Roster selections for the 2019-20 NHL season All-Star Game were released Monday. Not surprisingly, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, David Pastrnak, John Carlson and Jordan Binnington all made the list.
But not everyone you’d expect to see on the ice in St. Louis on Jan. 25 was named (and we aren’t talking about Alex Ovechkin, who opted to skip the weekend of festivities). Our NHL experts crew each picked out a big snub — and then listed who they’d select as the “Last Man In” for each division. So who was wrongly left off the All-Star rosters? Let’s dive in.
Who is the biggest snub among the NHL All-Star Game selections?
What a bizarre decision by the NHL to have neither Sebastian Aho nor Svechnikov on either the Metropolitan Division All-Star Game roster or on the “Last Man In” option. (No disrespect to potential “last man” Teuvo Teravainen intended.) Aho got his All-Star moment last season, so it should have been Svechnikov’s turn after 17 goals (two of them lacrosse style!) and 21 assists in 39 games. Having him replace Ovechkin would have been both appropriate and poetic. — Greg Wyshynski, senior NHL writer
Have we ever had an eventual Hart Trophy finalist purposefully snubbed for that same season’s All-Star Game? Only McDavid and Draisaitl have more points than Marchand, and yet the Bruins’ game-changer isn’t even included on the “Last Man In” ballot. It’s absurd. What’s worse, next month’s gathering in St. Louis will be altogether a lesser event without the league’s most notorious villain involved. — Victoria Matiash, fantasy hockey analyst
Marchand — a legitimate MVP candidate — is the biggest snub, no doubt about it. But I’m also peeved to not have Perron in the mix. The Blues have a league-high three players representing, and rightfully so, as they are hosting the event and are the defending Stanley Cup champs. But it feels weird that the team’s leading scorer isn’t among them. Perron is on pace for a career year at age 31. I’d love to see him get rewarded for it. — Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter
Since there’s enough consideration already here over a certain Boston forward, I’ll go in another direction and maybe a little off the board. Markstrom has had a quietly strong season, and he is a big reason the Canucks have been better than most of us projected. His win-loss record isn’t great, but he’s fifth in the league in save percentage among starters at .919 and is seventh overall in goals-saved above average, per Natural Stat Trick.
Vegas needed an entry, and Marc-Andre Fleury is a lot of fun, but I would have liked to see Markstrom, especially amid personal hardship in losing his father in November. He deserved a nod. — Chris Peters, hockey prospects analyst
It certainly doesn’t hurt that he gets to play with Mark Stone, but dynamic duos are all the rage in the league these days, and there are plenty of players on the list who aren’t exactly doing all of the heavy lifting themselves anyway. Pacioretty is quietly trekking toward a career season, on an 82-game pace of 31 goals, 78 points and 330 shots. To put those figures into perspective, he’s 15th in raw points, tied for 13th in primary points with Ovechkin and Jake Guentzel, and third in shots behind just Ovechkin and Nathan MacKinnon. That’s decent company. — Dimitri Filipovic, hockey analytics writer
As a defenseman, he’s the second-leading scorer on an Avalanche team that currently has the second-most points in the Western Conference — not to mention the fact that he’s a rookie playing just over 20 minutes per game at almost a point per game pace. His 29 points in 31 games puts him eighth in defensemen scoring. The All-Star Game is meant to showcase the very best the NHL has to offer, and that should include the league’s best rookie. — Rick DiPietro, radio host and former NHL goalie
Braden Holtby is one of the top goalies in the NHL, but his numbers aren’t even the best on his own team this season (see: Ilya Samsonov) — and Holtby’s .908 even-strength save percentage is tied for 42nd in the league among goalies with 10-plus appearances. Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo has admirably stepped into the starter’s net, keeping the Blue Jackets in games this season … and I know there’s that whole “someone from every team” thing.
But what am I missing with Varlamov? He’s 13-3-3 with a .930 even-strength save percentage. His Islanders are second in the Metropolitan Division, once again soaring past expectations, in part because of his play. The only thing holding Varlamov back might be the fact that his netmate, Thomas Greiss, plays nearly half the time at nearly the same level. But Varly deserves All-Star status this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this wrong righted as an injury replacement for Korpisalo. — Ben Arledge, NHL editor
Bishop trails Binnington and Connor Hellebuyck in wins but has been the more efficient goalie on the ice, holding edges in save percentage (.926) and goals-against average (2.34). Despite a recent slump by the Stars over the past month, Bishop’s rates have still remained strong at .921 and 2.56 for December, has had a save percentage of .900 or better in seven of his nine starts this month and notched a 41-save win Saturday. The hometown goalie Binnington has to be there, but I would have picked Bishop for the second netminder spot in the Central. — Sachin Chandan, fantasy hockey editor
Our picks for the “Last Man In” for each division
Kaplan: Aleksander Barkov (Atlantic), Mika Zibenejad (Metropolitan), David Perron (Central), Quinn Hughes (Pacific)
Peters: Mitch Marner (Atlantic), Teuvo Teravainen (Metropolitan), Cale Makar (Central), Max Pacioretty (Pacific)
Filipovic: Aleksander Barkov (Atlantic), Teuvo Teravainen (Metropolitan), Cale Makar (Central), Max Pacioretty (Pacific)
DiPietro: Patrice Bergeron (Atlantic), Mika Zibanejad (Metropolitan), Cale Makar (Central), Max Pacioretty (Pacific)
Matiash: Aleksander Barkov (Atlantic), Mika Zibanejad (Metropolitan), David Perron (Central), Quinn Hughes (Pacific)
Arledge: Aleksander Barkov (Atlantic), Mika Zibanejad (Metropolitan), Cale Makar (Central), Max Pacioretty (Pacific)
Chandan: Mitch Marner (Atlantic), Teuvo Teravainen (Metropolitan), David Perron (Central), Quinn Hughes (Pacific)