The NHL has just released its All-Star rosters for each division. Forty-four of the league’s best players have been elected, including 12 players who will be making their first appearance. All-Star weekend commences the weekend of January 27th and January 28th. The skills competition begins Saturday at 7:30 and the All-Star games start Sunday afternoon at 3:30.
The league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning are sending four players, which will be really cool as the All-Star festivities take place in Tampa Bay this year. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper will be behind the bench.
The Atlantic Division Roster (All-Star Appearance)
F Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers (1st)
F Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (1st)
F Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning (2nd)
F Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins (2nd)
F Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (2nd)
F Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (5th)
D Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings (2nd)
D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning (2nd)
D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators (5th)
G Carey Price, Montréal Canadiens (6th)
G Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, (1st)
Initial Thoughts, Snubs, Surprises
What first stands out are the four Tampa Bay selections. Four selections from a single team are the most in the league. But what are you to expect? When you have the best record in the NHL, it means your players are playing some of the best hockey! Of the selections from Tampa Bay, Andrei Vasilevskiy will be making his first All-Star appearance. He is one of three players on the roster that will be making their first appearance, along with Aleksander Barkov and Jack Eichel.
With only 11 players selected from the division, and four coming from one team, only one player from each of the remaining seven teams could be picked to fill out the roster. Now, while I think the league got it right with the tight scenarios they had, there are some snubs and surprises. Let’s look at it as if anyone could have been selected.
Carey Price was the second goaltender selected. With the way the offense has struggled in Montréal, he was the clear pick to represent the Canadiens. But it’s hard not to think about Frederick Andersen and Tuukka Rask. Andersen has the fourth most wins in the NHL this year and Rask’s goals against average ranks third. Plus, there isn’t a goaltender hotter than Rask over the last month and a half. Both goaltenders would have been selected over Price.
Now, no one is arguing about the selection of Eric Karlsson. His 0.83 points per game rank second among NHL defensemen. Some people though, might argue about his teammate Mark Stone. Stone has 18 goals and 42 points this season, and is on pace to shatter previous career highs in both categories.
Someone in the same boat as Mark Stone, is Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau. His 16-27-43 tallies this year are third most in the division behind only Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. I don’t think people should be up in arms about 40 point Aleksander Barkov getting the nod to represent the Panthers over Huberdeau, but I do think that with the years he is having, he deserves getting the accomplishment of making an All-Star team along with Mark Stone.
Atlantic over Metropolitan
Central over Pacific
Central over Atlantic