Eight NHL All-Star snubs who deserved trip to San Jose
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs RW
Whether you’re looking at raw totals or hourly rates, Marner is one of the league’s most productive scorers. He’s also a 21-year-old who can do things like this in 3-on-3, which is once again the format of this year’s All-Star Game.
Teammate Morgan Rielly also has a case, as the second-highest scoring defenseman not to get an invite. Those plucky Toronto Maple Leafs never seem to catch a break, do they?
Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets RW
Since entering the NHL in 2015-16, Panarin is seventh among all players in points. All six players ahead of him will be in San Jose, yet the Bread Man has never made an All-Star game.
Yet even after leaving Chicago, Panarin is once again overshadowed by an American linemate.
Well, at least as the All-Star Game is concerned, where Cam Atkinson will represent the Blue Jackets. The bright side is Panarin can avoid trade questions a month before the deadline.
Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins RW
Kessel feels like a player who doesn’t get the attention he warrants, unless you’re making a hot-dog joke. He’s the highest-scoring player not named Panarin to miss out on the Metropolitan Division team, and hasn’t made an All-Star team since joining Pittsburgh in 2015.
While we’re on the topic of overlooked Penguins, Evgeni Malkin has a case, too. At least he can take solace in being
on the NHL’s list of Top 100 players a seven-time All-Star.
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames D
More than anyone, Giordano feels like a victim of positional restrictions. He’s having a stellar season (52 points, 55.66 CF%), but fellow defenseman Brent Burns, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson are bigger draws. Should Karlsson miss the game, though, Giordano feels like a lock as his replacement.
Still, it’s odd the best team in the Western Conference only has one All-Star, however. Couldn’t one of Giordano, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, or Matthew Tkachuk ensured baby-faced Johnny Gaudreau had adult supervision? Well, maybe none of the last three, as Gaudreau is actually older than each.
Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets RW
The All-Star Game doesn’t lack snipers, but Laine’s omission (on top of Ovechkin’s absence) means it does lack two players who will shoot from pretty much anywhere and everywhere.
He is tied for the Jets lead in goals (25), matching All-Star Mark Scheifele. Of course, the 20-year-old is also one of the league’s youngest, most recognizable faces. He has plenty of personality, too. Just ask the Vancouver Canucks.
P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators D
Speaking of personality. Missing a month-and-a-half with an upper-body injury undoubtedly hurt Subban’s case, but he has been great when healthy and is undoubtedly one of the NHL’s most marketable players. After all, which other All-Stars have their own forthcoming reality show?
And that’s the point of it all, isn’t it? The All-Star Game assembles the league’s brightest stars in one place for one weekend, and it will feel a bit incomplete without Subban.
Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton
Yes, the Maple Leafs winger and his longtime center have only combined for 47 points, but hear us out. Barring career twilights that would make Jaromir Jagr jealous, this will more likely than not be the last All-Star Game in San Jose while Thornton and Marleau are active NHLers.
They deserve a proper send-off, even if it’s before either actually hangs up his skates. The duo launched the Sharks into the upper echelon of the league’s franchises, and a shared All-Star appearance would have been a fitting tribute in a city with which they became synonymous.