The NHL has released the final 36 players for the 2015 All-Star Game, and there were a few omissions that are sure to draw the ire of fans around the league. See who made it and who didn’t as we break down the selections.
All-Star fan voting concluded with five members of the Chicago Blackhawks and Latvian hero Zemgus Girgensons getting All-Star nods, but the NHL released the names of the 36 remaining All-Star Game participants on Saturday night.
The list is headlined by obvious selections like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Rick Nash, and Steven Stamkos, but there are some surprise players that will participate, and some names that you’ll be amazed won’t be heading to Columbus for the midseason outing.
One of the pleasant surprises is Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson, who may not have the star power of Stamkos, but joins his teammate as one of only four pairs of forwards selected by the league to represent their respective teams. The other pairs are Philadelphia Flyers duo Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek and Pittsburgh Penguins superstars Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Of course, the Blackhawks will also have Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews participating in the game.
The final twosome that will represent a single team up front are hometown heroes Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen, both of which are certain to get a rousing cheer from the Blue Jackets faithful in attendance. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, he of a shiny new contract, will also represent Columbus.
The game will also be the first All-Star outing for a pair of St. Louis Blues, as breakout star Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will play in their first All-Star contest. Joining them as first-timers are defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona Coyotes), Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames), Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes), Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche).
For forwards, the first-time players will include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers), Bobby Ryan (Ottawa Senators), and Radim Vrbata (Vancouver Canucks). Maybe one of the surprising choices, Vrbata has had an outstanding year for the Canucks, but it’s odd to see an All-Star game that won’t feature the Sedin twins.
And, as hard to believe as it may be, Patrice Bergeron will be making his All-Star Game debut this season, getting the first nod of his 11-year career.
When it comes to shocking omissions, it seems bizarre to see an All-Star Game roster that doesn’t feature Montreal Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban. It’s doubly as shocking considering Subban is on pace for the best season of his career, and he would certainly bring fun to the game, which should be the most important quality a player can have for the half-speed game.
It’s also strange not to see San Jose’s Joe Pavelski among the players selected as he’s only five goals off the NHL lead and has been one of the Sharks best players this season.
While not entirely omitted, Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators will get to take part in the skills competition as a rookie. Though rookies usually don’t get the nod for the All-Star Game, you could argue no Predator is more deserving. Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers), Mike Hoffman (Ottawa Senators), Tanner Pearson (Los Angeles Kings), and Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay Lightning) will join Forsberg as rookies.
However, with fan voting putting five Blackhawks in the lineup – Toews and Kane will be joined by Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and goaltender Corey Crawford – it greatly increased the difficulty of the NHL putting together a lineup of players that best illustrated those that deserve the All-Star recognition while still managing to represent all 30 teams.
The All-Star weekend will begin on Jan. 23, when the teams are selected in fantasy draft fashion by two yet-to-be-named team captains. One would likely assume that a member of the Blue Jackets will be given the keys to one of the teams. The festivities will continue with the skills competition on Jan. 24 and followed by the game on Jan. 25.
You can view the complete roster below.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo Sabres
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators