5 candidates who could represent Calgary Flames at 2024 NHL All-Star Game

Who deserves to represent the Flames at the NHL’s annual all-star spectacle?

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The Calgary Flames will be focused on another opportunity to climb above .500. That has, for weeks upon weeks, been a group goal.

But shortly before they hit the ice for Thursday’s road date against the Nashville Predators (6 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan), one of their go-to guys will also be smiling about a significant individual achievement. The league is set to reveal the initial list of selections — one per team — for the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend, which is slated for Feb. 1-3 in Toronto.

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Who deserves to represent the Flames at the annual spectacle? Here are five could-be candidates:

Blake Coleman
Blake Coleman of the Calgary Flames is congratulated by his bench after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on November 24, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Blake Coleman

Coleman is the most obvious choice, and what a compliment that is. This third-line winger is currently tops on his squad with 14 goals and 27 points, and his plus-14 rating is best-of-bunch, by far. The 32-year-old also ranks among the NHL’s leaders with four shorthanded strikes, although there are not a lot of opportunities to showcase your penalty-killing prowess on all-star weekend. While Coleman, who hit the 500-game plateau on New Year’s Eve, isn’t necessarily a marquee name, he is well-respected for his heart and hustle and leadership abilities, known as one of those glue guys who does all the little things necessary to win big games. Now on pace for 30-plus goals, could he add an all-star appearance to a resumé that is highlighted by two Stanley Cup rings?

Nazem Kadri
Calgary Flames Nazem Kadri scores the OT winner against Dallas Stars goalie Scott Wedgewood at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Thursday, November 30, 2023. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Nazem Kadri

Kadri was Calgary’s lone all-star representative last winter, and he is making a strong case for a return trip. It’s hardly a coincidence that the Flames started to turn their fortunes as the 33-year-old centre snapped out of his early-season scoring funk. He averaged 0.89 points per game through November and December and, based on their preferred matchups, you can tell that opposing coaches view No. 91 as the most dangerous dude on the roster. While Kadri has done this all-star thing before, there’d be nothing ho-hum about an invite in 2024. Remember, he was born and raised in London, Ont., and spent a decade with the Maple Leafs, and he’d be darn proud to be skating among the NHL’s best in his own backyard.

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Mackenzie Weegar
Calgary Flames defenceman MacKenzie Weegar plays against the Nashville Predators at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Thursday, November 3, 2022. Gavin Young/Postmedia

MacKenzie Weegar

For all those ‘Muffin Man’ chirps, there are a lot of Flames who must be jealous of Weegar’s shooting success so far this season. Although he’s cooled off a little of late, the 29-year-old has already contributed eight buries from the blue line. Heading into Wednesday’s action, only a handful of NHL defencemen had done more lamp-lighting in 2023-24, a stat that makes him a definite candidate for what would be his first all-star shout-out. Weegar also ranks among the Flames’ leaders in blocked shots (66) and hits (54), and he would provide hilarious material if he was wearing a mic during the mid-season showcase. Better yet, though, we’d love to hear his retort when one of his teammates next bugged him about being the ‘Muffin Man.’

Jacob Markstrom
Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames in goal against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on December 21, 2023, in Anaheim, California. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Jacob Markstrom

The 33-year-old Markstrom has, at least from this vantage point, been the Flames’ best performer so far this season. And while he’s not getting enough credit around Calgary, it hasn’t gone unnoticed in the locker room. As head coach Ryan Huska summed up after Tuesday’s triumph in Minnesota: “There’s not too many games this year where you could say, ‘Marky wasn’t there.’ ” So maybe he should be there in Toronto for the 2024 NHL All-Star Game? What’s working against him is that there are a lot of deserving twine-minders and his basic stats — a 10-10-2 record, a 2.65 goals-against average and .907 save percentage — aren’t as impressive as some can claim. But according to Natural Stat Trick, Markstrom now owns the best high-danger save percentage of any regular starter. That tells you a lot.

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Chris Tanev
Calgary Flames Chris Tanev during the warm-up before taking on the Dallas Stars at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Thursday, November 30, 2023. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Chris Tanev

This is typically a weekend off for the shutdown sorts — Tanev may have already booked a tropical vacation with his family — but wouldn’t it be fitting recognition for one of the NHL’s most selfless and reliable defenders? Is it too late to add some sort of shot-blocking showdown to the skills competition? So maybe Tanev isn’t your ‘typical’ all-star, but hear us out: The 34-year-old personifies the identity the Flames are going for — steady, stingy, the opposite of me-first. Earlier this season, he blocked a slap-shot with his chin, then shrugged it off as part of his job description. The downside of an all-star nod is the Tanev-to-Toronto hype would be cranked, although you can understand why former Flames GM Brad Treliving is targeting the pending free agent as he looks to bolster the Maple Leafs’ blue line.

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