First off, let’s look at the rosters and the credentials of the players selected.
Steven Stamkos (Centre-91-Tampa Bay Lightning) - Captain
The captain of the Lightning is in a five-way tie for second in points at 52. Resurgent after some unfortunate injury problems, Stamkos is back to dominating offensively. Stamkos led the Atlantic Division in votes and will represent the Atlantic as their captain.
Brad Marchand (Left Winger-63-Boston Bruins)
Last season saw Marchand improve from 37 goals and 61 points to 39 goals and 85 points. Despite having played only 35 games, Marchand leads the Bruins in points with 40.
Jack Eichel (Centre 15-Buffalo Sabres)
Eichel is back on track after missing a chunk of last season with injuries. The 2015 second-overall pick leads the Sabres with 41 points.
Aleksander Barkov (Centre-16-Florida Panthers)
For the past two seasons, strong offensive performances for Barkov have been mitigated by lengthy absences due to injury. Having stated healthy so far this season, his production is reflected in his point total of 40.
Nikita Kucherov (Right Winger-86-Tampa Bay Lightning)
Kucherov leads the entire NHL with 60 points right now. He is on pace for 50 goals and 112 points and deserves his place in the All-Star Game.
Auston Matthews (Centre-34-Toronto Maple Leafs)
Matthews won the Calder Trophy last season, and has 33 points this season. He’s a standout performer on miscoached Toronto team.
Mike Green (25-Detroit Red Wings)
2014/15 may have been the only time since 2010 that Green has gotten more than 40 points, but Green reliably topped 30 in each of the last four seasons. He may not be back in his form from his 30-goal 70-point years, but he has 24 points, 11th in the East in defenceman scoring, and is on pace for his best season since 2010.
Erik Karlsson (65-Ottawa Senators)
Though Karlsson isn’t having the greatest season this year, Karlsson is still fifth among Eastern Conference defencemen and ninth among all NHL defencemen in scoring.
Victor Hedman (77-Tampa Bay Lightning)
Third among league defencemen and second in the Eastern Conference, Hedman has 33 points. Hedman was recently sidelined by injury and is expected to miss 3-6 weeks, so expect someone from another team to be named his replacement.
Carey Price (31-Montreal Canadiens)
Edmonton may be the most underperforming team relative to expectations (they’re failing despite having been projected as Cup contenders), it’s Montreal that has the most underperforming collection of players (at least McDavid and Draisaitl are doing well in Edmonton). Of the bunch, I can see Price as the best option to represent Montreal in the All-Star Game. His 0.911 Save%, while low compared to his usual performance, is sixth in the Atlantic Division among undisputed starters and 10th among undisputed starters in the entire East.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (88-Tampa Bay Lightning)
I don’t disagree with any of the players selected to the All-Star Game, but four players is a bit much more just one team. It’s why I have the extra picks in the second half of this piece. Vasilevskiy’s 0.930 Save% leads all undisputed starters in the East.
Patrick Kane (Right Winger-88-Chicago Blackhawks)
Kane is on pace for fewer points than last season after falling from 106 to 89, but the 84 he’s on pace for are still a lot of points. As Chicago’s most potent offensive forward, he’s the default pick to represent Chicago.
Nathan MacKinnon (Centre-29-Colorado Avalanche)
With 52 points, MacKinnon is one of the five players tied for second in league scoring. Obviously he’d be in the All-Star Game, especially as the representative of a team with standout performers.
Tyler Seguin (Centre-91-Dallas Stars)
Seguin leads the Stars in scoring with 40 points. He is coming off four consecutive seasons with at least 70 points, three of which saw him score at least 30 goals.
Eric Staal (Centre-12-Minnesota Wild)
Minnesota’s reclamation project has been a smashing success. Staal scored 65 points last season and is leading the team with 37 points.
Brayden Schenn (Centre-10-St. Louis Blues)
Last season saw Schenn fail to build on a strong second half to the 2015/16 season, and the summer saw him traded to St. Louis. With the Blues, Schenn has 44 points and is on pace for 30 goals and 78 points.
Blake Wheeler (Right Winger-26-Winnipeg Jets)
One of the five players tied for second in the NHL, Wheeler has 52 points, is on pace for 95 points, and is finally getting a much-deserved place in the All-Star Game.
PK Subban (76-Nashville Predators) - Captain
Rebounding from 40 points last season to 32 and a 68-point pace this season, Subban is the only defenceman to be named captain of an All-Star Team this year. He’s also the only player who isn’t already captain of an NHL team.
John Klingberg (3-Dallas Stars)
Klingberg’s 39 points are first in the NHL among defencemen, and tied for second on the Stars in scoring at all positions. It’s a major rebound after he fell from 58 to 49 points last season.
Alex Pietrangelo (D-27-St. Louis Blues)
Pietrangelo, the captain of the Blues, is breaking out offensively. He has 30 points, and is on pace for a career-high of 56. It would be his first 50-point season since 2014.
Pekka Rinne (35-Nashville Predators)
Rinne is fourth in save percentage among undisputed starters in the West with a 0.925 Save%. Last season saw Rinne backstop Nashville to the Stanley Cup Final.
Connor Hellebuyck (37-Winnipeg Jets)
With Hellebuyck participating in the All-Star Game, Winnipeg is the only one of the seven Canadian-based teams that has more than one representative. Hellebuyck has the fifth-best save percentage among undisputed starting goaltenders in the West with 0.923 Save%.
Alex Ovechkin (Left Winger-8-Washington Capitals) - Captain
Ovechkin, the captain of the Capitals, has 28 goals and is on pace for 51 goals and 89 points. Bouncing back after last season’s 33 goals and 69 points had people forecasting his immediate decline, Ovechkin was named captain of the Metropolitan Division.
Taylor Hall (Left Winger-9-New Jersey Devils)
With 42 points on the season so far, Hall is on pace for his first 30-goal season and his second 80-point year. He is easily New Jersey’s best forward, and the trade of him for Adam Larsson was easily a win for New Jersey.
Josh Bailey (Right Winger-12-New York Islanders)
With 50 points, Bailey is second on the Isles in scoring. This season is the continuation of a breakout for Bailey, who scored 56 points last season. It helps that he’s with John Tavares, but he’s taking full advantage of his placement.
John Tavares (Centre-91-New York Islanders)
Tavares is tied for seventh in league scoring with 51 points. Inflating the offensive totals of two solid players and rebounding after falling from 86 to 70 to 66 points the last two seasons. The Islanders should really look into getting him re-signed now that their arena situation has a happy ending in sight.
Claude Giroux (Centre-28-Philadelphia Flyers)
Giroux has rebounded in a huge way. In the past non-lockout seasons, he’s fallen from 93 points, to 86, to 73, to 67, to 58. It’s safe to say he’s back in form, tied for second in scoring with 52 points.
Sidney Crosby (Centre-87-Pittsburgh Penguins)
Crosby may be 28th in scoring, but he has 43 points. He has also captain the Pens to two straight Stanley Cups. Typically he refuses to play in the All-Star Game, having feigned some minor injury during the weekend every year since 2007 that he wasn’t actually injured, but last season was different. As he did play in the All-Star Game. Maybe he does it again this year.
Noah Hanifin (5-Carolina Hurricanes)
Hanifin is the lowest-scoring defenceman in either Eastern Conference division that is going to the All-Star Game. I agree with this pick, as not including him would mean an even lower-scoring Metro defenceman would be picked or a deserving forward/one from an otherwise unrepresented team would be replaced. But this is why I do this exercise every year.
Seth Jones (3-Columbus Blue Jackets)
Of the three defencemen selected to represent the Metropolitan Division in the All-Star Game this year, Jones is the highest scoring, though he’s third in the Metro overall.
Kris Letang (58-Pittsburgh Penguins)
The defencemen selected to represent the Metropolitan Division are weird. Letang is eighth in defenceman scoring in the East with 27 points, a mediocre total for an elite defenceman, and that’s coming after he missed the whole 2017 playoff.
Henrik Lundqvist (30-New York Rangers)
With a 0.924 Save%, Lundqvist is third among the East’s starters. He’s enjoying a rebound season after finishing last season with a 0.910 Save%.
Braden Holtby (70-Washington Capitals)
Holtby is eighth among undisputed starting goaltenders with a 0.917 Save%. Holtby is both skilled and a workhorse, having played at least 40 games in each of the past three seasons.
Connor McDavid (Centre-97-Edmonton Oilers) - Captain
McDavid has cemented himself as one of the NHL’s top stars, having won last season’s scoring title and MVP honours. He finds himself on a disappointing team, but he’s still 10th in scoring with 50 points. The captain of the Oilers since 2016, McDavid was voted as the Pacific Division’s captain.
Rickard Rakell (Left Winger-67-Anaheim Ducks)
Rakell broke out with 33 goals and 51 points last season despite missing 11 games. Though he isn’t the best on the team this year in terms of points per game, but he leads the Ducks in scoring with 31 points.
Johnny Gaudreau (Left Winger-13-Calgary Flames)
After falling from 78 to 61 points last season, Gaudreau has bounced back big. Already at 52 points, Gaudreau is one of five players tied for second in scoring.
Anze Kopitar (Centre-11-Los Angeles Kings)
Always a centre who performs reasonable well offensively, Kopitar has bounced back offensively under John Stevens. He is 17th in league scoring with 44 points and is on pace for a career-high 86 points.
Brock Boeser (Right Winger-6-Vancouver Canucks)
Boeser is the only rookie picked to the actual All-Star Game. Boeser leads all rookies with 22 goals and 40 points.
James Neal (Right Winger-18-Vegas Golden Knights)
I can see why Neal was the player the NHL decided to send to the All-Star Game for Vegas. He was in the 2012 and 2016 All-Star Games and is on pace for over 36 goals and 58 points.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23-Arizona Coyotes)
Ekman-Larsson fell from 55 points to 39 last season, though it’s probably safe to say he’s still Arizona’s best skater and still a big-name player.
Drew Doughty (8-Los Angeles Kings)
Doughty is another player who has benefitted from the addition of John Stevens as head coach of the Kings. Doughty had only twice topped 50 points, in 2010 and 2016, but thanks to the more offensive direction the team is going, he’s on pace for a career-high-tying 59 points. As someone who felt Doughty hasn’t had the offensive production to back up all the “best defenceman” talk and am not at all convinced his comparatively low scoring numbers are because he’s so good defensively, it’s nice to see him scoring more points.
Brent Burns (88-San Jose Sharks)
Last season, Burns scored career-highs of 29 goals and 76 points. While he’s started slow this season, he has 30 points, is on pace for 61, and is seventh league-wide, fifth in the West, and second in the Pacific in scoring.
Jonathan Quick (32-Los Angeles Kings)
With a 0.926 Save%, Quick has the second-highest save percentage among undisputed starters in the Pacific. It’s hard to argue with this pick.
Marc-Andre Fleury (29-Vegas Golden Knights)
I think this is the only pick I don’t like. I get it, he’s Vegas’ marquee player, but his 0.945 Save% is mitigated by the fact that injuries have limited him to 12 games played this season at the halfway point.
Obviously, every year the All-Star Game has a number of players deserving of the recognition snubbed. And every year, I say how the All-Star Game should have twice as many skaters. That way, there’d be room for a lot more deserving players, as well as fan favourites and players the NHL wants to keep the spotlight on, all while ensuring there’d be room for multiple players to represent each team. It’s not a serious event by any means, so why not have more players? There is at least one extra player on this list per team.
Evander Kane (Left Winger-9-Buffalo Sabres)
I’m aware everybody hates this guy, but it’s hard to deny what he’s doing this season. Sure, he’s on a line with a very good centre in Eichel, but there is a distinction between someone who merely plays on a line with a great player and someone who can take full advantage. On pace for serious new career-highs in both goals and points, Kane is the latter, and the best pick for an extra representative for Buffalo.
Dylan Larkin (Centre-71-Detroit Red Wings)
Larkin’s total of 34 points isn’t a large number to lead a team in scoring with, but that’s the case for Larkin. It’s a massive improvement considering he finished with 32 last season, and it would be worth making room in the All-Star Game so he could try and defend his title of fastest skater.
Jonathan Huberdeau (Left Winger-11-Florida Panthers)
While it makes sense for Barkov to be in the All-Star Game, being a centre, Huberdeau leads the Panthers in scoring. It’s another major scoring duo, and Huberdeau is another player who would benefit from the All-Star Game having more open roster spots.
Max Pacioretty (Left Winger-67-Montreal Canadiens)
Every player on the Canadiens is underachieving, including Pacioretty, who is now rumoured to be the next big trade. The captain is in a three-way tie for first on the team with 23 points. Pacioretty is the player I’d pick to accompany Price as Montreal’s representative because his last five non-lockout seasons ended with at least 30 goals and 60 points, even if he’s not on pace for that this season.
Mark Stone (Right Winger-61-Ottawa Senators)
Stone would make a great addition to the All-Star roster if there were more spots available. His 42 points are tied for 19th in the NHL.
Brayden Point (Centre-21-Tampa Bay Lightning)
When deciding who to pick as Tampa Bay’s extra representative in this list, I decided to look at forwards. Firstly, there’s more forward spots than defenceman spots, allowing me to choose a player but not at the expense of another team. Also, there weren’t any other All-Star defenceman for Tampa Bay. Point had 40 points in 44 games last season, but has that many in this season now.
Torey Krug (47-Boston Bruins)
For the Atlantic Division’s extra defencemen, I went the easy route and picked the top three scoring defencemen from the Atlantic that are neither already in the All-Star Game nor playing for Tampa Bay, who already have a lot of players. Of the three that meet this criteria, Krug is third with 22 points.
Keith Yandle (3-Florida Panthers)
With 23 points, Yandle is the second-highest scoring defenceman from the Atlantic Division, not with the Lightning, that isn’t already in the All-Star Game. He scored 41 points last season, 47 the year before, 52 the year before that, and 53 the year before that.
Morgan Rielly (44-Toronto Maple Leafs)
Not only does Rielly lead all Atlantic Division defencemen in scoring that weren’t named to the All-Star Game, but only Hedman has more points in the Atlantic. With 31 points, Rielly is fourth in points among defencemen in the East, making him a very glaring snub.
Frederik Andersen (31-Toronto Maple Leafs)
While I understand, and agree, with the two goalies picked to represent the Atlantic Division, Andersen is a pretty blatant snub. As the goalie with the second-highest save percentage in the Atlantic Division, Andersen is one of the kinds of players I have in mind when I talk about making the rosters larger and mini-games longer to make room.
Mikko Rantanen (Right Winger-96-Colorado Avalanche)
After scoring 41 points last season, Rantanen is scoring at a point-per-game pace, which would make him an excellent option if there were room for more representatives from each team.
Jamie Benn (Left Winger-14-Dallas Stars)
Many of the best scorers in today’s NHL are members of great scoring duos. Benn and Seguin are just one such duo. Tied for second on the Stars in scoring with 39 points, the 2015 Art Ross winner would be a lock for this year’s All-Star Game if there were more roster spots.
Filip Forsberg (Left Winger-9-Nashville Predators)
Forsberg would be my extra pick for Nashville with more available spots. Forsberg leads the team with 34 points and is on pace for 31 goals.
Jaden Schwartz (Left Winger-17-St. Louis Blues)
With 35 points in 30 games, on a pace for 31 goals, Schwartz gets one of the hypothetical extra roster spots representing St. Louis thanks to his strong production rate.
Vladimir Tarasenko (Right Winger-91-St. Louis Blues)
The sniper is tied with Schenn for first on the team in scoring, getting the slight edge because he has two more goals. To be honest, with the two being as equal as they are in terms of production, I would have Tarasenko, the flashier player more well-known for his entertaining play, on the All-Star roster ahead of Schenn.
Patrik Laine (Right Winger-29-Winnipeg Jets)
Last season, Laine scored 36 goals and 64 points. This season, he has 37 points and is on pace for 36 goals and 67 games. He participated in last season’s All-Star Game as Winnipeg’s lone representative. I’d have put Mark Scheifele here if he was healthy, but because he isn’t, he’s nor here and it’s Laine instead.
Duncan Keith (2-Chicago Blackhawks)
Though Keith is not having the greatest season this year, he still has 22 points and is leading Chicago in TOI. He’s been so good for so long, and is coming off a 53-point season.
Tyson Barrie (4-Colorado Avalanche)
After falling in the past couple of seasons from 53 points to 49 to 38, Barrie is rebounding, setting a pace for 60 points. He is seventh in the West in defenceman scoring.
Ryan Suter (20-Minnesota Wild)
Suter would of course be in the All-Star Game if there were room for more players. He’s a veteran leader, a big minute muncher, and most importantly in this context, he is sixth among defencemen in points in the West, and everyone ahead of him is in the All-Star Game.
Corey Crawford (50-Chicago Blackhawks)
With a 0.929 Save%, Crawford is second among all of the Western Conference’s undisputed starting goaltenders in that category, even if he’s played a bit less than other undisputed starters.
Sebastian Aho (Left Winger-20-Carolina Hurricanes)
With a team-leading 37 points. I don’t think anyone would disagree if Aho was the one to represent the Hurricanes in the All-Star Game.
Artemi Panarin (Left Winger-9-Columbus Blue Jackets)
Reports of Panarin’s inevitable decline after his move from Chicago were greatly exaggerated. Not entirely wrong, just exaggerated. He leads the Blue Jackets with 38 points and is the most suitable forward to play in this year’s All-Star Game for Columbus.
Anders Lee (Left Winger-27-New York Islanders)
Third on the Islanders in scoring with 40 points, Lee would be my pick for the Islanders if there were more spots. With 25 goals on the season, he is on pace for 48.
Jakub Voracek (Right Winger-93-Philadelphia Flyers)
With 51 points, Voracek is one point off the team lead. I would add him to the roster if there were more spots.
Sean Couturier (Centre-14-Philadelphia Flyers)
With 42 points, the defensive stalwart forward has arrived offensively. Based on his two-way play and newly-discovered offence, he deserves an kffensive role in the All-Star Game.
Phil Kessel (Right Winger-81-Pittsburgh Penguins)
With 47 points, Kessel actually has more points than Crosby does. Many are expecting Crosby to opt out of participating, and for Kessel to take his spot representing the Penguins.
Kevin Shattenkirk (22-New York Rangers)
When looking at what defencemen I’d pick for the extra All-Star spots if there were more roster spots, I decided to fill in the division’s defenceman scoring leaders. Shattenkirk isn’t one of the ignore top two, but he makes the most sense as the Rangers lack excellent forward options.
Shayne Gostisbehere (53-Philadelphia Flyers)
Gostisbehere fell from 46 to 39 points last season, but this year I would have him in the All-Star Game, especially on an expanded roster. His 32 points this season are second in the Metropolitation Division and third in the East.
John Carlson (74-Washington Capitals)
Carlson was a surprising snub. He leads all Eastern Conference defencemen in 35 points. I chose him because he’d be the better addition to add (Sorry Nicklas Backstrom).
Cory Schneider (35-New Jersey Devils)
Schneider is seventh among starters in the Metropolitan Division with a 0.918 Save%. Always posting strong rate statistics despite the typically bad New Jersey teams he’s played for, I’d pick him as the third goalie for this season’s All-Star Game.
Clayton Keller (Centre-9-Arizona Coyotes)
Though Keller’s fallen behind a bit in the rookie scoring race, he’s still third with a very respectable 33 points. It seems every All-Star Game these days has a couple of rookies participating, and literally nobody else on Arizona is playing like an All-Star.
Sean Monahan (Centre-23-Calgary Flames)
In many NHL seasons, Monahan’s 42 points would lead his team in scoring at this point in the season. Even with the increase in many players’ totals this season, it’s still fairly respectable and just under a point-per-game. Monahan would be a natural pick for an extra representative for Calgary if there were more players going.
Leon Draisaitl (Centre-23-Edmonton Oilers)
With a respectable 35 points, Draisaitl is second in scoring for Edmonton. With the majority of the team performing poorly, Draisaitl is one of the few players that isn’t for Edmonton. With more roster spots, Draisaitl would join McDavid in the All-Star Game.
Logan Couture (Centre-39-San Jose Sharks)
With 30 points in 36 games and a current pace for 35 goals and 65 points, Couture is on pace for his best season since 2011/12, which also happens to be his last appearance in the All-Star Game. If there were more spots, Coututre would be my pick to take an extra for San Jose, especially with how poorly the rest of the Sharks’ individuals are.
Jonathan Marchessault (Centre-81-Vegas Golden Knights)
Marchessault, who leads the Golden Knights with 40 points and is on pace for 33 goals and 83 points, is the player I would have picked first to represent Vegas in the All-Star Game. If there were more spots available, it wouldn’t be a problem and he’d be there.
Thomas Vanek (Left Winger-26-Vancouver Canucks)
With 31 points, Vanek is tied for second in scoring for the Canucks. The reclamation project is going better than it did with either Detroit or Florida last season. With few forward options and no defenceman options for Vancouver to send extra representatives, the Canucks’ extra entry would be Vanek.
Cam Fowler (4-Anaheim Ducks)
Though Fowler’s 15 points are a few short of leading all Ducks defencemen in scoring, he’s almost matching the team’s d-scoring leader Josh Manson in points per game and is the team leader in TOI.
Jake Muzzin (6-Los Angeles Kings)
After scoring 28 points last season, Muzzin, on a more offensively-inclined Kings team, is already at 23. He is on pace for a career-high of 46 points.
Nate Schmidt (88-Vegas Golden Knights)
True, Schmidt scores less than Colin Miller does, but his 19 points and 38-point pace are both respectable and Schmidt is the big minute muncher on the team.
John Gibson (36-Anaheim Ducks)
Gibson is second among Pacific Division starters in save percentage. He is the goalie I’d have sent with Quick in place of Fleury.
I think this would be a good move to do, enlarging the All-Star rosters to make room for everyone. Perhaps the lenghth of each mini-game could be extended from 20 to 30 minutes so everyone gets more of a spotlight and all three goalies get an even stretch of 10 minutes.