The NHL has announced the rosters for the all-star game on Jan. 26 in San Jose and a handful of the best young players in the league are nowhere to be found.
The omission of Toronto’s Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly, Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl and Calgary’s Sean Monahan is one giant head-scratcher.
Marner leads the Leafs with 53 points — the sixth most in the NHL — and will watch teammates Auston Matthews (a fan-elected captain of the Atlantic Division) and John Tavares (tied for second in the NHL with 26 goals) play in the game.
Rielly, a strong candidate to win his first Norris Trophy as top defenceman, leads all blueliners this season with 44 points.
Point is Tampa Bay’s top goal scorer with 23 tallies and is second to teammate Nikita Kucherov in points (with 52, 7th highest in the NHL), yet Steven Stamkos is an all-star and Point is not.
Draisaitl is putting together a sneaky good season in Edmonton with 22 goals (one behind Oilers captain Connor McDavid) and 51 points (8th overall in the league).
Monahan is tied for 10th in the NHL with 50 points — 21 more points than Arizona forward Clayton Keller, who is all-star game-bound.
Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner is having a career year with 26 goals (tied with Tavares for second overall) and Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson leads all Eastern Conference netminders with 20 wins. Neither of them is on the list.
Part of the problem is that every team must be represented at the all-star game. While I understand the reasoning behind that, it may be time to ditch that requirement, especially with the current three-on-three format.
Just as they did for the four team captains, fans can vote in one more player for each division’s team through what the league is calling the Last Men In ballot. Rielly, Point, Draisaitl and Skinner are on the ballot, but Marner and Monahan are not.
The NHL’s all-star rosters are never going to be perfect and there are always going to be snubs. I wonder how my all-snubs team would fare on all-star weekend?
F – Mitch Marner, Toronto
F – Brayden Point, Tampa Bay
F – Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton
F – Sean Monahan, Calgary
F – Jeff Skinner, Buffalo
D – Morgan Rielly, Toronto
D – Mark Giordano, Calgary
D – Kris Letang, Pittsburgh
G – Frederik Anderson, Toronto
G – Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay