Top Four NHL All Star Snubs

Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane

Yesterday, the NHL announced the rosters for this year’s new and “improved” All Star Game. Here is a quick look at what the NHL got wrong—the top 4 players snubbed.

1. Blake Wheeler (RW, Winnipeg Jets)

Look, I love Dustin Byfuglien but there’s no question that it’s Blake Wheeler, not Big Buff, who should be representing Winnipeg in the All Star Game.

Wheeler has been one of the few bright spots on a disappointing and under performing Jets squad. Wheeler ranks 4th in the league in assists with 30 and his 40 points are good enough for 7th.

Despite the snub, Wheeler took it all in stride, telling the Winnipeg Sun:

It’s not about me, it’s not about stuff like that. I’m not trying to be humble in front of you, the truth of the matter is that I don’t wake up after a loss feeling much of anything positive. I get more satisfaction from what we did (in Tuesday’s 4-1 win) than being in the Top-10 in scoring. Wins are the rewarding thing. You could finish first in the league in scoring and be sitting there watching the playoffs (at home). It doesn’t matter and nobody cares.
The Washington Capitals are arguably the best team in the NHL right now and a big part of their success is Evgeny Kuznetsov—the talented young Russian centreman.
In recent years, the Capitals have struggled to find an elite second-line center and a secondary goal scoring threat to compliment Alex Ovechkin. Kuznetsov has filled both of those needs in a huge way.
Kuznetsov averages roughly a point a game with 13 goals and 24 assists. Kuzy also has a plus/minus of +18, which is 4th best in the league.

The absence of Stars d-man John Klinberg may be the most head scratching of all of the All Star Game snubs.While Roman Josi (D, Nashville Predators) and Shea Weber (D, Nashville Predators) are certainly fine picks, I have a funny feeling that the NHL was thinking more about where the game is being played (Nashville) than who is most deserving in choosing Josi and Weber over Kinberg.

Klinberg has 6 goals and 32 assists for 38 points. His 32 assists are good enough for 3rd in the league and his point total is 9th in the NHL. Josi (9G, 21A, 30 PTS) and Weber (11G, 15A, 26 PTS) are having monster seasons, but neither has put up the points that Klinberg has so far this year.

I get it. Based purely on production up to this point, Crosby hasn’t earned a spot in the All Star Game. Before warming up recently, Crosby has been mired in a hard-to-understand, season-long slump. Crosby’s 12 goals are only 58th best in the NHL, his 19 assists only 46th best, and his 31 points place him at 36th in the league.

This isn’t, however, a meaningful game. It’s an exhibition game put on by the league for the enjoyment of its fans. Whether folks like it or not, Sidney Crosby is still the face of the NHL. It is a shame that because of injuries and the Olympics, Crosby has only been able to participate in one NHL All Star Game.


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