A few days ago, the NHL released the rosters for the 2017 NHL All-Star Game. Just as with last season, each division gets their own team, made up of six forwards, three defencemen, and two goaltenders. Essentially, each conference gets a standard (aside from having four rather than two or three goalies) roster. Now, if there’s one thing the All-Star Game’s fans and its opponents can agree on, it’s that it’s totally meaningless. So if it’s a meaningless game, why does it have to adhere to the actual rules the NHL has set out for roster construction? Maybe there’d be a pinch more enjoyment if every year’s roster announcement didn’t come with debate over which players were snubbed and which players didn’t deserve to be there. Perhaps a touch more if every team’s fans got to see at least one of their favourite team’s players participating, something that hasn’t happened since 2007 (believe me, I checked). So in addition to listing the final rosters here, I will also name an additional six forwards, three defencemen, and one goaltender I’d like to see in the All-Star Game. The assumption would be that each mini-game would be extended to a half-hour divided into three 10-minute blocks (as opposed to 20 minutes cut down the middle) in order to accomodate the additional three-man units. I have at least one additional player for every team. Every player is listed with their current scoring totals and career All-Star appearances.
Victor Hedman (Defence-77-Tampa Bay) - 38 PTS (7G, 31A) in 47 games
Hedman, on pace for a career year offensively, has been one of the underachieveing Lightning’s only bright spots this season. This will be Hedman’s first All-Star appearance.
Erik Karlsson (Defence-65-Ottawa) - 39 PTS (7G, 32A) in 47 games
Even though he is having a somewhat slower season than he is accustomed to, Karlsson is still second in scoring among defencemen. Karlsson represented the Senators in the 2011, 2012, and 2016 All-Star Games.
Nikita Kucherov (Right Wing-86-Tampa Bay) - 44 PTS (19G, 25A) in 43 games
Kucherov scored 30 goals last season and led the Lightning in points. This season, he has been the team’s offensive leader, with the next highest-scoring forward trailing by 12 points. This will be Kucherov’s first All-Star appearance.
Brad Marchand (Left Wing-63-Boston) - 49 PTS (21G, 28A) in 52 games
A pest with solid scoring ability since he entered the NHL, Marchand found a new gear offensively last season, scoring 37 goals and 61 points. He is on pace for nearly 80 points on the season. This will be Marchand’s first All-Star appearance.
Auston Matthews (Centre-34-Toronto) - 39 PTS (23G, 16A) in 47 games
Matthews began his NHL career in memorable fashion as he scored four goals in his first NHL regular season game. He has spent the entire season neck-and-neck for the rookie scoring lead. This will be Matthews’ first All-Star appearance.
Frans Nielsen (Centre-51-Detroit) - 26 PTS (10G, 16A) in 49 games
Former career-Islander Nielsen joined the Red Wings after a stretch including two of the most productive seasons of his career, a 58-point season in 2014 and a 52-point season in 2016. Nielsen, despite a drop in production, is third on the team in scoring. This will be Nielsen’s first All-Star appearance.
Kyle Okposo (Right Wing-21-Buffalo) - 31 PTS (15G, 16A) in 47 games
Like Nielsen, Okposo spent his career up to this season with the Islanders, enjoying two of the most productive seasons of his career during the last three seasons. Okposo scored 69 points in 2014 and 64 points in 2016. Okposo currently leads the Sabres in scoring. This will be Okposo’s first All-Star appearance.
Carey Price (Goaltender-31-Montreal) - 22-10-5, 0.921 Save%, 2 SO in 37 games
Price won the Vezina Trophy in 2015, earning his reputation as one of the NHL’s best goaltenders, if not the best. Many have argued during the mid-2010s that Price is the best player in the NHL, period. He certainly made a case by following up his Vezina win with the Habs’ trainwreck in 2016 and their resurgence this season. Price will captain the Atlantic Division. Price represented the Canadiens in the 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015 All-Star Games.
Tuukka Rask (Goaltender-40-Boston) - 24-12-4, 0.918 Save%, 5 SO in 41 games
Given how badly the Bruins have been in recent years, with three consecutive non-playoff finishes, it’s easy to forget that Rask is a good goaltender. He is coming off a 0.915 Save% season that is actually a bit weak by his standards. This will be Rask’s first All-Star appearance.
Vincent Trocheck (Centre-21-Florida) - 34 PTS (18G, 16A) in 50 games
Trocheck has had a solid rise in the NHL. He scored a disappointing 22 points in 50 games in 2015, and 53 points in 76 last season. This year, he leads the Panthers, admittedly with their usual stars laid up with injuries, in scoring and is on pace for 30 goals. This will be Trocheck’s first All-Star appearance.
Shea Weber (Defence-6-Montreal) - 31 PTS (12G, 19A) in 50 games
Montreal’s trade to acquired Weber was heavily criticized for a number of reasons. While some of those reasons, such as his current age, will inevitably come to the fore in future seasons, this season, Weber has been solid. His offensive production comes with a 51.2 Corsi% at 5v5. Weber represented the Predators in the 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016 All-Star Games.
Ben Bishop (Goaltender-30-Tampa Bay) - 11-11-3, 0.905 Save%, 0 SO in 26 games
While Bishop has struggled this season, the large goalie has posted save percentages of 0.924, 0.916, and 0.926 in the past three seasons. Ultimately, I decided Bishop would be the best fit from the Lightning if the NHL were to add extra spots for each team. Bishop represented the Lightning in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Jake Gardiner (Defence-51-Toronto) - 23 PTS (6G, 17A) in 47 games
Last season saw Gardiner score a career-high 31 points. That was tied with his total from 2014 and one more than he posted as a rookie in 2012. This season, things seem to have changed, as he is on pace for 40 points. Gardiner hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Mike Hoffman (Left Wing-68-Ottawa) - 35 PTS (17G, 18A) in 42 games
Ottawa had three forwards I felt would be a good fit in the All-Star Game, but I could only pick one while still keeping a healthy number of spots open for other teams. I decided on Hoffman, the only one out of himself, Kyle Turris, and Mark Stone who is on pace to eclipse both the 30-goal and 60-point marks. Hoffman represented the Senators in the 2015 All-Star Game.
Ryan O’Reilly (Centre-90-Buffalo) - 29 PTS (9G, 20A) in 38 games
Last season, his first with the Sabres, O’Reilly scored 60 points on bad Sabres team. This season, O’Reilly is on pace for almost as much as last, 55 points specifically. O’Reilly is in third on the team in scoring, but only one point behind second place in ten fewer games. O’Reilly represented the Sabres in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Max Pacioretty (Left Wing-67-Montreal) - 39 PTS (21G, 18A) in 50 games
In non-lockout seasons, Pacioretty has topped 30 goals and 60 points in four straight seasons. Still managing 30 and 64 in a down year last season. On pace for a modest resurgence in goals, Pacioretty still doesn’t get an ASG mod. Pacioretty hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
David Pastrnak (Right Wing-88-Boston) - 38 PTS (20G, 18A) in 45 games
Last season, Pastrnak suffered the sophomore slump in a big way, scoring one fewer point than his rookie season in five more games. No such problem this season, which sees Pastrnak second on the team in scoring. Pastrnak hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Rasmus Ristolainen (Defence-55-Buffalo) - 28 PTS (3G, 25A) in 48 games
Admittedly, Ristolainen’s possession numbers are atrocious, but Ristolainen is proving a solid offensive weapon. And in an All-Star Game, what else really matters? Ristolainen is on pace for 48 points after scoring 41 last season. Ristolaien hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
James van Riemsdyk (Left Wing-25-Toronto) - 39 PTS (17G, 22A) in 47 games
Rightfully, a lot of press has been devoted to the slew of high-octane rookies the Maple Leafs have been playing with this season. Lost in the shuffle is van Riemsdyk, who is tied for the team scoring lead and is on pace for 30 goals and 68 points. Van Riemsdyk hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Thomas Vanek (Left Wing-62-Detroit) - 31 PTS (12G, 19A) in 37 games
I’m a little surprised that Vanek wasn’t Detroit’s All-Star representative. While his torrid early-season offensive pace has slowed, he is still second on the team in points, two behind first place in 12 fewer games. Vanek represented the Sabres in the 2009 All-Star Game.
Keith Yandle (Defence-3-Florida) - 25 PTS (3G, 22A) in 50 games
I considered having 2014 first-overall pick and two-time All-Star Aaron Ekblad represent the Panthers in my extra list, but Yandle has been the better performer offensively. Yandle represented the Coyotes in the 2011 and 2012 All-Star Games.
Cam Atkinson (Right Wing-13-Columbus) - 46 PTS (24G, 22A) in 48 games
With Evgeni Malkin injured, Atkinson was named as an injury replacement. Atkinson has been a solid 40-50 point producer in past seasons, but this season has seen him dominate offensively. This will be Atkinson’s first All-Star appearance.
Sergei Bobrovsky (Goaltender-72-Columbus) - 28-9-2, 0.929 Save%, 3 SO in 39 games
Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy in 2013 and led the Blue Jackets to the playoffs in 2014. Despite that, the last two seasons have been bad for Bobrovsky. This season has been a resurgence for Bobrovsky, who has been a major part of Columbus’ success this season. This will be Bobrovsky’s first All-Star appearance.
Sidney Crosby (Centre-87-Pittsburgh) - Captain - 55 PTS (28G, 27A) in 42 games
It’s obvious that Crosby would be named to an All-Star Game. He is second in the NHL in scoring, four points behind first place in nine fewer games. Crosby will captain the Metropolitan Division. Crosby represented the Penguins in the 2007 All-Star Game.
Justin Faulk (Defence-27-Carolina) - 21 PTS (9G, 12A) in 41 games
It would be difficult to call Faulk’s current season a bounceback. The 38 points he is on pace for would be more than last season’s 37, but he’d do so in 75 games versus 64. Still, Faulk is one of the Metropolitan Division’s more talented defencemen, slump aside. Faulk represented the Hurricanes in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games.
Taylor Hall (Left Wing-9-New Jersey) - 31 PTS (11G, 20A) in 40 games
Hall is in his first season with the Devils. While he isn’t scoring at an incredible pace, or even at his career-average, he leads the team in points despite having played 10 fewer games than the team as a whole. Hall represented the Oilers in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Braden Holtby (Goaltender-70-Washington) - 24-8-4, 0.930 Save%, 6 SO in 38 games
Holtby is one of the NHL’s top goaltenders. Last season, Holtby was one of the NHL’s top workhorses and won the Vezina Trophy. This season, he is in 11th in games played and one of the top regulars in save percentage. Holtby represented the Capitals in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Seth Jones (Defence-3-Columbus) - 24 PTS (7G, 17A) in 42 games
Many will take issue with the Jacket’s incredible rookie defenceman Zach Werenski not being named to the All-Star Game, but he has years ahead of him to do that. For now, Jones is leading the Blue Jackets in TOI by nearly two minutes and producing offence at a level he didn’t reach in Nashville. This will be Jones’ first All-Star appearance.
Ryan McDonagh (Defence-27-NY Rangers) - 28 PTS (2G, 26A) in 48 games
McDonagh’s offensive output has been a little lacklustre the past couple seasons. The third-year captain is on pace for a career-high 47 points while continuing to toil away as one of the Rangers’ few solid defencemen. McDonagh represented the Rangers in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Alex Ovechkin (Left Wing-8-Washington) - 45 PTS (23G, 22A) in 49 games
Ovechkin is one of the greatest goal-scorers in NHL history. Despite the low-scoring nature of today’s NHL, Ovechkin scored 32 goals during the lockout-shortened season, and has followed that with seasons of 51, 53, and 50 goals. Even though he’s scoring less this season, he’s still on pace for 38. Ovechkin represented the Capitals in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2015 All-Star Games.
Wayne Simmonds (Right Wing-17-Philadelphia) - 38 PTS (21G, 17A) in 50 games
Last season saw Simmonds scored 60 points in a season for the second time in his career, and for the second time in three seasons. It also saw Simmonds score 32 goals, his first over the 30-goal mark. One of the NHL’s most well-known power forwards, Simmonds is on pace for career-highs of 34 goals and 62 points. This will be Simmonds’ first All-Star appearance.
John Tavares (Centre-91-NY Islanders) - 40 PTS (19G, 21A) in 47 games
Two seasons ago, Tavares scored 38 goals and 86 points. While he scored less last season, he still reached 33 goals and 70 points. He’s been slumping at points this season, but is back on pace to match last season’s total. Tavares represented the Islanders in the 2012, 2015, and 2016 All-Star Games.
Nicklas Backstrom (Centre-19-Washington) - 47 PTS (13G, 34A) in 49 games
Backstrom is actually on pace to eclipse teammate Alex Ovechkin in points this season. While last season’s breakout star Evgeny Kuznetsov has peformed poorly this season, Backstrom is as productive as ever, on pace for 79 points. Backstrom represented the Capitals in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Claude Giroux (Centre-28-Philadelphia) - 40 PTS (11G, 29A) in 50 games
I initially didn’t have Giroux on this list, but the premise is doubling the size of the existing All-Star rosters, so when Evgeni Malkin was injured and Cam Atkinson was tagged to replace him, I added Giroux to the list. Even though the 66 points he’s on pace for would be his worst total since 2010 not counting the lockout season, it’s still 66 points and Giroux is still a good player. Giroux represented the Flyers in the 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016 All-Star Games.
Phil Kessel (Right Wing-81-Pittsburgh) - 46 PTS (15G, 31A) in 48 games
Kessel was predicted to become a 50-goal man, or at least 40-goal man, when he joined Sidney Crosby with the Pens. While Kessel has been spending more time with the Pens’ stars and seen his point totals go back up, Kessel still isn’t back to 30-goal territory. Instead, it seems his playmaking skills are coming to the fore. Kessel represented the Maple Leafs in the 2011, 2012, and 2015 All-Star Games.
Chris Kreider (Left Wing-20-NY Rangers) - 34 PTS (18G, 16A) in 43 games
Kreider is the only member of the Rangers on pace for at least 30 goals on the season. While he is in fifth on the team in scoring, he is only four points off the team lead in six fewer games. Kreider hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Nick Leddy (Defence-2-NY Islanders) - 27 PTS (8G, 19A) in 46 games
Leddy continues his rise in point production this season. After a respectable run with Chicago, Leddy has moved from 31 points to 37 and from 37 to 40. This season, Leddy is on pace for 47. Leddy was a no-brainer pick for this list. I wanted at least one player from each team, and Leddy was easily the next-best Islander at his position to pick. Leddy hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Matt Niskanen (Defence-2-Washington) - 26 PTS (4G, 22A) in 48 games
Niskanen scored 46 points for the Penguins when Kris Letang saw an extended absence in 2013/14, but has only scored 31 and 32 points in the seasons that followed. I picked Niskanen for this list because John Carlson is injured, but Niskanen is on pace for 44 points and deserves some All-Star consideration. Niskanen hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Cory Schneider (Goaltender-35-New Jersey) - 14-15-7, 0.910 Save%, 2 SO in 37 games
The Devils have been bad the past few seasons, but that has only belied Schneider’s strong play in that time. While this season has been a low point for Schneider, he has done better than a 0.920 save percentage in each of his past seasons as a Devil. Schneider represented the Devils in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Justin Schultz (Defence-4-Pittsburgh) - 35 PTS (8G, 27A) in 48 games
I will admit Schultz is on this list because of Kris Letang’s injury. Even so, I picked Schultz instead of some other team’s defenceman because he’s on pace for 60 points. While averaging fewer than 20 minutes a night. Schultz hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Jeff Skinner (Left Wing-53-Carolina) - 35 PTS (17G, 18A) in 47 games
Carolina’s 2010 first-rounder has bounced back from season-to-season inconsistency this year. He is on pace for 29 goals and 60 points. Skinner currently leads the Canes in scoring. Skinner represented the Hurricanes in the 2011 All-Star Game.
Jakub Voracek (Right Wing-93-Philadelphia) - 44 PTS (14G, 30A) in 50 games
I agree with Simmonds going to the All-Star Game as a likely 30-goal scorer. The second Flyer I’d pick for the All-Star Game with expanded rosters would be Voracek. After falling from 81 points to 55 last season, Voracek is on pace for 72 points. Voracek represented the Flyers in the 2015 All-Star Game.2015 - Philadelphia
Evgeni Malkin (Centre-71-Pittsburgh) - 54 PTS (22G, 32A) in 47 games
On pace for 38 goals and 93 points, Malkin was named to the All-Star Game, only to wind up with an injury with only one game left before the break. Malkin represented the Penguins in the 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2016 All-Star Games.
Corey Crawford (Goaltender-50-Chicago) - 18-11-3 record, 0.918 Save%, 2 SO in 32 games
While his numbers haven’t been as good this season as in past seasons, Crawford has still performed well, helping to keep the Blackhawks contending despite the decimation of their roster yet more cap crunches. Crawford represented the Blackhawks in the 2015 All-Star Game.
Devan Dubnyk (Goaltender-40-Minnesota) - 27-8-3, 0.936 Save%, 5 SO in 38 games
Dubnyk wound up as a Vezina finaist in 2015, and despite a quiet 2016, is one of the NHL’s best goaltenders this season. Dubnyk represented the Wild in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Patrick Kane (Right Wing-88-Chicago) - 49 PTS (15G, 34A) in 51 games
Kane led the NHL with 106 points last season, scoring 46 goals. While the 79 points he is on pace for this season are much less than that, that’s still excellent production. Kane represented the Blackhawks in the 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016 All-Star Games.
Duncan Keith (Defence-2-Chicago) - 33 PTS (4G, 29A) in 51 games
While injuries are partly to blame, Keith hasn’t reached 50 points since 2014. After seasons of 45 and 43 points, Keith is on pace for 53 points. Keith represented the Blackhawks in the 2008, 2011, and 2015 All-Star Games.
Patrik Laine (Right Wing-29-Winnipeg) - 40 PTS (22G, 18A) in 44 games
Laine currently sits in first place in rookie point scoring, one point ahead of second place. He also sits in second in goals, one goal behind first place. That first-place player, Auston Matthews, has taken three more games than Laine to get where he is, and Laine is where he is despite having not opened his NHL career with a four-goal night. This will be Laine’s first All-Star appearance.
Nathan MacKinnon (Centre-29-Colorado) - 33 PTS (11G, 22A) in 46 games
Though on pace for an unimpressive 59 points, MacKinnon leads the Avalanche in points this season. Perhaps MacKinnon was picked for the ASG so that an Avalanche not at risk of being traded before the All-Star Game would be their representative. This will be MacKinnon’s first All-Star appearance
Tyler Seguin (Centre-91-Dallas) - 47 PTS (18G, 29A) in 50 games
Very strong seasons with the Stars have been derailed in the last two seasons due to injuries. With 50 games under his belt this season, Seguin may just stay healthy this season. He scored 37 goals and 77 points, and 33 goals and 73 points, in the past two seasons, respectively. Seguin represented the Bruins in the 2012 All-Star Game and the Stars in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games.
PK Subban (Defence-76-Nashville) - Captain - 18 PTS (7G, 10A) in 33 games
Subban has had the misfortune this season of having to get used to new systems and teammates while also dogged by injuries like last season. Despite being on pace for 36 points, a career-low, the 2013 Norris winner was voted into the All-Star Game thanks to his established standard of performance and charismatic personality. His massive charity pledge last year certainly doesn’t hurt as far as getting votes is concerned. Subban will captain the Central Division. Subban represented the Canadiens in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Ryan Suter (Defence-20-Minnesota) - 30 PTS (7G, 23A) in 48 games
While his possession numbers have alarmingly plummeted since Bruce Boudreau started coaching the Wild, Suter scored 51 points last season, his first 50-point campaign, and is on pace for 51 again this season. Suter represented the Predators in the 2012 All-Star Game and the Wild in the 2015 All-Star Game.
Vladimir Tarasenko (Right Wing-91-St. Louis) - 47 PTS (21G, 26A) in 49 games
Tarasenko is proving to be a mainstay at the All-Star Game. Combining high goal totals and a knack for creative moves, he is also a mainstay on TV highlight reels, making him a very visible star for the NHL. Tarasenko represented the Blues in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games.
Jonathan Toews (Centre-19-Chicago) - 28 PTS (9G, 19A) in 42 games
Toews’ addition to this season’s All-Star Game is the most contentious for me. While I know that Toews is a good player and a three-time champion captain, and would even pick Toews for an All-Star Game using my full roster format, there is an entire list of forwards I would pick ahead of Toews in smaller formats such as the official one. Toews is on pace 49 points, when a player with as much talent, quality of teammates, and offensive zone time as he gets should be scoring more. Toews represented the Blackhawks in the 20099, 2011, and 2015 All-Star Games.
Jamie Benn (Left Wing-14-Dallas) - 41 PTS (13G, 28A) in 46 games
While Benn’s 69-point pace is less than his 87- and 89-point seasons, it’s still better than his output before the lockout. He’s an Art Ross winner and his best linemate is in, so I put Benn here. Benn represented the Stars in the 2012 and 2016 All-Star Games.
Dustin Byfuglien (Defence-33-Winnipeg) - 32 PTS (7G, 25A) in 52 games
Last season, Byfuglien topped the 50-point mark for the fourth time. While this season has seen Byfuglien average more TOI than he’s accustomed to and his play has suffered some for it, he is still on pace for 50 points again this year. Byfuglien represented the Thrashers/Jets in the 2011, 2015, and 2016 All-Star Games.
Matt Duchene (Centre-9-Colorado) - 29 PTS (15G, 14A) in 41 games
While the Colorado’s speedster hasn’t reached 70, or even 60, points since 2014, Duchene has been one of Colorado’s better forwards, scoring 30 goals and 59 points last season. His struggles this season have made Duchene trade bait. Duchene represented the Avalanche in the 2011 and 2016 All-Star Games.
John Klingberg (Defence-3-Dallas) - 27 PTS (7G, 20A) in 48 games
Last season saw Klingberg, Dallas’ breakout star the previous season, score 58 points. Unfortunately, he was snubbed from the All-Star Game. While I can understand him not getting picked this year, in a more inclusive format, I could see him getting a makeup pick. He is on pace for 45 points, so he’s still doing pretty good. Klingberg hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Artemi Panarin (Left Wing-72-Chicago) - 44 PTS (17G, 27A) in 51 games
I was surprised to see Panarin not get named to the All-Star Game. Not only did Panarin score 30 goals and 77 points to win the Calder Trophy last season, he’s on pace for 27 goals and 70 points this season, proving it wasn’t a fluke. Panarin hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Pekka Rinne (Goaltender-35-Nashville) - 19-12-6, 0.921 Save%, 1 SO in 37 games
The post-lockout years haven’t been kind to Rinne. He has missed quite a bit of time with injuries, and aside from 2015, Rinne hasn’t had a better save percentage than 0.910. That’s changing this season, with a 0.921 Save%. His performance has helped the Preds remain in the divisional top three despite struggles from offensive stars. Rinne represented the Predators in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Mark Scheifele (Centre-55-Winnipeg) - 48 PTS (22G, 26A) in 49 games
Scheifele scored 61 points and was one goal short of 30 last season. This season, he is on pace for 35 goals and 77 points. Scheifele has the whole rest of his career to be named to the All-Star Game, but I feel he deserves it this season. Scheifele hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Kevin Shattenkirk (Defence-22-St. Louis) - 33 PTS (11G, 22A) in 49 games
In each of the past two seasons, Shattenkirk has scored at a pace for over 50 points, only for injuries to hit and derail his season. This season, as talk picks up of him getting traded, Shattenkirk is on pace for 18 points in 55 games. Shattenkirk represented the Blues in the 2015 All-Star Game.
Eric Staal (Centre-12-Minnesota) - 41 PTS (16G, 25A) in 48 games
In Staal, the NHL has one of the biggest, highest-profiel reclamation projects in recent memory. A high-scoring late-2000s led to diminishing returns as the 2010s have worn on. Last season saw the lowest point as Staal scored only 39 points in 83 games. This season, he’s one point off the team lead, and leads the team in goals. He is on pace for 27 goals and 70 points. Staal represented the Hurricanes in the 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 All-Star Games.
Blake Wheeler (Right Wing-26-Winnipeg) - 41 PTS (15G, 26A) in 52 games
Last season saw Wheeler score 26 goals and a career-high 78 points. Despite that, he wasn’t named to the All-Star Game. This season, he’s on pace for a still-solid 24 goals and 65 points. Admittedly, he isn’t as deserving this season as he was last, but I still feel he is deserving. Wheeler hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Brent Burns (Defence-88-San Jose) - 51 PTS (21, 30A) in 50 games
Last season, Burns scored 27 goals and 75 points. That was very impressive, but he couldn’t seal the deal on a 30-goal, 82-point season. This year, Burns, who has somehow gotten better with age, is on pace for 34 goals and 83 points. Burns represented the Wild in the 2011 All-Star Game and the Sharks in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games.
Jeff Carter (Centre-77-Los Angeles) - 43 PTS (24G, 19A) in 49 games
Carter was acquired from Columbus in the midst of a disappointing season to help put the Kings over the top for a Stanley Cup, and while he accomplished that, his scoring left a bit to be desired, with 28 goals and 62 points being his peak output with the Kings. Carter is on pace for 40 goals and 72 points this season. Carter represented the Flyers in the 2009 All-Star Game.
Drew Doughty (Defence-8-Los Angeles) - 28 PTS (8G, 20A) in 49 games
Last season’s 14 goals and 51 points were the best offensive season Doughty has had since 2009/10, when he scored 16 goals and 59 points. The season finally got Doughty a Norris Trophy. Though he perhaps doesn’t score quite as much as his talent suggests he should, he is one of the NHL’s best defencemen, and deserves to be in the All-Star Game. Doughty represented the Kings in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games.
Cam Fowler (Defence-4-Anaheim) - 26 PTS (10G, 16A) in 51 games
Fowler has evolved over the past few seasons into an all-around shut-down guy. In that time, the offensive side of his game was neglected to improve defensively. This season, Fowler is rectifying that. He is on pace for 16 goals and 42 points. This will be Fowler’s first All-Star appearance.
Johnny Gaudreau (Left Wing-13-Calgary) - 31 PTS (11G, 20A) in 42 games
With injuries and other struggles, this hasn’t been a great season for Gaudreau. He is only on pace for 19 goals and 53 points. Last season, however, Gaudreau scored 30 goals and 78 points. Gaudreau represented the Flames in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games.
Bo Horvat (Centre-53-Vancouver) - 32 PTS (14G, 18A) in 50 games
Coming off 40 points as a sophomore, Horvat is Vancouver’s All-Star. It’s not undeserved. He is actually tied for the team scoring lead and leads the team in goals. He is on pace 23 goals and 53 points. This will be Horvat’s first All-Star appearance.
Martin Jones (Goaltender-31-San Jose) - 25-15-2, 0.916 Save%, 2 SO in 42 games
Jones was only in the NHL for two years, and as a backup at that, before he joined the Sharks. That made it so much more impressive when he backstopped them to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance. I’d say Jones could do it again, if not for the tendency for teams to not repeat Finals appearances. This will be Jones’ first All-Star appearance.
Ryan Kesler (Centre-17-Anaheim) - 39 PTS (18G, 21A) in 51 games
The last time Kesler was an All-Star, or even considered a star in general, Kesler had scored 41 goals and 73 points, won the Selke Trophy, and reached the Cup Final in 2011. Last season, a 53-point year, was the first time since then that Kesler even got 50. This season, Kesler is on pace for 29 goals and 63 points. Kesler represented the Canucks in the 2011 All-Star Game.
Connor McDavid (Centre-97-Edmonton) 59 PTS (17G, 42A) in 51 games
With 48 points in 45 games last season, McDavid would have been a lock to make the All-Star Game, but for the injury with which he missed the other half of the season. This season, McDavid leads the NHL in scoring, and is on pace for 95 points. McDavid will captain the Pacific Division. This will be McDavid’s first All-Star appearance.
Joe Pavelski (Right Wing-8-San Jose) - 42 PTS (16G, 26A) in 50 games
In the post-lockout seasons, Pavelski has finished with 41, 37, and 38 goals, placing as one of the top goal-scorers of the past few years. “Captain America” has slowed a bit this season, on pace for 26 goals and 69 points, but is still San Jose’s best forward. Pavelski represented the Sharks in the 2016 All-Star Game.
Mike Smith (Goaltender-41-Arizona) - 10-13-5, 0.917 Save%, 1 SO in 30 games
This one is bit of a headscratcher. Smith hasn’t been the greatest for Arizona in the last couple years, he hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2012, and lost the starting job to a rookie last season. However, with a 0.917 Save% in 30 games at midseason, I can accept Smith in the All-Star Game. This will be Smith’s first All-Star appearance.
Mikael Backlund (Centre-11-Calgary) - 34 PTS (14G, 20A) in 52 games
The long-underrated two-way centre actually leads the Flames in scoring. Backlund is on pace for 22 goals and 54 points. Backlund hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Logan Couture (Centre-39-San Jose) - 33 PTS (17G, 16A) in 49 games
Couture hasn’t scored his career-high of 31 goals since 2012 or his career-high of 67 points since 2015, and injuries have taken a bunch of time. Despite the issues, Couture is third on the team in scoring. I would have considered Joe Thornton, but he has only three goals, all empty-netters, so I pick Couture. Couture represented the Sharks in the 2012 All-Star Game.
Leon Draisaitl (Centre-29-Edmonton) - 46 PTS (19G, 27A) in 51 games
Draisaitl scored nine points in 37 games in 2014/15, followed by 51 points in 72 games last season. This season, Draisaitl is second on the team in scoring and first in goals. He is on pace for 31 goals and 74 points. Draisaitl hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Defence-23-Arizona) - 26 PTS (9G, 17A) in 48 games
Ekman-Larsson not being an All-Star last season is one reason to not like John Scott campaigns. Even when Scott was traded, leaving Arizona without a representative, Ekman-Larsson still wasn’t added. Ekman-Larsson went on to score 55 points, and while he is on pace for only 44 points, he is still deserving of an All-Star nod. Ekman-Larsson represented the Coyotes in the 2015 All-Star Game.
Ryan Getzlaf (Centre-15-Anaheim) - 37 PTS (7G, 30A) in 44 games
I know his scoring has been down this season and last, Getzlaf is still producing like a top centre. He is only two points short of the team lead and on pace for 12 goals and 63 points. Getzlaf represented the Ducks in the 2008, 2009, and 2015 All-Star Games.
Dougie Hamilton (Defence-27-Calgary) - 32 PTS (7G, 25A) in 51 games
Hamilton scored 42 points in a breakout season with Boston in 2014/15. He followed that up with 43 points last season. This season, still not cracking the 20 minutes average TOI mark, he is on pace for 11 goals and 51 points. Hamilton hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Anze Kopitar (Centre-11-Los Angeles) - 27 PTS (5G, 22A) in 43 games
Kopitar was coming off his best season since 2012, a 74-point season that saw him win the Selke and Lady Byng Trophies. This season, Kopitar is in a similar boat to Toews, on pace to finish with fewer than 50 points. I wouldn’t give that performance a spot in the existing format, but his generally higher standard and name recognition get him on this list. Kopitar represented the Kings in the 2008, 2011, and 2015 All-Star Games.
Ryan Miller (Goaltender-30-Vancouver) - 14-12-3, 0.920 Save%, 2 SO in 30 games
Vancouver was the most difficult team for me to come up with an extra. I considered Henrik Sedin in light of the whole 1000 points thing, but that would mean I would also have to add in Daniel, and I’m not giving two spots to a single team, especially one as out-of-sorts as Vancouver. In his three seasons with the Canucks, Miller has improved from 0.911 Save%, to 0.916, to 0.920 this season, so I picked him. Miller represented the Sabres in the 2007 All-Star Game.
Rickard Rakell (Left Wing-67-Anaheim) - 29 PTS (20G, 9A) in 40 games
A contract dispute and injury to open the season means Rakell hasn’t played as much as some other players. Which makes it more impressive that he’s on pace for 36 goals and 52 points. Rakell hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
Andrej Sekera (Defence-2-Edmonton) - 24 PTS (7G, 17A) in 49 games
Sekera broke out offensively with the Hurricanes in 2013/14 with 44 points. While his highest total since then is 30 points, he is on pace for 39 this season. He also leads the Oilers in icetime. Sekera hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.
The NHL All-Star Game isn’t meant to be taken seriously, so why do the rosters need to conform to typical rules? The rosters should be as big as this to limit the amount of snubs. This way, fan favourites and “career-achievement” type players can be in the All-Star Game without taking spots away from the absolute best.