The NHL released its roster for the 2018 NHL All-Star Game this afternoon, and a pair of Winnipeg Jets will be representing the club on January 28th in Tampa Bay.
Blake Wheeler and Connor Hellebuyck will each be making their first All-Star Game appearances, joining fellow standout players from arguably the most competitive division in the league.
Central Division (All-Star appearance)
F Patrick Kane, CHI (7th)
F Nathan MacKinnon, COL (2nd)
F Brayden Schenn, STL (1st)
F Tyler Seguin, DAL (5th)
F Eric Staal, MIN (5th)
F Blake Wheeler, WPG (1st)
D John Klingberg, DAL (1st)
D Alex Pietrangelo, STL (1st)
D P.K. Subban, NSH* (3rd)
G Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (1st)
G Pekka Rinne, NSH (2nd)
Head Coach: Peter Laviolette, NSH (3rd)
One player from each team had to be selected, which is why you see Eric Staal selected over guys like Mark Scheifele (who couldn’t have played anyway) and Vladimir Tarasenko (who should be on this team).
Blake Wheeler is currently tied for second in the NHL with 52 points, which is 14 more than the next closest Jet (Scheifele, 38). Going back to the start of the 2015-2016 season, Wheeler has 204 points in 208 games, which is fourth in the NHL behind Patrick Kane (240), Sidney Crosby (217) and Nikita Kucherov (211). The Jets captain is on a seven game point streak in which he has 11 points.
Connor Hellebuyck has been successful at every level he has played at, and this year he added the NHL to that list as his game has truly come into top form. With a record of 23-4-6, a 2.36 goals against average and a .923 save percentage, his numbers rival the best starting goalies in the game. His renaissance after a disappointing sophomore year should be one of the top stories of the season.