The NHL released the official All-Star rosters on Wednesday, and it inevitably stirred up some healthy hockey debate as we compare the official lineups to our own armchair scouting reports.
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So in the spirit of that annual debate, here are a 12 names we won’t see in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 27-28 that are totally playing like All-Stars right now.
Forward: Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA
After missing the majority of 2016-17, Huberdeau is on pace for the best season of his career. His 43 points in 42 games so far has him just ahead of All-Star teammate Aleksander Barkov atop the Panthers’ stat sheet. It sure would be fun to see these linemates play among the best in 3-on-3.
Defenceman: Charles McAvoy, BOS
McAvoy earned himself a spot on the Bruins’ top blue line pairing alongside veteran Zdeno Chara as a 19-year-old, and while’s been a great story in Boston this year, the rookie will surely have plenty more chances to suit up as an All-Star.
Goalie: Frederik Andersen, TOR
Leafs fans are probably relieved Andersen is getting a few days off rather than suiting up for the All-Star Game, as the netminder has started more games (37) and faced more shots (1,261) than all of his crease-dwelling peers. But the Danish netminder, owner of a .921 save percentage and 2.69 goals against average, has been hands-down one of the most valuable Maple Leafs this season and would be a logical All-Star nod.
Forward: Phil Kessel, PIT
He’s leading the Penguins in goals (18) and points (47) and he’s always good for an All-Star laugh or two. But when your teammates are Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang (and fellow omission Evgeni Malkin) well, there are only so many Penguins allowed in Tampa Bay.
Defenceman: Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI
The 24-year-old ranks fourth in points among defencemen and is on pace for his best season yet.
Goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ
The veteran netminder is continuing his tradition of being clutch in the crease, and is tied for the second-most shutouts in the league (four).
Forward: Vladimir Tarasenko, STL
The man is a human highlight reel. Surely we’re not the only ones who would like to see him dangle his way through 3-on-3.
Defenceman: Roman Josi, NSH
With just three defender spots per division and a bunch of talented blueliners in the Central, we understand why there’s only room for one Predators defenceman—and that’s P.K. Subban, who was voted on as a captain.
Goalie: Ben Bishop, DAL
He’s pretty hot right now, but won’t be making the trip to his old stompin’ grounds.
Forward: William Karlsson, VGK
The Golden Knights have been the best story of the season, and William Karlsson’s 22 goals and 36 points are two huge reasons why. He and teammate Jonathan Marchessault (16G, 40P) deserve every bit of praise they’re getting this season — an All-Star nod would’ve been pretty cool, too.
Defenceman: Mark Giordano, CGY
We could also plug in partner Dougie Hamilton here—or, if we had more spots on forward, teammate Sean Monahan is playing like All-Star right now, too—but we’re going with Gio, who leads his blue line in ice time (24:47 per game), goals (eight), and points (20).
Goalie: Mike Smith, CGY
Smith (2.55 GAA, .922 SV%) has been a real difference-maker this season and is proving to be the No. 1 netminder Calgary was looking for. But, like fellow omissions Andersen and Bobrovsky, he could probably use a weekend off.