On Tuesday, the NHL “all-star “teams were announced and, as per usual, there was plenty of questions as why this player got picked or why somebody did not. In my personal opinion, the way the NHL runs the all-star selection doesn’t allow the fans to see the actual all-stars in the game. The idea of having every team represented at the event does give every fan at least one player to cheer for, but does it give the fans the maximum amount of entertainment? I don’t believe it is fair when you have a team like Columbus, only have two players in the game despite going on a 16 game winning streak, especially when you have a player like Cam Atkinson who is having a career year, but can’t be chosen because the New Jersey Devils have to be represented.
For this little experiment, I decided to make my own all-star teams by selecting the best players from each conference, not by division. There are some players that are out of position but it’s the all-star game and I believed they deserved to go rather than somebody in that position. I also made the choice not to have each team represented because they simply didn’t have a player who has played good enough. My last rule is that players who are injured right now, like Benn and Subban, can’t be selected for either team even if they may be back in time.
You may notice that Ryan Kesler is clearly playing out of position, the reason for this, is that the left wingers in the west are weak. Besides the three that were selected, no other left wingers have stood out, Milan Lucic is the fourth-ranked left winger and he most defiantly hasn’t played at an all-star level so that made it very simple for me to choose Kesler. However, if Jamie Benn was available there would be no doubt that he’d be on this team. Other notes, Seguin, Draisaitl, and Ehlers are technically not playing their original positions but this is how they play for their teams which is why they’re playing this way.
Four out of the six were penciled in immediately for me, the two guys I was unsure about putting on the team were Dougie Hamilton and Cam Fowler. The last two spots were tough to fill, not from lack of talent but because of the talent being so close in competition. The reason I decided to go with Hamilton was simply because he’s on pace to beat his best career numbers. I think it’s only fair to have somebody who is having a career year whilst putting up good NHL numbers on the team as a reward. These reasons also apply to Cam Fowler.
Martin Jones and Devan Dubynk are obviously automatic selections for the all-star this year, however, selecting the third goalie was up for debate. The reason I went with Cam Talbot was because I believe that the Oilers would not be where they are in the standings without him. You can argue that Connor McDavid is the reason why, but if you don’t believe Talbot has helped them out massively, you’re wrong my friend. The other tenders that were in the conversation were Peter Budaj, Corey Crawford, and John Gibson.
The only surprise pick out of this forward group would be Grabner, the reason for that simply is because he’s leading the 5 on 5 goals. I also feel like Phil Kessel could get criticized for being on this list but let’s not forget he is a point per game player. Other than those two guys there should be no questions asked.
On to the defensive group, all of them were straight forward. The only other play that was even considered to be on one of these pairings was Nick Holden from the New York Rangers. Like I said earlier on, I believe that players who are having good career years should be rewarded, it’s just unfortunate all these other guys are having phenomenal seasons.
There are so many elite goaltenders in the eastern conference but out of all of them, Price, Bobrovsky, and Holtby stand tall. Bobrovsky was the biggest part of why the Blue Jackets went on their 16 game winning streak, The Canadians wouldn’t be in the position they are without Price and Holtby simply won’t let the puck by him. The top contenders to replace one of these guys would’ve been Rask or Lundqvist.
Overall, I don’t think anybody can argue that this wouldn’t be a highly entertaining game, I cannot be the only one that thinks this. I understand why the NHL does what they do with the 3 on 3 and each team being represented but they have to understand that players are being robbed. By going back to the old ways of actual all-stars being selected the game could be much more entertaining for the fans.