Ranking the Biggest Snubs and Surprises for the 2015 NHL All-Star Roster
The NHL announced the full roster for the All-Star Game in anticlimactic fashion on Saturday evening. The usual cast of characters—Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, etc.— will all be there, but some players were selected who don't deserve to be there.
Unfortunately, they were selected over more deserving teammates, but the NHL mandates that each team is represented in some way.
We currently live in a world where everyone gets a trophy, so here's a look at the biggest snubs and surprises of the NHL All-Star roster reveal.
Players Who Will Be at the NHL All Star Game
Here is the full list of players who will participate in the NHL All-Star Game. Players bold and italicized were chosen by the NHL's fan vote.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo Sabres
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Rookies for Skills Competition
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning
Honorable Mentions: Players Who Were Excluded Because of Other Team Selections
A number of players were omitted because their team was already represented. The players below aren't essentially a snub, because the player(s) selected from their team make sense.
In other words, Carey Price should be an All-Star for Montreal, and P.K. Subban shouldn’t have replaced him.
However, you could make a case that these players should have been added in place of those who are a secondary representative for their respective franchise.
No. 1: John Carlson, Washington Capitals
John Carlson's lack of stardom explains his omission, but here's his case for selection.
He is fourth among defenders in scoring with 30 points, has a solid plus-14 rating and has really flourished under new bench boss Barry Trotz.
To make room for Carlson, Drew Doughty could have been cut because Anze Kopitar is also representing the Los Angeles Kings, and Carlson has played better than Doughty thus far.
No. 2: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
"Flower" is having an amazing season for the Penguins, and his omission was interesting. It is rationalized because Penguins were already represented, but there was a solution.
Columbus has three representatives, and subtracting Nick Foligno would have freed up a spot that could be filled by Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk.
After that, Fleury could have taken Jimmy Howard's spot, and all teams would still be represented at the game.
No. 3: P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
P.K. Subban is a stud defender who was omitted because Carey Price was selected to represent Montreal. Subban ranks ninth among defenders in scoring, and although he's having a good season, better players were also excluded from the game.
With that said, you could make a case that he deserved to be selected over Drew Doughty from a statistical perspective, and that Subban is the best defender on one of the best teams in the NHL.
No. 4: Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Both of the twins are having a better season than Radim Vrbata, who was selected, but I guess the idea of picking one of the Sedins and not the other wasn't a possibility. I would have gone with Henrik, but I will admit I flipped a coin to make the decision in the fairest way possible.
A possible clause states one must play in the same game as the other when both are healthy, but that can't be confirmed at this time.
No. 5: Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Joe Pavelski is a good player and could have been selected if defender Brent Burns was omitted to make room for another defender. It isn't a big snub when you consider all the variables, but there's a case to be made when you look at Pavelski's offensive production (37 points in 42 games) this season.
No. 4 Surprise: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin was named as the Washington Capitals' lone representative because he is Alex Ovechkin. He is a face of the NHL who generates a lot of buzz during the Skills Competition and All-Star Game because of his personality and energy.
He isn't having an All-Star year by his standards—36 points in 40 games—but he doesn't even have All-Star numbers to begin with. He isn't leading his team in scoring, and he is sixth in goals and 22nd in total points among all NHL players.
His inclusion is surprising because of his stats, but it is less of a surprise than others on this list because of Ovechkin's notoriety.
No. 4 Snub: Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils
Yes, Jaromir Jagr has been in a ton of All-Star games—nine times, to be exact—and he should have been the New Jersey Devils' representative. Jagr feels that he shouldn't be an All-Star, but the fact remains that he has been the team's best forward this year.
He leads the team in scoring with 25 points in 43 games, and he's been the voice and leader of the Devils on and off the ice. At age 42, Jagr just became the oldest player to record an NHL hat trick, and another All-Star game to his resume would have made sense.
No. 3 Surprise: Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias is a great veteran player who has spent his entire career with the New Jersey Devils. He's an all-around good person and one of the NHL's elder statesmen, and an All-Star selection is likely another reward for all that he does.
This season has been one of Elias' worst as a player, and it is surprising that he ended up as the Devils' lone recipient. If Damon Severson wasn't injured, he likely would have represented New Jersey as a rookie, and that would have made sense for the purposes of meeting the NHL's quota.
No. 3 Snub: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
The Magic Man is having a great season at age 36 and is a leading force for the Detroit Red Wings. He has been a point-per-game player through 30 games played and is third on the team in goals with 14.
The All-Star weekend is built for a player like Datsyuk, and he certainly would have been a top-flight attraction for the breakaway challenge and puck control portion of the skills competition.
It is unknown whether Datsyuk asked to be excluded because he wanted the opportunity to rest his body, but he should have been the Red Wings' lone representative for the All-Star Game.
No. 2 Surprise: Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
If the All-Star Game wasn't being held in Columbus, Nick Foligno wouldn't be an All-Star. He is having a career year, but the fact remains that he is 17th in league scoring with 39 points. He has one more point than Ryan Johansen, but make no mistake about it: Johansen is the future face of the Blue Jackets.
When you also consider that Sergei Bobrovsky is representing the home team, there is no reason why Foligno should be playing over someone like Nikita Kucherov. Foligno is a very good player, but his selection reeks of hometown bias.
No. 2 Snub: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov is having a breakout campaign this season, and it is a travesty that he wasn't named to the All-Star Game. He is 11th in the NHL in scoring with 17 goals and 41 points in 43 games, and he is a young player that the league should want to promote in a setting like this.
While the 21-year-old doesn't deserve a spot over Steven Stamkos or Tyler Johnson, another player could have been cut because his team was already represented.
No. 1 Surprise: Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Erik Johnson was named as the lone representative for the Colorado Avalanche and will represent one of the teams on the blue line.
It is a surprising pick, because even if you rationalize that leading scorers Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay don't deserve to go, you could make an argument that Tyson Barrie should be there instead. Barrie has more points than Johnson, and this has been a great season for him thus far.
Johnson has had better seasons in the past, so it would have made more sense to reward Barrie over the Avs' veteran blueliner.
No. 1 Snub: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
The fact that Nicklas Backstrom has never ever been an All-Star is a travesty. It isn't as big of a travesty that he was screwed out of playing in the gold-medal game at the Sochi Olympics, but it's a travesty nonetheless. He's been the Capitals' best forward this season without question and should be heading to Ohio.
He is the Caps' leading scorer, a top possession player and a star who has the unfortunate position of playing in Alex Ovechkin's shadow. Over the last three seasons, only Sidney Crosby has tallied more assists than Backstrom, and the fact that he was passed over for the umpteenth time is just mind-boggling.
All stats as of Saturday, January 10, before scheduled games were played.