What makes a player an NHL All-Star? First, they need to be playing at an elevated level in comparison to the field. They cannot have a mediocre season, and are playing at an elite level that year. Many of the players who are multiple-time All-Stars are either the best player on a team, or the ones who fans endear the most.
There are many traits an athlete has that translate to being an All-Star: intangibles, flare, skill, likeability, and the stats to back everything up. However, great players get excluded every year. Here are three glaring snubs in this year’s NHL All-Star Game.
The Biggest 2017 NHL All-Star Game Snubs
Artemi Panarin is in the middle of a phenomenal season for the Chicago Blackhawks. This second-year player is making the most of his opportunities playing alongside Patrick Kane. Panarin is having a great year statistically – 42 points (17 goals & 25 assists) in 40 games- only behind line mate Kane who has 45 points. He is in the top three in goals (17), assists (25) and plus/minus (15) for the Blackhawks. When he is on the ice something positive is happening for Chicago. He is extremely productive on the offensive side of the puck.
There are many great players on the Blackhawks. Not being able to include everyone is normal, but Panarin is playing too well to exclude him from the festivities. Just to give some context; Jonathan Toews was named an All-Star this year, and Panarin doubled his point total for the year so far.
Mark Scheifele‘s omission from the All-Star Game is just wrong. He has consistently been the best player for the Winnipeg Jets so far this season. Statistically he is having an impressive first half (17 goals and 20 assists). In fact, the line of Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrik Laine and Scheifele each have 37 total points so far this season. He is stepping into a leadership role for the Jets, which is extremely valuable when pairing him with two young stars in Laine and Ehlers.
The argument for Laine being in the All-Star Game is understandable, he is an electrifying goal-scoring machine. However, Scheifele’s two-way ability, scoring touch and play-making skill is too much to ignore. His all-around game and production should have landed him a spot on the All-Star team.
Cam Atkinson is having a career season for the surprisingly successful Columbus Blue Jackets. He has 40 points so far – 20 goals and 20 assists- which is more than he’s had at this point in any season in his NHL career. He was one of the main contributors for Columbus during their 16-game win streak. Atkinson leads in goals and points, and is third in assists for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is playing offense at an elite level, and the league should definitely begin to notice how important he is to the Blue Jackets and their future success.
Sergei Bobrovsky is deserving of a spot on the All-Star roster, he’s their best player. Atkinson is the spark plug on the offensive side of the puck. He changes the scoring dynamic for the Blue Jackets. An argument can be made that without Atkinson’s breakout performance this year, Columbus is still a bottom dweller in the NHL.