Had a chance to digest the full list of the 2017 NHL All-Star selections yet? Has the rage subsided?
As with all elite teams, tough decisions must be made, and those calls are made even tougher with restrictions on division, position and team (all clubs must be represented, except for the St. John’s IceCaps).
We’ve collected all the
outrageous snubs regrettable omissions from this month’s L.A. showcase weekend to form an outcast 3-on-3 squad (two forwards, one defenceman, one goalie) for each division.
So many qualified Atlantic forwards were overlooked, we couldn’t help but throw an extra attacker on their bench.
In many cases, the NHL nailed it. In others, not so much. Cough. Panarin. Cough. Talbot. Cough. Pacioretty. Cough. A bunch of Blue Jackets. Cough.
So we’re giving these non-all-stars some love and providing hockey ops with a working list of 17 suitable replacements should any of the real all-stars need to back out.
Cam Atkinson, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets
Atkinson ranks second in goals (19) and third in points (39) among all skaters in the NHL’s best division and is a big reason the Jackets are tops in the league. Yet no Columbus forwards made John Tortorella’s squad. Captain Nick Foligno has a case here, too.
Jakub Voracek, RW, Philadelphia Flyers
We’re not angry with Wayne Simmonds being the Philly representative here, but both Voracek — tied for third overall in Metro scoring — and Claude Giroux are outscoring him. (Good year for right wings: Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel can stake a claim here as well, but the Penguins are already sending Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby and The Thrill is used to to being the odd man out.)
Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Bit of a surprise here, as Seth Jones earns the nod over the Jackets’ wonder rookie. Werenski is tied with Rangers all-star Ryan McDonagh and Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz for most points by a Metro D-man (25). He should get used to being underrated. Wait till the 2017 Calder votes come out….
Matt Murray, G, Pittsburgh Penguins
Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky are no-brainer selections. If one can’t make it, we’d pick the Penguins rookie and his .928 save percentage to sub in.
Max Pacioretty, LW, Montreal Canadiens
So what if he played all November with a broken foot and takes more crap than a Coachella port-a-potty? Patches can’t take his 19 goals (second best in the division) and 34 points (fourth best) to L.A. because the Habs are already sending Carey Price and Shea Weber.
Mitchell Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews is in, but Marner is out. Within the division, only Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov has more assists than the Leafs rookie (22). Shame we can’t see him work his 3-on-3 magic with his buddy on the big stage.
David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins
Nineteen goals in 36 games isn’t good enough to get the emerging star a ticket. Because every team needs a representative, we get Florida’s Vincent Trochek (over Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov) and Detroit’s Frans Nielsen (over Henrik Zetterberg?!) instead of Pastrnak or Jack Eichel or Mark Stone.
Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buffalo Sabres
We’re not crazy. We wouldn’t actually suggest Ristolainen over the Atlantic’s D core of Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson or Weber. But with 26 points and nearly 27 minutes a night, he’s our No. 4.
Frederik Andersen, G, Toronto Maple Leafs
Price and Tuukka Rask deserve the spots, but let’s give Freddie a shoutout here. Tending what the analytic folks would call a “high-event” crease, the Leafs workhorse rebounded from a shaky start to stop a division-high 986 shots.
Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers
Honestly, the league nailed the forward selections for this division. Kudos. So we’ll give some props to guys who could be worthy fill-ins if need be. Draisaitl’s 15 goals and 20 assists through half a season is a great secondary story in Oil Country.
Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Kesler got the nod over Getzlaf here, but 30 points in 36 games pairs nicely with the veteran’s 52.1 faceoff winning percentage.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Arizona Coyotes
We would’ve given the lowly Coyotes’ spot to OEL instead of goalie Mike Smith (see below), but L.A.’s Alec Martinez — who will forever take a back seat to Drew Doughty — deserved consideration, too.
Cam Talbot, G, Edmonton Oilers
Martin Jones is a slam dunk, and poor Smith has been the Coyotes’ MVP, but Talbot deserves the latter’s spot. Securing all but one of the Oilers’ wins this season, Talbot has the best save percentage (.920), highest win total (20) and stopped the most pucks (1,030) of any Pacific netminder.
Artemi Panarin, LW, Chicago Blackhawks
Bit of a shocker here, as the super sophomore ranks third in points (41) and assists (24) among Central forwards. Jonathan Toews (selected) is obviously great, but this is the Bread Man’s year.
Mark Scheifele, C, Winnipeg Jets
Patrik Laine is in, and we’re thrilled for that. But if the Jets rookie is still recovering from his concussion, sending the more-complete Scheifele is an easy call.
Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators
Difficult to argue against the star power of P.K. Subban, Duncan Keith and Ryan Suter — who all made the cut — but the Central is deep in quality defencemen. Josi joins Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien and St. Louis’s Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk as the group on the outside looking in.
Jake Allen, G, St. Louis Blues
Picking Devan Dubnyk and Corey Crawford to mind the pipes was the perfect call, but the Blues’ Allen (17 wins) and Predators’ Pekka Rinne (.918 save percentage) are the next tier.