Earlier this season, I had a 45-minute conversation with Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson and defenseman Nate Schmidt about Star Wars.
After talking the abomination that was The Rise of Skywalker, one question I asked them submitted by a Golden Knights fan was who would Karlsson want as his linemates and Schmidt for his defense partner?
Karlsson said Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi; Kenobi for his passing and wise playmaking, and Yoda for his size and quickness (not confirmed if it was a shot at Jonathan Marchessault, but we’ll go with it). Schmidt, meanwhile, said the powerful Mace Windu would be a solid choice to his left.
As today is the all-important Star Wars Day, what better time to dust off the scouting notebook and see who could cut it on the ice? Because clearly this is the stuff we need to know.
Patient, poised and a willing playmaker. Obi-Wan is the quiet superstar. He won’t be a 100-point guy, but he can keep the puck in the offensive zone for a minute before his teammates get a quality shot. The game comes to him. At the end of the day, though, Obi-Wan isn’t afraid to take over a game like he has the high ground waiting to chop off his former padawan’s legs.
Talented, all-worldly, but a huge pain in the you-know-what. Anakin is the guy who scores 50 goals but allow 75. He’ll be a loyal team player for the first 10-15 years but he’ll snap toward the twilight of his playing days and chase a ring elsewhere. Skywalker finally gets his ring and the hero-villain role comes full circle when he retires/dies after killing Darth Sidious. If there was a LeBron James comparison on that same emotional arc, that’d be it.
The type of player you want to build your team around for the next 15-20 years. Ahsoka is a raw talent, but give her time and she can be a hybrid of Obi-Wan (playmaking and 200-foot game) and Anakin (scoring, minus the ego). She possesses the Connor McDavid-like speed that can shock the opposition and the poise to pick apart a defense. You don’t expect Ahsoka to reach superstar status, but when it happens, it’s a thrill.
Vader would make a worthwhile goalie. Original Trilogy Vader is a brick wall; doesn’t move much, sometimes looks awkward trying to make a save because the sheer thought of movement is a foreign concept, but Vader can be stellar with the glove. When he finally breaks out of looking like a stiff, Rogue One Vader where he destroys everything in sight and pitches 82 shutouts a year.
If Yoda is on the wing, dangerous he can be. At a staggering 2-foot-1, he has the presence of mind to understand everything taking place before it happens. He won’t be a net-front presence, but give him time and space and Yoda could be one of the more dangerous offensive players in hockey. The only concern re: Yoda’s size: He’d be easy to literally kick. Could he stick up for himself? Likely. Would it be an ongoing venture? Absolutely.
Having Mace Windu as a D-partner doesn’t just come with the territory of having the purple lightsaber. It’s the entire encompassing of Samuel L. Jackson destroying you with his words. Forget his Jedi skills; have you ever thought of what it’d be like to have Jules Winnfield coming at you, asking if you speak English? You can’t throw Mace Windu on the ice and come to the conclusion that he’s going to be the silent stalwart that will defend his teammates. He’s got to have an edge to him.
Unreal talent, great agility, but can he stay healthy? Maul has the ability to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition, but he’s sustained an upper-body injury here and there, raising concern about his durability. When healthy though, he’s a force. It’s also tough to decipher where you slot him in the lineup. Maul could be lethal on the wing, or be intimidating on the blue line.
A late-round prospect who’s not expected to do much, but with the right coaching can turn into a star. His ETA is a few years, so be patient with Luke. He’s the kind of player who will whiff on a breakaway his first try, but make it count given another chance. In time, Luke won’t wow you with his flashy skating ability, but his precision can make him deadly on the power play so long as he doesn’t turn off his targeting computer.
A bit of an unknown early but develops a quality shot later on. Leia could be a quality middle-six type player with the chance to score 30 goals in the right situation, but her 200-foot game seems questionable. She also develops a weird British accent for a bit; not that has anything to do with her game, but it’s weird.
A much-needed veteran presence in the locker room, but you’re unsure what value he brings. Qui-Gon is the quintessential 15-year veteran who does one or two things throughout the course of an 82-game season that make you understand why he’s still playing, but his ceiling is a bottom-six grinder. He has the exuberance of Jon Merrill playing forward; you want it all the time, but you understand the risk with such tomfoolery.
The enforcer who’s not afraid to run his mouth, Solo can do the little things well. His problem is causing too much trouble to where he ends up in the penalty box. At some point it might cost him a game misconduct. One thing is certain: He will shoot first.
The knock on Rey Not-A-Skywalker is she might have peaked too soon. She has the capability of being a 100-point player for a few years, but the drop is imminent. There’s no denying her bloodline gives her the talent, but there’s just not enough pizazz to Rey’s game. Once you get her past the ELC, it’s all downhill. It’s not even her fault; it’s the people around her (cough cough Kathleen Kennedy) that influence her bad decision making.
Kylo Ren/Ben Solo
Here’s the thing: You want to like Ben. You want to think his game will translate well. You want to think he can be like his grandfather. But he’s just ... there. He’s not a fast skater, he doesn’t have a set of skills that wows you. Best bet for him is a defensive defenseman, but even then, when he gets schooled by his near-dead uncle, you question his decision making. He might be best suited for a seventh defenseman role that doesn’t show up until late in the season.
Everyone else in the Disney trilogy
Because I can’t.
He’s so cool, but cool can only get you so far in hockey.
C-3PO and R2-D2
Try imagining these two on skates.
Flames out after two years with no immediate value after.
Darth Sidious/Chancellor Palpetine
“Oh, look at me, I can shoot lightning out of my hands and do one lightsaber duel and I’m all cool and stuff.”