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What the Puck?!: The Top Players Not on the Ballot

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2010

What the Puck?!: The Top Players Not on the Ballot

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    Each team is going to feel like it has been snubbed on the NHL All-Star ballot, and players will feel the same way.

    This is our chance to give those who weren't selected a chance to have their 15 minutes of fame. From rookies who shined to veterans that surprised, the NHL has had a lot of great stories through the first quarter of the season.

    The snubs for each team are players who could have big seasons and make the voters look silly.

    Give the snubs some love and enjoy!

Anaheim Ducks

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    Anaheim Ducks 2011 All-Star Selections: Teemu Selanne (F), Ryan Getzlaf (F), Corey Perry (F), Bobby Ryan (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Lubomir Visnovsky (D), Toni Lydman (D), Jonas Hiller (G)

    Both Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman have been good for the Ducks, Visnovsky offensively with 18 points and Lydman defensively with a plus/minus of plus-12. 

    Jonas Hiller's numbers don't reflect how solid he has played. He could've made a good option for the All-Star Game.

Atlanta Thrashers

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    Atlanta Thrashers 2011 All-Star Selections: Dustin Byfuglien (D), Tobias Enstrom (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Andrew Ladd (F), Evander Kane (F), Ondrej Pavelec (G)

    Andrew Ladd and Evander Kane have been solid forwards for the Thrashers, scoring 21 and 14 points accordingy.

    Ondrej Pavelec has been great in net when he's had the opportunity, maintaining a goals-against average of 1.39 and a save percentage of .939.

Boston Bruins

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    Boston Bruins 2011 All-Star Selections: Tim Thomas (G), Zdeno Chara (D), Patrice Bergeron (F), David Krejci (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Nathan Horton (F), Mark Recchi (F), Tyler Seguin (F)

    Rookie sensation Tyler Seguin is adjusting well to the NHL and has managed eight points through the first quarter of the season.

    One of the most underrated players in the NHL, Nathan Horton has scored 18 points and is maintaining a stingy plus-minus of plus-10 and has been great in Boston.

    Surprising everyone again, Mark Recchi at 42 years old is having a solid year with 13 points and is playing solid hockey. It's really good to see.

Buffalo Sabres

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    Buffalo Sabres 2011 All-Star Selections: Ryan Miller (G), Derek Roy (F), Thomas Vanek (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Jordan Leopold (D), Steve Montador (D), Tyler Myers (D)

    I feel like Buffalo's defensive group is one of the most underrated in the NHL. I felt like giving their defense some credit here was the right thing to do.

    All three have great NHL talent and are a huge part of the success of goaltender Ryan Miller.

Calgary Flames

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    Calgary Flames 2011 All-Star Selections: Miikka Kiprusoff (G), Jay Bouwmeester (D), Jarome Iginla (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Alex Tanguay (F)

    Honestly, I don't think anyone from Calgary should make it, but if someone has to sneak in it would have to be Alex Tanguay.

    Tanguay has 17 points and has been a bright spot on a weak team. Calgary deserves better.

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Carolina Hurricanes 2011 All-Star Selections: Cam Ward (G), Joni Pitkanen (D), Eric Staal (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Jussi Jokinen (F), Jeff Skinner (F)

    Another stellar rookie in Jeff Skinner and a veteran in Jussi Jokinen could be surprise selections in my world.

    Skinner has 16 points, while Jokinen has 17 points.

    I think Skinner is the top contender for rookie of the year and a solid NHL player at 18.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    Chicago Blackhawks 2011 All-Star Selections: Brian Campbell (D), Brent Seabrook (D), Duncan Keith (D), Patrick Kane (F), Jonathan Toews (F), Marian Hossa (F)

    2011 All-Star Snub: Patrick Sharp (F)

    Patrick Sharp got snubbed. Plain and simple.

    The man has 12 goals and is tied for the team lead with 22 points. Sharp manufactures in every aspect of the game and can score in any way.

    Out of his 12 goals, four were on the power play, two were short-handed and three were game-winners. That's called taking advantage of the situations you are put in.

Colorado Avalanche

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    Colorado Avalanche 2011 All-Star Selections: Craig Anderson (G), Paul Stastny (F), Milan Hejduk (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Chris Stewart (F), John-Michael Liles (D)

    Chris Stewart is turning into a fantastic forward. He has 24 points through the first 20 games. Of his 11 goals, three were game-winners and five were power-play goals.

    John-Michael Liles should get a lot of the credit for what is going on in Colorado right now. He is a plus-11 and has 20 points through the first quarter of the season. Liles is a very good defenseman and deserves more credit than he receives.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Columbus Blue Jackets 2011 All-Star Selections: Rick Nash (F), R.J. Umberger (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Marc Methot (D), Derick Brassard (F)

    The Blue Jackets have two young players that deserve more attention than they are getting.

    Marc Methot is turning into a solid two-way defender, posting a plus-11 and 10 points. He could be a big piece in their future if he sticks around.

    The other player under the radar is Derick Brassard. He has 16 points through the first quarter and has been as solid in his own zone as he is in the offensive zone.

Dallas Stars

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    Dallas Stars 2011 All-Star Selections: Brad Richards (F), Brendan Morrow (F), Stephane Robidas (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Loui Eriksson (F), James Neal (F)

    The Dallas Stars have been getting a lot of offense from their second and third lines, and it seems to be contagious.

    Both Loui Eriksson and James Neal have been good offensively, but they've been stingy on the defensive side of the puck. Eriksson has 22 points and is plus-12, while Neal has 19 points and is plus-10.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Detroit Red Wings 2011 All-Star Selections: Brian Rafalski (D), Nick Lidstrom (D), Pavel Datsyuk (F), Henrik Zetterberg (F), Johan Franzen (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Todd Bertuzzi (F), Niklas Kronwall (D), Jimmy Howard (G)

    Todd Bertuzzi has been playing well over the first quarter in both ends of the rink. He has 15 points through the first 18 games, all while maintaining a plus-11.

    Niklas Kronwall has turned himself more into a defensive defenseman and helped keep a lid on the other team's top lines. He helps keep Jimmy Howard protected with the rest of the strong defensive group in Detroit.

    Young goalie Jimmy Howard has been great for the Red Wings since he arrived. This year he is 11-1-2 and is tied for second in the NHL for wins by goaltenders.

Edmonton Oilers

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    Edmonton Oilers 2011 All-Star Selections: Nikolai Khabibulin (G), Ales Hemsky (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Ryan Whitney (D), Jordan Eberle (F), Taylor Hall (F)

    Ryan Whitney has been great with Edmonton this year. He has become acclimated to Edmonton and has really played well. He plays over 25 minutes a game and is used in every situation.

    He has also added 17 points on top of his defensive prowess.

    Both Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall have been pleasant surprises this year for the Oilers. Eberle is only 20, and Hall is only 19. As they begin to understand the play of the NHL, they will become more effective for the team.

Florida Panthers

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    Florida Panthers 2011 All-Star Selections: Tomas Vokoun (G), Bryan McCabe (D), David Booth (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Michael Frolik (F), Dennis Wideman (D)

    The Panthers haven't had many bright spots this year, but a few stand out. If you don't see them play all the time, these are the players under the radar.

    Dennis Wideman has been a solid defender and has added 10 points. He averages almost 25 minutes a game and plays in every tough position for the team.

    Frolik, on the other hand, has been the highlight of the offense. To show you how bad the team has been, he leads the team in points with 13.

Los Angeles Kings

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    Los Angeles Kings 2011 All-Star Selections: Jonathan Quick (G), Ryan Smyth (F), Drew Doughty (D), Anze Kopitar (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Justin Williams (F), Jack Johnson (D), Dustin Brown (F)

    The Kings are a young team full of energy and charisma, and that can wear off on the veterans you bring in to surround the young talent.

    Two of the forwards benefiting from the mixture of youth and experience have been Justin WIlliams and Dustin Brown. Williams has a team-high 21 points, while Brown has 14 points.

    Young defender Jack Johnson has played solid in the young season and has 14 points while averaging 25 minutes a game.

Minnesota Wild

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    Minnesota Wild 2011 All-Star Selections: Niklas Backstrom (G), Mikko Koivu (F), Marek Zidlicky (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Martin Havlat (F), Brent Burns (D)

    Martin Havlat came to Minnesota to help the franchise. Whatever has happened between him and the management of the Wild hasn't shown in Havlat's play. He has 17 points and is one of the few forwards with a positive plus/minus. 

    Defenseman Brent Burns has been a power play goal machine. He has six goals on the season, and four have come on the man advantage. He also has a total of 11 points to add to the mix.

Montreal Canadiens

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    Montreal Canadiens 2011 All-Star Selections: Andrei Markov (D), Mike Cammalleri (F), Brian Gionta (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Tomas Plekanec (F), Carey Price (G)

    The Canadiens have a real beef with no Carey Price on the ballot.

    Price is tied for the league lead with 12 wins and is posting stingy numbers. He has a save percentage of .932, a goals against average of 2.05 and four shutouts. He is the Canadiens' MVP thus far.

Nashville Predators

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    Nashville Predators 2011 All-Star Selections: Pekka Rinne (G), Ryan Suter (D), Shea Weber (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Steve Sullivan (F)

    Nashville hasn't been that good this year. They have become a very defensive-minded team, and you can see that reflected in their numbers.

    Of the Predator forwards who might deserve a chance, Steve Sullivan seems most likely. He has 10 points and has been the most consistent of all the forwards in Nashville.

New Jersey Devils

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    New Jersey Devils 2011 All-Star Selections: Martin Brodeur (G), Zach Parise (F), Ilya Kovalchuk (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Travis Zajac (F)

    Travis Zajac is a nice story on a bad team. On a team that seems to play robot-style hockey, he tends to be the spark the team needs.

    His points have suffered, as his job has shifted to being more of a utility player.

    Zajac is at 56.7 percent in the faceoff circle and is one of only three players on the Devils with a positive plus/minus.

New York Islanders

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    New York Islanders 2011 All-Star Selections: Mark Streit (D), John Tavares (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: James Wisniewski (D)

    Defenseman James Wisniewski has been solid on a team whose defense is vulnerable at best.

    He has 13 points and averages almost 25 minutes a game. He has done a solid job filling in for injured defender Mark Streit.

New York Rangers

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    New York Rangers 2011 All-Star Selections: Henrik Lundqvist (G), Marian Gaborik (F), Marc Staal (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Brandon Dubinsky (F), Dan Girardi (D)

    Forward Brandon Dubinsky has been solid for the Rangers, putting up 19 points. He has 12 goals, which leads the team, and of those 12, four are on the power play, two are short-handed and one is a game-winner.

    Defenseman Dan Girardi has been a surprise this year for the Rangers and has managed 13 points while maintaining a plus-six.

Ottawa Senators

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    Ottawa Senators 2011 All-Star Selections: Daniel Alfredsson (F), Sergei Gonchar (D), Jason Spezza (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Alex Kovalev (F)

    Alex Kovalev has managed six goals and five assists and has been as good a forward as you can be in Ottawa.

    If the Senators can come alive now, they can still get into the playoffs.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    Philadelphia Flyers 2011 All-Star Selections: Chris Pronger (D), Kimmo Timonen (D), Mike Richards (F), Jeff Carter (F), Daniel Briere (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Claude Giroux (F), The “Iron Curtain” Sergei Bobrovsky (G)

    Claude Giroux deserves a spot not only on the ballot, but in the All-Star Game. He has 23 points and leads the team with 12 goals. Of those 12 goals, six are power-play tallies, three are short-handed and three are game-winners.

    Another clear snub was that of the “Iron Curtain” Sergei Bobrovsky.

    The rookie netminder has posted a record of 11-3-1, which ties him for second in the NHL for wins by a goalie. He has also maintained a 2.29 goals against average and a .925 save percentage through the first quarter of the season.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Phoenix Coyotes 2011 All-Star Selections: Ilya Bryzgalov (G), Shane Doan (F), Ed Jovanovski (D) 

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Keith Yandle (D), Ray Whitney (F)

    Ray Whitney has come to play in Phoenix, posting 15 points and being a plus-five.

    Yandle, on the other hand, has been solid in the defensive zone and has added 11 points while averaging over 23 minutes a game.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 All-Star Selections: Marc-Andre Fleury (G), Sidney Crosby (F), Evgeni Malkin (F), Paul Martin (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Kris Letang (D), Alex Goligoski (D)

    After the loss of Sergei Gonchar, the Penguins needed someone to step up and take the reins defensively.

    It was two men who stood up and have taken the challenge. Kris Letang has 19 points and is a plus-nine, while Alex Goligoski has added 11 points of his own while maintaining a plus-seven.

    They have been solid offensively and defensively and have helped protect a weak goaltender.

San Jose Sharks

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    San Jose Sharks 2011 All-Star Selections: Antti Niemi (G), Dan Boyle (D), Joe Thornton (F), Patrick Marleau (F), Dany Heatley (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Joe Pavelski (F)

    Joe Pavelski has turned into a solid NHL center. He has a faceoff win percentage of 55 percent and has added 16 points through the first 19 Sharks games.

St. Louis Blues

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    St. Louis Blues 2011 All-Star Selections: Jaroslav Halak (G), T.J. Oshie (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Erik Johnson (D), Eric Brewer (D)

    Erik Johnson and Eric Brewer are turning into a solid defensive unit that can protect Jaroslav Halak.

    They are playing well, and they need to continue their play or the Blues have no chance.

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Tampa Bay Lightning 2011 All-Star Selections: Steven Stamkos (F), Vincent Lecavalier (F), Martin St. Louis (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Mike Smith/ Dan Ellis (G)

    This goalie tandem has been solid, but they have been identical in their success and their struggles. They have been left alone in a lot of cases with defensive breakdowns, but they have managed pretty well.

    They are getting the offensive support. It's up to one of them to take the job.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Toronto Maple Leafs 2011 All-Star Selections: J.S. Giguere (G), Dion Phaneuf (D), Tomas Kaberle (D), Phil Kessel (F)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Clarke MacArthur (F), Luke Schenn (D), Mikhail Grabovski (F)

    The Maple Leafs have cooled off since their hot start but have still been getting solid offensive play out of Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski. They have scored 18 points and 16 points respectively and are both growing as forwards in the NHL.

    Luke Schenn is an underrated defender that can manage the puck at both ends of the ice. He is a plus-five while scoring six points this season.

Vancouver Canucks

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    Vancouver Canucks 2011 All-Star Selections: Roberto Luongo (G), Daniel Sedin (F), Henrik Sedin (F), Dan Hamhuis (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Alex Edler (D), Ryan Kesler (F)

    As my people in Vancouver tell me, Alex Edler is the man for the Canucks. He has 14 points through 20 games and has averaged almost 25 minutes a game. He is as solid in his own zone as he is in the offensive zone to boot.

    Ryan Kesler has been solid as well. He has 13 points, and he has been good on the forecheck and has been playing smart.

Washington Capitals

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    Washington Capitals 2011 All-Star Selections: Alexander Ovechkin (F), Nicklas Backstrom (F), Mike Green (D)

    2011 All-Star Snubs: Michal Neuvirth (G), Alexander Semin (F)

    These snubs could be the two of the most absurd.

    Semin is leading the team in goals and points and has been the best scorer in the early going for the potent Capitals.

    Rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth has been a revelation in net for Washington, and he is tied for the league lead in wins with 12.

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