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The All-Star Ballot

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And finally we reach the point of this week of All-Star-related reading. Here I'll break down all 125 skaters (72 forwards, 33 defencemen, 20 goaltenders) on the All-Star ballot.

Anaheim Ducks

Cam Fowler - defenceman, no.4

Fowler has confirmed his place among the NHL's top blueliners. In addition to solidifying his defensive game last season and taking on more important and more numerous minutes, Fowler rebounded offensively. Fowler has 12 points (2G, 11A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Corey Perry - right winger, no.10

Perry has consistently been one of Anaheim's offensive leaders since his debut, definitely their top goal scorer. He's threatening to top his 2011 Richard-winning goal total. Perry has 20 points (14G, 6A) in 21 games. He previously represented Anaheim in the 2008, 2011, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Ryan Getzlaf - centre, no.15

Getzlaf is easily one of the NHL's most complete players. He's big and plays a physical game. As a centre, he is a top-notch playmaker and good enough defensively to earn Selke consideration. In addition, Getzlaf has developed a real scoring touch of his own, with a 31-goal season in 2013/14. Getzlaf has 23 points (7G, 16A) in 25 games. He previously represented Anaheim in the 2008 and 2009 All-Star Games.

Ryan Kesler - centre, no.17

While he isn't, and never will be, at the same heights of his 2010/11 season, Kesler is probably the closest he's come to that since then. Kesler has 18 points (6G, 12A) in 26 games. He previously represented Vancouver in the 2011 All-Star Game.

Arizona Coyotes

Keith Yandle - defenceman, no.3

Though he's been in trade rumours for a couple years, Yandle's been no worse than the no.2 defenceman for the Coyotes. Yandle has 17 points (3G, 14A) in 25 games. He previously represented Phoenix in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Shane Doan - right winger, no.19

Longtime Coyote Doan has been in decline for a few years, but his place on the ballot isn't merely throwing a bone to a soon-to-retire player. Doan has 15 points (7G, 8A) in 25 games. He previously represented Phoenix in the 2004 and 2009 All-Star Games.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - defenceman, no.23

While Yandle gets more points overall, a higher percentage of Ekman-Larsson's points come from goals. Generally, Ekman-Larsson has been better through his career on the defensive side of things. Ekman-Larsson has 11 points (4G, 7A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Games.

Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara - defenceman, no.33

Though he was probably drafted when he was because his size was too much to pass over, Chara has had a long career as one of the NHL's elite point-producing defencemen. Not so much this year, as he's struggled to produce when healthy, and missed most of the season so far. Chara has three points (2G, 1A) in nine games. He previously represented Ottawa in the 2003 All-Star Game and Boston in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Patrice Bergeron - centre, no.37

Bergeron's offensive production isn't anything to sneeze at, but it isn't exactly outstanding either. Where Bergeron's quality really shows itself is on the defensive side. He's excellent on faceoffs and the Bruins drive possession with him on the ice. Year in and year out he's a Selke candidate. Bergeron has 16 points (5G, 11A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Tuukka Rask - goaltender, no.40

Rask is easily one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. He is a major reason the Bruins have remained competitive with the entire NHL, as opposed to just the East. Though he has yet to win a Stanley Cup as the first-string goaltender, he won the Vezina Trophy in 2014. Rask has a 0.918 save % and an 11-7-1 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

David Krejci - centre, no.46

While Bergeron is a top centre and Selke candidate, Krejci gets a lot more credit, thanks in large part to his tendency to heat up come playoff time. While regarded as the more offensive-leaning centre, Krejci is a decent defensive centre in his own right. Krejci has 10 points (3G, 7A) in 11 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Buffalo Sabres

Brian Gionta - right winger, no.12

Gionta gets credit as a top offensive contributor wherever he goes, but in reality, his weak seasons outnumber his good. Firstly, he's only topped 50 points three times, all in his post-lockout years with New Jersey. Aside from an 89-point season and a 60-point, Gionta hasn't had a ton of offensive success, and he was a mediocre scorer as Montreal's captain. Even despite that and his lack of production this year, he does have decent offensive instincts. Gionta has eight points (2G, 6A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Matt Moulson - left winger, no.26

Many probably thought, once Moulson left the Islanders early in the 2013/14 season, that he would cease to produce offensively. They though wrong. Moulson still topped 20 goals and 50 points despite trades to weak Buffalo and defence-first Minnesota. He won't be a scoring leader without John Tavares at his centre, but he's proven that he's got NHL talent. He's struggled since re-joining Buffalo, but the same can be said for almost everyone playing for them. Moulson has 11 points (4G, 7A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Tyler Myers - defenceman, no.57

Myers started off his career very well, winning the 2010 Calder Trophy with over 40 points, a rare feat for blueliners. Something happened to stop that progress in its tracks. Myers' offensive totals have dropped in each of his subsequent seasons. While even Chara wasn't a top defenceman in his earliest years, the 6'8" Myers is nearly 25 years old and has been trending downward, which is disconcerting. Still, he is easily the best defenceman Buffalo has in terms of past results, current talent, and future upside. Myers has five points (1G, 4A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Calgary Flames

Jonas Hiller - goaltender, no.1

Hiller's final years in Anaheim were plagued by bouts with vertigo and overshadowed by the performances of newcomers. He has more-or-less alternated starts in Calgary. Hiller has a 0.913 save % and a 9-6-1 record. He represented Anaheim in the 2011 All-Star Game.

Mark Giordano - defenceman, no.5

You'd be hard-pressed to find a player who's raised his profile more than Giordano. Giordano entered the NHL between the start of their playoff drought and the start of the rebuild. He was named captain to start 2013/14 and broke out, nearly topping 50 points. Giordano has 25 points (6G, 19A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

TJ Brodie - defenceman, no.7

While Giordano's raised his profile immensely, Brodie has been right there with him being an elite performer in his own right. Brodie has 21 points (6G, 15A) in 25 games.This would be his first All-Star Game.

Carolina Hurricanes

Eric Staal - centre, no.12

Staal, the captain of the Hurricanes for the past four years, has yet to captain Carolina back to the playoffs, and hasn't hit 40 goals since taking the "C" either. What's easy to forget though is that Staal has remained a top offensive player and legitimate no.1 centre. Staal has 15 points (6G, 9A) in 18 games. He represented Carolina in the 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 All-Star Games.

Jeff Skinner - left winger, no.53

Following his Calder-winning 2010/11 season, Skinner had a couple seasons marred by injury and mediocrity. He rebounded with his second 30-goal season last year and has been a top-6 forward for Carolina this year. Skinner has 11 points (5G, 6A) in 19 games. He represented Carolina in the 2011 All-Star Game.

Chicago Blackhawks

Duncan Keith - defenceman, no.2

Keith is one of the NHL's elite point producers. After winning the Norris Trophy in 2010, Keith strung together a few average seasons, but won a second Norris with a 61 point season in 2014. While known for offence, he uses good mobility to defend just as well as he produces. Keith has 15 points (5G, 10A) in 24 games. He represented Chicago in the 2008 and 2011 All-Star Games.

Brent Seabrook - defenceman, no.7

While Keith gets all the credit as a top defenceman, Seabrook is there as his top running mate. Seabrook complements Keith in every way, being more of a shooter instead of Keith's passing tendencies, and playing a physical game rather than Keith's mobility-driven style. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Patrick Sharp - left wing, no.10

Sharp is surrounded by talent in Chicago, but I'd hazard that Sharp is the best player Chicago has at scoring goals, with the rest of the roster leaning more towards playmaking or two-way play. That being said, Sharp is as good as his teammates on the defensive side. Seabrook has 14 points (5G, 9A) in 24 games. He represented Chicago in the 2011 All-Star Game.

Jonathan Toews - centre, no.19

Toews is hands-down one of the NHL's best centres. While he surprisingly hasn't been a top-10 point producer in any of his seasons, he is one of the NHL's best two-way centres, if not the best. Toews has 19 points (10G, 9A) in 24 games. He represented Chicago in the 2009 and 2011 All-Star Games.

Corey Crawford - goaltender, no.50

Though Crawford isn't been in the conversation with some of the other elite NHL netminders, he has been at the very least good enough not to hurt Chicago's chances of competing for a Stanley Cup. Crawford has a 0.929 save % and a 12-5-1 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Patrick Kane - right winger, no.88

Move over Datsyuk, we've got a new stickhandling whiz. Kane can score, but his top talent his puck-movement skills. Kane has 23 points (10G, 13A) in 24 games. He represented Chicago in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Colorado Avalanche

Semyon Varlamov - goaltender, no.1

Varlamov may be down statistically from last year, his team performing much worse than last year, but he's still performing well in terms of individual statistics, and has been one of Colorado's few bright spots so far. Varlamov has a 0.918 save % and a 4-5-4 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Matt Duchene - centre, no.9

Duchene has been somewhat inconsistent in terms of production from season to season, this year being one of the down years. Even so, Duchene is consistently among Colorado's top performers, even in down years. Duchene has 17 points (8G, 9A) in 25 games. He represented Colorado in the 2011 All-Star Game.

Jarome Iginla - right winger, no.12

For a long time, Iginla has been one of the top performers in the NHL. From 2001/02 to 2011/12, Iginla topped 30 goals each year. He also hit that mark in 2014. Iginla has 15 points (4G, 11A) in 25 games. He represented Calgary in the 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Nathan MacKinnon - centre, no.29

MacKinnon, as a first overall pick, had high expectations going into last season. He met those expectations by topping 60 points and winning the Calder Trophy. The fact that he's nearly on pace to match last season's production on a more anemic Avalanche team this year is proof that MacKinnon's a star. MacKinnon has 18 points (5G, 13A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Gabriel Landeskog - left winger, no.92

Though he didn't actually suit up as captain until January 2013, Landeskog was named captain in the summer of 2012, months removed from winning the Calder Trophy, and holds the record for youngest player to be named captain. Landeskog has 14 points (7G, 7A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Jack Johnson - defenceman, no.7

Johnson has been an average offensive producer in recent years, and the advanced stats suggest a very bad defender and a bad decision-maker, but Johnson is still paradoxically a point-producer for Columbus. Johnson has 10 points (1G, 9A) in 21 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Brandon Dubinsky - centre, no.17

Dubinsky has been out all season with a lower-body injury. He is on the ballot on the strength of his 2013/14 campaign, which saw him reach 50 points for the second time in his career as he was a major leader of his team toward their first playoff victory. Dubinsky has zero points in zero games. He slots in as the no.2 centre when healthy. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Ryan Johansen - centre, no.19

Despite finishing with 33 goals and 30 assists last season, Johansen was the centre of an attempt by the Blue Jackets to lowball him. They managed to reach a deal before the season started, and he's paid dividends. Johansen has 25 points (9G, 16A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Scott Hartnell - left winger, no.43

One of the top picks of the 2000 draft is having a bit better a year than anticipated. The self-deprecating power forward has produced as a top line winger after being acquired from Philadelphia, setting a pace for over 50 points. Hartnell has 14 points (5G, 9A) in 24 games. He represented Philadelphia in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Sergei Bobrovsky - goaltender, no.72

Bobrovsky played well for Philadelphia in 2010/11, but they burned bridges with him by signing Ilya Bryzgalov and giving him the bulk of the games. Bobrovsky was ultimately traded, and Philadelphia's loss has been Columbus' game. Bryzgalov was bought out after two seasons, jumped from team to team, and is now out of the NHL. Bobrovsky is a top NHL netminder, even if Columbus is sucking this year, and won the Vezina in his first year with them. Bobrovsky has a 0.910 save % and a 6-8-1 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn - left winger, no.14

Benn is one of the game's complete forwards. He has top goal scoring and playmaking ability, can play any forward position, and is a leader, being named captain for only his fifth season. Benn has 23 points (8G, 15A) in 24 games. He represented Dallas in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Kari Lehtonen - goaltender, no.32

Lehtonen had a bit of a reputation in Atlanta as an injury-prone netminder. He has been a workhorse, a quality netminder, and more durable since being traded to Dallas. He helped Dallas to the playoffs last season. Lehtonen has a 0.905 save % and a 9-5-5 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Jason Spezza - centre, no.90

Spezza, despite years of faithful service as Ottawa's top centre, was maligned for inopportune injuries and his offensive preference. He didn't even need Ottawa's non-playoff finish in 2013/14 to turn people against him as a first-year captain. Needless to say, he wanted out. He followed teammate Ales Hemsky to Dallas. Spezza got off to a slow start, but has kept pace with Dallas' stars. Spezza has 19 points (4G, 15A) in 24 games. He represented Ottawa in the 2008 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Tyler Seguin - centre, no.91

I think it's safe to put to rest the Taylor vs Tyler argument. While Taylor Hall has been great for Edmonton, Tyler Seguin has been better in nearly every way. He can play any position well but is an elite centre, score goals and set up linemates, is over a point-per-game player, and has been very durable in his career. Seguin has 31 points (18G, 13A) in 24 games. He represented Boston in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Detroit Red Wings

Pavel Datsyuk - centre, no.13

Datsyuk is arguably the NHL's most talented player. With a nose for the net, the ability to make teammates better, and Selke-winning defensive ability, Datsyuk has been the subject of highlight reels and YouTube compilations thanks to his trademark deking ability. He's on pace to top 40 goals despite having been out with a groin injury a lot. He's that talented. Datsyuk has 15 points (9G, 6A) in 13 games. He represented Detroit in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Gustav Nyquist - right winger, no.14

When he was finally allowed to break through last year, Nyquist rewarded the patience of the Red Wings organization and its fans by scoring 28 goals in 57 games, a similar pace to Pavel Bure during his time with Vancouver. Though he's more known as a playmaker, Nyquist has unleashed the sniper within. Nyquist has 15 points (11G, 4A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Jimmy Howard - goaltender, no.35

Despite being looked at by many as a mediocre goaltender bolstered by a strong defensive team, Howard has had far more good seasons than bad, and is far from a liability. Howard has a 0.919 save % and a 11-4-4 record. He represented Detroit in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Henrik Zetterberg - left winger, no.40

Zetterberg gets overshadowed some by Datsyuk, but Zetterberg has been just as important to Detroit's success. He can play centre or left wing, as he often does. Earlier in his career he was an elite goal scorer, but in more recent years has reinvented himself as a defensive winger, but is still one of Detroit's offensive leaders. A more vocal leader, Zetterberg succeeds Nicklas Lidstrom as the team captain. Zetterberg has 23 points (5G, 18A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Niklas Kronwall - defenceman, no.55

Questions surrounded Kronwall following Nicklas Lidstrom's retirement about how well he'd handle his playing time. So far, he has. While well-regarded for his punishing open-ice hits, Kronwall wouldn't be the player he is without his offensive contribution, right up there with other top two-way defencemen. Kronwall has 16 points (4G, 12A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - left winger, no.4

Hall was the first overall pick in 2010, and while he arguably wasn't the best choice to go first, Hall has been far from a bad pick. While frequent injuries are a concern, Hall is easily the best forward Edmonton has. Of his top line, he is the only one who has continued to trend upwards, rather than stall or regress. He also brings the physical element. Hall has 16 points (8G, 8A) in 19 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Jordan Eberle - right winger, no.14

Eberle has regressed steadily since his 2011/12 season. Last season he scored 0.81 points-per-game and is scoring 0.65 this year. Still, he fills Edmonton's top line as its pure goal scorer. Eberle has 16 points (5G, 11A) in 24 games. He represented Edmonton in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Justin Schultz - defenceman, no.19

Schultz approached the end of the 2012 college season as one of the most in-demand free agents. Opting not to sign with his draft team, the Ducks, he signed with the young group in Edmonton. While his first season, in which he scored over half-a-point-per-game, was his best in that respect, he's still scoring over 0.40 this year. That being said, the Oilers fanbase has had a low opinion of him for, what else, being offensive and not hitting. Schultz has 10 points (2G, 8A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - centre, no.93

Nugent-Hopkins is on pace to finish with over 50 points. This is actually a problem, considering he's also on pace to top 80 games, and topped 50 in his injury-shortened season. If he was improving, he'd be in the 65 point range. He's still no.1 centre material though. Nugent-Hopkins has 16 points (5G, 11A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Florida Panthers

Roberto Luongo - goaltender, no.1

Luongo's reputation took a beating following the 2011 season. He lost the Stanley Cup Final in Game 7, and what ensued was a first-round playoff exit in 2012 and a first-round sweep by San Jose in 2013. He was embroiled in a goalie controversy that lasted beyond Cory Schneider going to New Jersey, until he was traded to Florida this past spring. He's been excellent for the Panthers, though it's up in the air how much longer he can keep it up. Luongo has a 0.927 save % and a 7-5-5 record. He represented Florida in the 2004 All-Star Game and Vancouver in the 2007 and 2009 All-Star Games.

Brian Campbell - defenceman, no.51

Campbell is one of the NHL's top minute munchers, and is also overshadowed considerably among NHL blueliners. He doesn't score much, but gets a lot of assists. Since a 53-point campaign in 2011/12, he has started to slow down. Campbell has seven points (1G, 6A) in 22 games. He represented Buffalo in the 2007 and 2008 All-Star Games, Chicago in the 2009 All-Star Game, and Florida in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Los Angeles Kings

Drew Doughty - defenceman, no.8

It can be almost frustrating see Doughty get a mediocre ~35 points every season, but Doughty's an elite defender. He plays big minutes in LA, is an intelligent puck-mover, and is fast, as demonstrated whenever he rushes up ice with the puck. If he could do what he's been doing and return to the 60-point territory he was at in his second season, then he'd be a Norris shoo-in. I doubt it will ever happen because he's neither interested in Norris Trophies or points. Party pooper. Doughty has 13 points (2G, 11A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Anze Kopitar - centre, no.11

Though Kopitar has struggled this season, every year he's relied on to drive the Kings' offence. In addition to having goal scoring and playmaking ability, Kopitar has begun to earn Selke considerationas one of the NHL's top two-way centres. Kopitar has 10 points (5G, 5A) in 21 games. He represented Los Angeles in the 2008 and 2011 All-Star Games.

Marian Gaborik - left winger, no.12

Gaborik's main skill throughout his career has been his goal scoring, even in his lengthy career with the defence-first Lemaire-coached Wild. With three 40-goal seasons to date, it's been enough for GMs to take a risk on the injury-prone winger. Last season, he scored 0.84 points-per-game after being traded to Los Angeles and helped them win the Stanley Cup. Gaborik has eight points (4G, 4A) in 15 games. He represented Minnesota in the 2003 and 2008 All-Star Games and the Rangers in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Justin Williams - right winger, no.14

Williams has been playing for several years on a star-studded Kings squad, with stars like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Marian Gaborik. Still Williams plays wherever he's needed and gets 40-50 points, and has a reputation as a playoff performer. Williams has 11 points (5G, 6A) in 23 games. He represented Carolina in the 2007 All-Star Game.

Jonathan Quick - goaltender, no.32

Quick may not have won any Vezina Trophies, but he's perfectly happy with his two Stanley Cups. He's been a huge factor in those victories, considering the Kings barely scrape into the playoffs with their overall-low-scoring offence. Quick has a 0.929 save % and a 10-5-4 record. He represented Los Angeles in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Jeff Carter - centre, no.77

Unlike Los Angeles' other forward stars, Carter is actually on pace for his best season in a Kings uniform. Like Gaborik in 2014, his addition via trade in 2012 was just what the Kings needed to spark their offence and win a Stanley Cup. He's lately been centreing a duo of youngsters on "That 70's Line." Carter has 18 points (7G, 11A) in 24 games. He represented Philadelphia in the 2009 All-Star Games.

Minnesota Wild

Mikko Koivu - centre, no.9

Koivu is a top centre who has been somewhat unlucky with frequent injuries. At age 31, he's unlikely to be more than a 50-point scorer, and is having one of the worst offensive years of his career. Still, he's the no.1 centre and has earned consideration as a good defensive player. Koivu has nine points (3G, 9A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Zach Parise - left winger, no.11

On pace for over 30 goals and 70 points, Parise has adjusted to playing for Minnesota. He's currently scoring a point-per-game like the super-expensive winger Minnesota paid for. Parise has 18 points (9G, 9A) in 18 games. He represented New Jersey in the 2009 All-Star Game.

Ryan Suter - defenceman, no.20

Suter's been an ice-time leader for all of his time in Minnesota. He regularly tops 40 points, is a reliable defender, and plays with an efficiency that allows him to average nearly a half-hour of icetime per night. While I'd suggest the Wild tick down his icetime a little bit so as to not wear him down in the final part of the season and negatively impact his possession numbers, at the moment he's a plus-possession player. Suter has 13 points (1G, 12A) in 23 games. He represented Nashville in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Thomas Vanek - left winger, no.26

After a 2013/14 season in which Vanek raised his stock scoring nearly a point-per-game with the Islanders, only to drop it down with a weak playoff with Montreal. He had a slow start early this season, but is on pace to top 50 points, which is decent. He needs to tick up his goal scoring output to what it's been in the past. Vanek has 14 points (2G, 12A) in 23 games. He represented Buffalo in the 2009 All-Star Game.

Darcy Kuemper - goaltender, no.35

With one goalie chronically injured and breaking down, the other sick because of medication side effects, Kuemper was practically handed a spot as Minnesota's no.1 goaltender. When Josh Harding got injured during the preseason, Minnesota was forced to concede a one-way deal to Kuemper. They have been rewarded for it, as Kuemper has emerged as one of the NHL's top young goaltenders. Kuemper has a 0.911 save % and a 10-7-0 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Montreal Canadiens

Tomas Plekanec - centre, no.14

Plekanec has rebounded from a couple of down years, pacing for nearly 60 points. He's also begun to get credit for his defensive contributions, the Habs nearly breaking even in terms of puck possession with him on the ice. Plekanec has 18 points (8G, 10A) in 26 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Carey Price - goaltender, no.31

Though it's become very risky in recent years taking a goalie with a high pick, Price has paid off well. He has emerged as one of the NHL's top goalies, and the Canadiens, as demonstrated when he went down last playoff, are lost without him. Price has a 0.921 save % and a 14-5-1 record. He represented Montreal in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Max Pacioretty - left winger, no.67

Pacioretty is an unusual player for Montreal. While most of Montreal's offensive players lean towards playmaking and are small or small-ish finesse players, with the bigger, tougher guys generally being less talented bruisers, Pacioretty is a somewhat physical player, being second in hits to Alexei Emelin, and a natural goal scorer. Pacioretty has 20 points (12G, 8A) in 26 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

PK Subban - defenceman, no.76

Speaking of big and talented offensive players, Subban is another such player for Montreal. He's a plus-possession player with a physical game and high point-producing potential. He earned a spot on the 2014 Canadian Olympic team thanks to his all-around game. Subban has 16 points (6G, 10A) in 26 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Andrei Markov - defenceman, no.79

It was expected after several years of knee problems that Markov wouldn't get back to form. Markov has defied those expectations, returning to being a top producer for Montreal and, despite being more of a playmaker, becoming the first defenceman other than the "Big 3" from the 1970s dynasty teams to reach 100 career goals. Markov has 12 points (3G, 9A) in 26 games. He represented Montreal in the 2008 and 2009.

Nashville Predators

Shea Weber - defenceman, no.6

While his possession numbers have been a weak spot in recent years and his Predators have been mediocre in that time, Weber is considered an elite defenceman. He's a big guy who defends well, and is one of the best goal scorers among defencemen. Weber has 15 points (6G, 9A) in 23 games. He represented Nashville in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 All-Star Games.

James Neal - left winger, no.18

Who else thought Neal would go back to 20-goal territory once he left the pair of top centres playing with him in Pittsburgh? I did. He's been on pace to top at least 30 goals all season, and if he can get out of his current funk, he can go back to pacing for 50 goals and 20 assists. Neal has 14 points (9G, 5A) in 23 games. He represented Pittsburgh in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Pekka Rinne - goaltender, no.35

Rinne lost last season with an infection on a surgically operated hip. His return has made a huge difference for Nashville, and the Predators have been leading the division with his help. Rinne has a 0.933 save % and a 16-3-1 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Roman Josi - defenceman, no.59

Like Weber, Josi's possession numbers since he became a top-pairing defender haven't been stellar, but his offensive production has increased, and he got 40 points last year. He's at the very least keeping pace with Weber, rather than being dragged along. Josi has 12 points (3G, 9A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

New Jersey Devils

Mike Cammalleri - left winger, no.23

Cammalleri, since leaving Calgary the first time, dropped significantly in production. While his 40-50 points during his Montreal/Calgary 2 career was more because of injury than ineffectiveness, 0.70 points-per-game is worse than 1.00. While he's still around 0.70 this year, he's on pace for over 40 goals, a huge boon to a post-Kovalchuk Devils offence. Cammalleri has 14 points (10G, 4A) in 18 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Patrik Elias - centre, no.26

Elias is having the worst offensive season of his career since his 1997/98 rookie season, setting a pace for just under 40 points and posting a Corsi % just under 50. Still, Elias is a veteran with a long history of elite production. Elias has 11 points (2G, 9A) in 24 games. He represented New Jersey in the 2000, 2002, and 2011 All-Star Games.

Cory Schneider - goaltender, no.35

The most notable thing about Schneider this season is that he started the first 20 games of the season, breaking the Devils record for most consecutive season-opening starts set in 2002/03 by Martin Brodeur. He performed poorly to start off the year, but his numbers have improved lately. Schneider has a 0.915 save % and a 9-10-3 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Jaromir Jagr - right winger, no.68

Jagr topped 60 points for the first time since his 2011 return in his first year with the Devils. This year, he's at his lowest scoring rate since then, 0.65 points-per-game. He's still been driving the Devils offence this season. Jagr has 15 points (4G, 11A) in 24 games. He represented Pittsburgh in the 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 All-Star Games, Washington in the 2002 and 2003 All-Star Games, and the Rangers in the 2004 All-Star Game.

New York Islanders

Kyle Okposo - right winger, no.21

Setting a pace for over 70 points, Okposo has cemented himself as a top-line power forward. He's been playing on a line with John Tavares, which has helped, but he wouldn't be getting as many points as he is without talent of his own. His goal scoring is down from last year, but Tavares is the line's heavy-duty scorer. Okposo has 21 points (5G, 16A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Jaroslav Halak - goaltender, no.41

Halak got off to a weak start to open the season, getting a number of wins, but with poor sub-0.900 save percentage. He's recovered in that respect. Though he has a reputation as a lesser goalie helped along by strong defensive teams, it's common knowledge in these parts how independent save percentage is of team performance. Halak actually is a good goalie. Halak has a 0.926 save % and a 10-4-0 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Johnny Boychuk - defenceman, no.55

Boychuk is an example of a defensive defenceman who positively influences puck possession. He took on second-pairing minutes with Boston and got a reputation as a decent power play because of a hard shot. Since being traded to the Islanders at the start of the year, Boychuk has played a more integral role, both defensively and offensively, and is 17th in defenceman scoring. Boychuk has 14 points (2G, 12A) in 21 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

John Tavares - centre, no.91

Since being drafted first overall in 2009, Tavares has been an elite centre. He's excellent with the puck, and despite not being a great skater, scores plenty of goals and assists. He's nearly on pace for 40 goals this year. Tavares has 23 points (10G, 13A) in 24 games. He represented the Islanders in the 2012 All-Star Game.

New York Rangers

Martin St. Louis - right winger, no.26

How many short undrafted players are there that remain productive throughout their whole career? That's the case with St. Louis, who has managed to keep a roughly 0.80 point-per-game pace since being shipped to the Rangers. All that despite being 39. If he plays in the All-Star Game, it would likely be his last. St. Louis has 20 points (10G 10A) in 24 games. He represented Tampa Bay in the 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2011 All-Star Games.

Ryan McDonagh - defenceman, no.27

Though still described as not naturally offensive, McDonagh finished last season with over 10 goals and 40 points, better than plenty of offensive defencemen. He was named captain to open the season. If he can make another jump in his production, he can challenge for a Norris Trophy. McDonagh has six assists in 13 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Henrik Lundqvist - goaltender, no.30

Lundqvist proved he was an elite goaltender when he won the 2012 Vezina Trophy and performed well in 2013/14 despite a mandatory equipment shrink. A problem of late for Lundqvist has been slow starts to seasons, with seven of his first eight starts, consecutively no less, resulting in sub-0.900 save percentages. He's recovered more recently. Lundqvist has a 0.905 save % and a 9-7-3 record. He represented the Rangers in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Rick Nash - left winger, no.61

Nash entered the season with many doubters. He'd already been traded after a weak season in Columbus, and scored only 0.60 points-per-game. This season he's on pace for the best season of his career, setting a pace for 57 goals and 89 points. Let's hope he can keep it going. Nash has 26 points (16G, 10A) in 24 games. He represented Columbus in the 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 All-Star Games.

Ottawa Senators

Bobby Ryan - right winger, no.6

From when Ryan played his rookie season in 2008/09, Ryan scored at least 30 goals in four consecutive seasons. Sadly for him, he hasn't finished or set pace for 30 since then. In fact, at his current rate, he's set to drop below 20. He's still relied on, however, as one of Ottawa's top offensive players, and is pacing for 50 points. Ryan has 13 points (5G, 8A) in 21 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Craig Anderson - goaltender, no.41

Anderson has run hot and cold in recent years. He had a decent 2011/12 season, was a potential Vezina candidate before going down with injury in 2012/13, and then failed miserably all season in 2013/14. He's back to form this season, keeping Ottawa in the playoff race despite inconsistent performances from the team's offensive stars. Anderson has a 0.932 save % and a 5-5-3 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Erik Karlsson - defenceman, no.65

Karlsson went from a 40-point sophomore season to winning the Norris Trophy with a 78-point season. While many think he was undeserving, upon second thought, he couldn't have gotten that many points without meeting defence's ultimate goal, regaining the puck. That's why he was deserving. He's pacing to top 50 points this season, down from seasons past, but still high for Ottawa and defencemen league-wide. Eriksson has 17 points (6G, 11A) in 23 games. He represented Ottawa in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Philadelphia Flyers

Wayne Simmonds - right winger, no.17

Simmonds, the gritty top-sixer acquired from Los Angeles, surprised with a career-high 60 points last season. He has played this season on the top two lines and set pace for 54 points and a tie of his career-high 29 goals. Simmonds has 15 points (8G, 7A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Claude Giroux - centre, no.28

While he's got some scoring chops, Giroux's best trait is his excellent playmaking ability. He had a slightly down year last season, but is on pace this year for a career-high 96 points. Giroux has 27 points (7G, 20A) in 23 games. He represented Philadelphia in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Mark Streit - defenceman, no.32

Despite being in his mid-30s, Streit has managed to continue being a quality point producer, which has helped ease the pain of losing two top defencemen in three years. He's not known for his defensive game, but is a 40-point player. Streit has 13 points (4G, 9A) in 23 games. He represented the Islanders in the 2009 All-Star Game.

Jakub Voracek - right winger, no.93

Voracek has been impressive lately. He followed up a nearly point-per-game season in 2012/13 with a decent, if unextraordinary, 62 point season. This year, he's kept pace with Sidney Crosby and is on pace for well over 100 points. This is his big breakout. Voracek has 32 points (9G, 23A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Chris Kunitz - left winger, no.14

Kunitz is the poster boy for coattail-riders in the NHL. He's been propelled to All-Star candidacy thanks to playing on the wing of Sidney Crosby. It is worth mentioning, however, that A) Crosby doesn't magically have chemistry with whoever lines up with him (eg. 2014 Olympics), and B) Kunitz scored 60 points with Anaheim in 2006/07 and followed that with two 50 point seasons. So he's actually got a fair bit of skill in his own right. Kunitz has 20 points (9G, 11A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Kris Letang - defenceman, no.58

Let's hope Letang can stay healthy this season. So far he's on pace to exceed 60 points. His gross production in past seasons has been mediocre, redeemed by his scoring rate. Now that he hasn't missed a game this season, his offensive ability has shown on the stat leaderboards. Letang has 18 points (4G, 14A) in 22 games. He represented Pittsburgh in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Evgeni Malkin - centre, no.71

On pace for 104 points, Malkin is on pace for one of the best seasons of his career. Proof of his quality as an offensive player is that that would be his fourth-best season. Malkin's best season was when he led the NHL with 113 points. Malkin has 29 points (11G, 18A) in 23 games. He represented Pittsburgh in the 2008, 2009, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Sidney Crosby - centre, no.87

The best player in the NHL is back to form, as he's not only producing like he usually does, but is also on pace for a full 82-game season for the first time in his career, his career high being the 81 from his 2006 and 2010 seasons. Funny thing is that his 1.50 points-per-game rate is the fourth-highest of his career. Crosby has 33 points (9G, 24A) in 23 games. He represented Pittsburgh in the 2007 All-Star Game.

San Jose Sharks

Joe Pavelski - centre, no.8

He's not on pace for the 41 goals and 79 points he got last season, but is still on pace to top 30 and 60. One of Pavelski's assets has been his ability to lineup literally anywhere in the lineup, scoring line or fourth line, centre or wing. Pavelski has 20 points (10G, 10A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Patrick Marleau - left winger, no.12

While Marleau's on pace for the second-lowest scoring season of his career post-lockout, he's still on pace for over 60 points. Even in his mid-30s, he's known for his speed, making the Canadian Olympic roster in 2014 without teammate Joe Thornton. Marleau has 20 points (6G, 14A) in 25 games. He represented San Jose in the 2004, 2007, and 2009 All-Star Games.

Joe Thornton - centre, no.19

Thornton is on pace for a rebound in goal scoring numbers, even if his assist totals would be uncharacteristically low, lower than in all but his first four seasons. Thornton has 21 points (7G, 14A) in 25 games. He represented Boston in the 2002, 2003, and 2004 All-Star Games, and San Jose in the 2007, 2008, and 2009 All-Star Games.

Antti Niemi - goaltender, no.31

While he won a Stanley Cup in 2010, Niemi has come under fire since then in San Jose for his inconsistencies. While he's struggled with the Sharks in the playoffs, he's at least a top regular season goaltender. Niemi has a 0.914 save % and an 8-7-3 record.This would be his first All-Star Game.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - defenceman, no.44

Even though Vlasic is a defensive defenceman who hasn't topped 30 points since 2009, he is one of the NHL's elite defencemen and teams are in quite the pickle when he's out. He's one of the best at puck possession and puck movement, and was a dark horse addition to the Canadian Olympic team. He could be a dark horse addition to the All-Star team this season. Vlasic has six points (2G, 4A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Brent Burns - right wingerdefenceman, no.88

I entered the season insisting that Burns was more effective as a winger than as a defenceman, and that he'd be back to getting just above 40 points, rather than challenging for 60 like he did last year. On pace for a career-high 65 points and a plus-possession player, I'm singing a different tune these days. I'm thinking if he keeps up his scoring, he could be a Norris-candidate. Burns has 19 points (7G, 12A) in 25 games. He represented Minnesota in the 2011 All-Star Game.

St. Louis Blues

Alexander Steen - left winger, no.20

Steen is on the ballot mostly on the strength of last season's performance, when he topped 30 goals and 60 points for the first time in his career. Chalk that up to inflated shooting percentage. He's only topped 20 goals twice more, and only topped 50 points one other time. Still, he's on pace for over 50 points this year, pretty good for a defensive-leaning winger, so he's not entirely undeserving to be on the ballot. Steen has 15 points (5G, 10A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Kevin Shattenkirk - defenceman, no.22

Overshadowed some by Alex Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk got some recognition when he was named to the American Olympic team last season. Currently, he is on pace to top 60 points, which would be a great improvement on multiple 40-plus seasons. Shattenkirk has 18 points (2G, 16A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Paul Stastny - centre, no.26

Stastny was a yearly shoo-in for 70-80 points in his early career. Once 2010/11 rolled around, he declined some, falling below the 60-point mark, and not getting back until last season. While he was one of the big prizes of free agency this past summer, Stastny has missed a lot of time with injury and struggled to get going offensively. He has the ability and is only 28, so he can rebound. Stastny has seven points (3G, 4A) in 16 games. He represented Colorado in the 2011 All-Star Game.

Alex Pietrangelo - defenceman, no.27

Contrasting Shattenkirk, Pietrangelo scored 51 points in his last two full seasons, but is on pace for fewer than 50 this season. Despite that, he's still among the better two-way defencemen in the NHL, and is among the top scoring defencemen so far and the no.1 blueliner in St. Louis. Pietrangelo has 13 points (2G, 11A) in 24 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

David Backes - centre, no.42

Earlier in his career, Backes, a two-way power forward, could be relied on for 30 goals and 30 assists. He hasn't topped both since 2010/11, and is nowadays more of a 20-20 guy as he's shed the offensive responsibility to other players, taking on more and more of a defensive workload. Backes has 11 points (7G, 4A) in 23 games. He represented St. Louis in the 2011 All-Star Game.

TJ Oshie - right winger, no.74

Despite last year scoring 60 points, Oshie is only on pace for 28 this season. He really needs to get on track offensively, even if he and his linemates, Backes and Steen, are on a checking line. He's on the ballot on the strength of last season. Oshie has six points (2G, 4A) in 17 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Ryan Callahan - right winger, no.24

Callahan topped 50 points in 2011/12, and it seemed like that was the high point for him. That assessment wasn't refuted by a poor 2013/14 season. Playing on a line with Steven Stamkos this season, Callahan is on pace for a point-per-game and over 40 goals. Callahan has 21 points (11G, 10A) in 20 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Ben Bishop - goaltender, no.30

At 6'7", Bishop is one of the NHL's largest players, much less goaltenders. He's not just a big guy though, he's emerged as a top goaltender since he left Ottawa and Craig Anderson's shadow. Arguably the biggest reason for Tampa Bay's sweep by Montreal last playoff was Bishop being injured. Bishop has a 0.917 save % and a 15-3-2 record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Victor Hedman - defenceman, no.77

How's this for bizarre? Hedman has only played seven games this whole season, but is on pace for nearly 90 points. Granted, several defencemen opened the year with highly-inflated scoring rates and Hedman missed over a month, making it even less likely he'll keep it up. Even so, he topped 50 points last year, which is still great for a defenceman. Hedman has 10 points (3G, 7A) in seven games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Steven Stamkos - centre, no.91

So far, the only seasons in which Stamkos hasn't topped 90 points were his uninspiring rookie season in 2008/09, the lockout-shortened 2012/13, and a 2013/14 season lost to a leg injury. He's right back to flirting with 60 goals and 100 points in his first full season as the Lightning captain. Stamkos has 29 points (15G, 14A) in 25 games. He represented Tampa Bay in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Dion Phaneuf - defenceman, no.3

Phaneuf has been maligned throughout his stint as Toronto's captain. All that despite being their best point-producing defenceman in terms of overall ability and handles tougher minutes than any other Leafs defenceman can be relied on for. Speaking of, he's back on pace for just over 40 points. Maybe a decent offensive year can make fans think better of him. Phaneuf has 11 points (1G, 10A) in 23 games. He represented Calgary in the 2007 and 2008 All-Star Games and Toronto in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Joffrey Lupul - left winger, no.19

Lupul scored over 20 points and 67 points in 66 games in 2011/12, cementing him as a key piece in the Leafs offence. He fell to only 44 in three more games last season. He's only been scoring 0.30 points-per-game, which is horrible, injury or not. Lupul has five points (3G, 2A) in 11 games. He represented Toronto in the 2012 All-Star Game.

James van Riemsdyk - left winger, no.21

In his third season with the Leafs, van Riemsdyk is on pace for his second straight 30+ goal season. When with Philadelphia, he was regularly only a 40-point player. He seems to have become the only member of the Leafs who isn't hated by anyone in the Leafs fanbase. Van Riemsdyk has 19 points (9G, 10A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Phil Kessel - right winger, no.81

Kessel is pacing for over 40 goals for the first time in his career. Even though he's not great defensively, his positive impact on offence is greater than his negative impact on defence. Leafs fans should stop complaining. His performances, as well as developments with young players in Boston, have made it more of a debate as to whether Toronto won the trade that brought Kessel in, but I don't think you could say that they lost the trade. Kessel has 25 points (11G, 14A) in 23 games. He represented Toronto in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Vancouver Canucks

Radim Vrbata - right winger, no.17

A poor scorer in Colorado, Carolina, Chicago and Tampa Bay, Vrbata gave the impression that the Coyotes were the only team he could produce for. Thankfully for him and the Canucks, that isn't the case, and he's setting a pace for 38 goals and 68 points, career highs in both categories. Vrbata has 18 points (10G, 8A) in 22 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Daniel Sedin - left winger, no.22

While he's a bit more fragile than his brother Henrik, Daniel has been a top goal scorer. He's struggled in that area this season, but he's still set to rebound in terms of overall points. Sedin has 21 points (4G, 17A) in 24 games. He represented Vancouver in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.

Alexander Edler - defenceman, no.23

While Edler's on pace for only marginal improvement over his weak season last year, Edler's had good puck possession numbers. He'll have it easier reaching the All-Star Game if returns to offensive form. Edler has eight points (3G, 5A) in 24 games. He represented Vancouver in the 2012 All-Star Game.

Ryan Miller - goaltender, no.30

Miller has returned to being an elite goaltender in Vancouver. His last few seasons in Buffalo ended in April, and he was bad for a defensively-superior St. Louis team in last year's playoffs. Miller has a 0.911 save % and a 15-4-0 record. He represented Buffalo in the 2007 All-Star Game.

Henrik Sedin - centre, no.33

Henrik is arguably a better player than Daniel. He has leadership qualities that got him the captaincy, is tougher and more durable, more defensively capable, and good at setting up teammates. Not only is he set to outproduce Daniel, but he's also on pace to outscore him. Sedin has 22 points (6G, 16A) in 24 points. He represented Vancouver in the 2008, 2011, and 2012 All-Star Games.

Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin - left winger, no.8

After several years in which the Capitals employed a defensive system and he played on wing, in which time three coaches left, Ovechkin's reputation has morphed from elite goal scorer and franchise player to defensive liability and coach killer. Thing is, he's back to 40-50 goal territory, a plus-possession player, and has performed to head coach Barry Trotz's expectations, so I don't really see a problem. I'd bet he's a lock for the All-Star Game. Ovechkin has 21 points (12G, 9A) in 23 games. He represented Washington in the 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 All-Star Games.

Nicklas Backstrom - centre, no.19

Backstrom is back to form, having been playing the full schedule, scoring nearly a point-per-game, and dishing the puck to an also-returned-to-form Alex Ovechkin for the past three seasons. Backstrom has 24 points (5G, 19A) in 23 games. He represented Washington in the 2009 All-Star Game.

John Carlson - defenceman, no.74

Carlson has emerged as the Capitals' top defenceman. He's on pace for nearly 50 points and has also been a good defender for Washington. Carlson has 15 points (2G, 13A) in 23 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Winnipeg Jets

Andrew Ladd - left winger, no.16

While earlier in his career he was more of a checker and grinder, Ladd emerged with the Thrashers/Jets franchise as a quality scoring winger. He's eclipsed 50 points in each of his full seasons with the team and is on pace to do so for a fourth time. Ladd has 16 points (8G, 8A) in 25 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Ondrej Pavelec - goaltender, no.31

Though he's dropped off significantly from his 2010/11 season, Pavelec has been performing well overall this season. His recent run of good play is likely unsustainable, but it's been enough to put him on the All-Star ballot. Pavelec has a 0.919 save % and an 8-8-2-record. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Dustin Byfuglien - defencemanright winger, no.33

Byfuglien is definitely on the ballot thanks to the strong performances of seasons past. While he had two 50+ point seasons as a defenceman in 2010/11 and 2011/12, and scored 34 of his 56 points last season before a move to right wing, 10 of his 22 points as a forward coming when on the power play, on which he plays the point, he's been played as a winger at even strength, which has hurt his cardinal and advanced numbers. Byfuglien has nine points (4G, 5A) in 25 games. He represented Atlanta in the 2011 All-Star Game.

Toby Enstrom - defenceman, no.39

While his offensive prowess, finesse game, and small stature have earned Enstrom as an offence-only defensively-weak player, Enstrom is arguably Winnipeg's best defender. His offensive production has slipped without his usual partner Byfuglien, but he's still a 30+ point player. Enstrom has nine points (1G, 8A) in 22 games. This would be his first All-Star Game.

Check back soon and there'll be a follow-up listing everyone who isn't on the ballot, who, in my opinion, could reasonably be on the ballot.