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Picking the Real NHL All-Star Teams

Saturday evening, the NHL All-Star teams were announced and like usual, there were some head scratchers. The rule that every team must get an All-Star led to Zemgus Girgensons and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins finding their way on teams while Nikita Kucherov and Nicklas Backstrom were left off. If the All-Star game was really an all-star game, then the best players would be there (still by position), not some of the best players and some players who just happened to be the best on a poor team. If the All-Star game really lived up to its billing, this would be 4 forward lines, 3 defense pairings and two goalies that would suit up for both the east and west.

NOTE: Each team will be composed of 4 left wings, 4 centers, 4 right, wings, 6 defenseman ( the side they generally play is not being taken into account) and two goaltenders. So for example, just because there may be 5 centers worthy, a center will not be moved to a wing to fit on the team. Also, not every team will be represented. Also, full explanations will not be given for each individual pick. With any serious questions as to why I picked someone over another, feel free to ask via the comments, contact me @jameyvinnick@hotmail.com or on twitter @jameyvinnick9

Eastern Conference

Left Wings:

Rick Nash, 39 GP, 26 G, 15 A, +19

Max Pacioretty, 41 GP, 18 G, 15 A, +22

Ondrej Palat, 39 GP, 9 G, 23 A, +21

James Van Riemsdyk, 42 GP, 19 G, 21 A, -7

It’s an interesting group of left wingers. Notably omitted here are Alex Ovechkin and Nick Foligno, but if you take a look at both of there stats, both excel on the powerplay while their even strength numbers are only average. Ovechkin also doesn’t play the penalty kill at all. Palat and Pacioretty give up some points to those two, but also have terrific +/- ratings, and are much better at even strength

Center:

Claude Giroux, 41 GP, 14 G, 32 A, +7

Evgeni Malkin, 41 GP, 19 G, 28 A, +2

Tyler Johnson, 42 GP, 17 G, 28 A, +26

Sidney Crosby, 38 GP, 12 G, 32 A, +10

How deep is the position when the toughest decision involves whether or not Crosby should make it? In the end though, Sid’s point totals and +/- just narrowly beat out Nicklas Backstrom who has been better in the dot, but has been slightly less productive offensively.

Right Wing: 

Jakub Voracek, 42 GP, 16 G, 34 A, +11

Nikita Kucherov, 43 GP, 17 G, 24 A, +26

Ryan Callahan, 38 GP, 12 G, 19 A +8

Martin St. Louis, 39 GP, 14 G, 18 A, +4

Unlike center, left wing is really a thin position in the east. Kyle Okposo was a tough guy to leave off here, but comparatively to Callahan and St. Louis, his numbers were better, but he had less goals and he was a minus while the other two were plus.

Defense:

John Carlson, 41 GP, 5 G, 26 A, +15

P.K. Subban, 41 GP, 8 G, 19 A, +10

Cody Franson, 40 GP, 6 G, 21 A, +2

Victor Hedman, 25 GP, 5 G, 20 A, +10

Danny DeKeyser, 40 GP, 2 G, 13 A, +3

Aaron Ekblad, 39 GP, 5 G, 18 A, +11

I know everyone who reads this is going to immediately question DeKeyser, but the 24 year old has been a rock in his own end. He’s never going to be a high offensive producer, but DeKeyser has earned the trust enough of Mike Babcock to play a large amount of special teams time, and is often one of their go to guys late in the games and that leads him to just edging out Anton Stralman here.

Goalies:

Marc-Andre Fleury, 33 GP, 21-7-4, 2.16 GAA, .926 SV, 6 SO

Carey Price, 34 GP, 22-10-2, 2.19 GAA, .928 SV, 2 SO

Could’ve gone with 4 guys here including Howard and Luongo, but these two have some high save percentages, and Fleury boasts a league best 6 shutouts. Let it be noted though, had Henrik Lundqvist played like he has been recently, he runs away with a spot.

Depth Chart:

Nash-Giroux-Voracek

Van Riemsdyk-Malkin-Kucherov

Palat-Johnson-Callahan

Pacioretty-Crosby-St. Louis

Carlson-Franson

Hedman-Subban

Ekblad-Dekeyser

Fleury

Price

 

Western Confefrence:

Left Wings:

Jamie Benn, 41 GP, 12 G, 24 A, -1

Daniel Sedin, 40 GP, 9 G, 27 A, +4

Johnny Gaudreau, 42 GP, 13 G, 19 A, +10

Filip Forsberg, 41 GP, 14 G, 24 A, +22

If just generic forwards were being picked not based off position, I’m not sure any of these guys make it. Left Wing has not been a deep position this year in the west and while most of these guys have had good seasons, none of them have been elite. On NHL.Com, Forsberg is listed as a center, however it’s well documented he has played LW on the Mike Ribeiro line throughout the season.

Center:

Tyler Seguin, 41 GP, 26 G, 22 A, +3

Ryan Getzlaf, 41 GP, 13 G, 32 A, +6

Jonathan Toews, 42 GP, 13 G, 23 A, +13

Joe Pavelski, 43 GP, 21 G, 16 A, +10

Center is extremely deep in the west. The 4th spot was a decision between Pavelski, Hudler and Couture, but Pavelski’s ridiculous faceoff numbers in comparison to the lackluster ones of Hudler and Couture just slightly give him the edge here.

Right Wing:

Patrick Kane, 42 GP, 20 G, 25 A, +7

Vladimir Tarasenko, 42 GP, 23 G, 21 A, +23

Blake Wheeler, 42 GP, 12 G, 20 A, +9

Radim Vrbata, 37 GP, 16 G, 13 A, -1

Right wing is extremely top heavy with two studs in Kane and Tarasenko but after that it drops off considerably. Jason Pominville was the only other guy in strong consideration, but Vrbata gets the edge due to three less games and a higher goal total.

Defense:

Kevin Shattenkirk, 42 GP, 7 G, 30 A, +18

Mark Giordano, 43 GP, 10 G, 26 A, +16

Shea Weber, 41 GP, 10 G, 19 A, +15

T.J. Brodie, 43 GP, 8 G, 20 A, +18

Roman Josi, 41 GP, 7 G, 20 A, +11

Duncan Keith, 41 GP, 6 G, 20 A, +10

Keith is the only iffy guy here because of his sometimes suspect defensive play, but other guys like Drew Doughty and Ryan Suter who are normally amongst the league’s best haven’t been as good as they usually have so Keith gets the edge in this one.

Goalies:
Pekka Rinne, 28-6-2, 1.98 GAA, .930 SV, 3 SO

Michael Hutchinson, 11-4-2, 2.00 GAA, .931 SV, 1 SO

Rinne is a no-brainer as he’s been magnificent all year, while Hutchinson came out of absolutely nowhere to put up stellar numbers. The only other goaltenders who can compare are Crawford and Elliott, and Hutchinson has the GAA over Crawford and the SV over Hutchinson.

Depth Chart:

Forsberg-Seguin-Kane

Benn-Getzlaf-Tarasenko

Gaudreau-Toews-Wheeler

Sedin-Pavelski-Vrbata

Giordano-Shattenkirk

Brodie-Weber

Josi-Keith

Rinne

Hutchinson

 

 

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