the players he was looking forward to seeing at the All-Star festivities this weekend.
“Maybe Datsyuk, he’s pretty cool. He’s a player I like to watch,” Benn said when asked earlier this week about the players he was looking forward to skating with in Ottawa. “(Claude) Giroux, (Steven) Stamkos, all the top players in this league are pretty exciting to watch and to get a chance to skate with them is pretty cool.”
Giroux and Stamkos will skate for Team Alfredsson, which is captained by Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson’s first pick and the second overall pick of the draft was his Ottawa teammate, defenseman Erik Karlsson.
The All-Star Skills competition is Saturday and the NHL All-Star Game is Sunday. The selections in Thursday’s draft are below.
NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft
The NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft as conducted by Team Chara (Captain: Zdeno Chara and Assistant Captain Joffrey Lupul) and Team Alfredsson (Captain Daniel Alfredsson and Assistant Captain Henrik Lundqvist)