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The 2017 NHL All-Star snubs could beat most of the real rosters

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This format leaves a lot of great players out of the event.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL dropped the 2017 NHL All-Star Game rosters on Tuesday. As expected, a lot of great players made the cut! And, as expected, significantly more did not. Thanks a lot, format.

That’s the perils of the NHL’s 3-on-3 tournament they instituted last season. Each of the four divisions gets to take six forwards, four defensemen, and two goalies. That’s not a lot of room. So, these days, NHL All-Star snubs are less about worthiness and more about not having enough room after making sure every single team is represented.

And yet, there’s some questionable omissions here. Let’s take issue with them. Whether that means getting sad or mad online is up to you.

Atlantic All-Star Snubs

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Forwards Defensemen Goalies
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Alexander Radulov, Montreal Canadiens
Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs

Boston was either going to send David Pastrnak or Brad Marchand to the All-Star Game. That it was Marchand isn’t a shock; he’s the bigger name having a terrific season. Pastrnak’s emergence as the Bruins’ best scoring threat shouldn’t be overlooked, though.

In fact, it’s remarkable how many Atlantic goalscorers aren’t heading to L.A. Matthews’ two closest competitors for the division lead, Max Pacioretty and Pastrnak, were left off the roster. Both have game-winning goals at 3-on-3 on their ledger this season. But you couldn’t have more than two players from one team make the roster, right Blackhawks? That would be ridiculous.

So the amazing plays Alex Radulov could’ve scored in this event will have to remain in our dreams.

I only included one lone defenseman on this snubs list because Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson, and Victor Hedman are the biggest All-Star locks of the season. But I do hope Rasmus Ristolainen got some consideration from the mysterious committee that came up with these rosters. He’s the heart of the Sabres’ blue line and having a breakout year.

And while not including Rask or Price was impossible, it’s worth noting that Frederik Andersen and Roberto Luongo would’ve made the cut if they were still with their Pacific teams. Alas.

The good news is we get to enjoy Luongo’s Tweets all weekend.

Maybe this is for the best.


Metropolitan All-Star Snubs

NHL: Boston Bruins at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes
Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins Justin Schultz, Pittsburgh Penguins Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers John Carlson, Washington Capitals
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
Michael Grabner, New York Rangers
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

Hah. You thought the Metro was already loaded.

We don’t appreciate the talent spread across that division enough. The snubs team could run rampant over the whole All-Star tournament, too.

Cam Atkinson’s abandonment to the sidelines would be considered a crime in most states. Under-rated for years, the Blue Jackets’ winger is enjoying his best season with 19 goals and a point-per-game pace. Rookie blue liner Zach Werenski is worthy as well. Possibly over Jones, but it’s hard to quibble with his honor.

Jeff Skinner also receives some love from us for a nice return to form. The other forwards are all worthy of All-Star honors but were never going to make it with their bigger-named teammates making the cut. Though we look forward to this Tweet getting dragged back out during the event when the Metro loses.

And with limited space for goalies and two of the league’s best available in Holtby and Bobrovsky, it’s no wonder Steve Mason and Cam Ward will get the weekend off. In any other format, however, they’d make the cut. Ward’s been propping up the Hurricanes with his best season in years, and Mason is playing like the elite goalie Columbus thought he would become so many years ago.


Central All-Star Snubs

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues N/A
Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild
Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets
Charlie Coyle, Minnesota Wild

Another case where one position was represented accurately by the NHL voters. Arguing either against Devan Dubnyk and Corey Crawford or for any other Central Division goalie is impossible, so we’ll just move on.

And we’ll get to the heart of this section: Did we really need four Blackhawks players again? Really? I know they’re the best team in a suddenly weaker division, but ... oh well. I suppose it was inevitable.

But I’ll argue against Jonathan Toews’ inclusion at the expense of either Mark Scheifele or even his own teammate, Artemi Panarin. Toews has missed some time this year to injury, and he’s been decent when he’s been available. But his year pales in comparison to those two. Panarin is proving his rookie season was no fluke: Panarin has 41 points and five more goals than Patrick Kane on 33 fewer shots. The man is unreal.

And though Scheifele’s red-hot start tapered off a bit, he’s still among the league leaders with 17 goals and a 43 percent goals-per-game clip. He’s developed into a star and leader in Winnipeg and deserves the recognition. He’ll probably replace Patrik Laine, though.

Even then, there’s still some forwards who could make the cut in a perfect world. How about Eric Staal or Charlie Coyle from Minnesota? Nikolaj Ehlers is quietly enjoying as strong as season as anyone in Winnipeg. And it feels like Jamie Benn is having a down year, but he still has 34 points in 38 games.

I’ll also argue for Kevin Shattenkirk’s inclusion over Duncan Keith, simply because Shattenkirk is dynamic in 3-on-3 play and Keith is just ... a boring pick at this point. But I bet that when Keith turns down the event or Subban is too injured to play that Shattenkirk and/or Dustin Byfuglien make the cut.

Actually, probably just Byfuglien. He’s a former Blackhawk.


Pacific All-Star Snubs

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at St. Louis Blues Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports


Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Forwards Defensemen Goalies
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers Alec Martinez, Los Angeles Kings Peter Budaj, Los Angeles Kings
Patrick Maroon, Edmonton Oilers Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks Dougie Hamilton, Calgary Flames
Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames

For the most part, the NHL nailed the Pacific Division. Jeff Carter, Connor McDavid, and Ryan Kesler didn’t leave much room for debate. The Pacific debate hall isn’t very crowded.

But we’ll give some love to a few players we think are worthy of recognition. Leon Draisaitl is the most obvious snub. McDavid’s inclusion made it tough to include other Oilers forwards, but Draisaitl is fourth among Pacific forwards with 15 goals and 35 points. It took two years, but that first round pick is starting to reach his potential.

And Oilers forward Patrick Maroon is quite a revelation: The grinder’s 16 goals are only eclipsed by Carter in the division and 14 other players in the entire NHL. Ryan Getzlaf and Mikael Backlund both warranted consideration for typically strong seasons.

You have to stretch a bit to find Pacific defensemen snubs. Drew Doughty, Brent Burns, and Cam Fowler were all but locks to make the team. But Alec Martinez and Dougie Hamilton had cases: The Kings and Flames defensemen have nearly identical stats, and their 27 points trail only Burns in the Pacific.

The real shame here is that Peter Budaj didn’t make the All-Star Game. The journeyman netminder was called on when Jonathan Quick injured himself in the first week of the season, and it’s Budaj’s play that has the Kings hanging with the Western Conference’s best right now. We would’ve liked to see Budaj get in over Smith.