This season saw new changes to the voting system for All-Star Weekend. With the League trying to give fans as much of a voice in the selection process while also avoiding another John Scott situation, they came up with a solution. In addition to being able to choose the captains of each division, a final roster spot was open for people to decide who went to San Jose on January 25th and 26th. The NHL announced the last men in on Friday afternoon.
Final All-Star Nominations Announced
YOUR VOTES HAVE BEEN COUNTED!
— NHL (@NHL) January 11, 2019
The Buffalo Sabres are having an incredible turnaround season so far. Much of their success is attributed to Jeff Skinner. General Manager Jason Botterill paid the Carolina Hurricanes a hefty price in August to acquire the 26-year-old. Through 43 games with his new team, it’s paid off in spades for the Sabres. He’s recorded a whopping 29 goals and 13 assists for 42 points. Additionally, Skinner is currently tied for second in the league for goals scored. Amongst elite company, he’s behind only Washington Capitals‘ Alex Ovechkin and matched with John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canadian winger is also tied alongside three others for the lead in game-winning goals with seven.
Skinner is well on his way to setting career numbers in leading Buffalo to their first run at the playoffs in a long time. All in all, his offensive resurgence more than warrants him a spot in his first All-Star game appearance since his Calder-winning rookie year in 2010-11.
Following his nomination, Kris Letang ties Hall of Famer Paul Coffey for most All-Star Game appearances by a defenseman in Pittsburgh Penguins history. His fifth selection is certainly well-deserved. Once again, the Penguins are racing for another Metropolitan Division title. This is due in large part to Letang’s offensive production. The blueliner is tied with Ottawa Senators‘ new star, Thomas Chabot, for third-most goals by a defenseman. His 10 goals and 27 assists count for the seventh most points amongst defenders with 37. Three game-winning goals also ties Letang with eight other blueliners for most in the NHL.
The Montreal native earned a spot on the All-Star roster in 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2018 as well. This comes as yet another well-earned accolade in a storied future Hall of Fame career.
It’s easy to forget that this Colorado Avalanche team is only a couple seasons removed from an abysmal 48 point campaign. This quick turnaround is due in large part to Captain Gabriel Landeskog. Following his selection, the Avalanche become the only team with three forwards representing their team in San Jose. He joins linemates Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon who was nominated as Central Division captain. This line has been one of the most electric storylines of the season. Anchored by the Swedish native, Landeskog ranks fifth in the league with 27 goals. His 24 assists contribute to a 51 point total through 44 games so far, tied for 15th most in the NHL. Alongside the aforementioned Skinner, he is tied for a league-leading seven game-winning goals.
The trio’s 185 combined points have lit up the league and will likely light up the All-Star Game. Like Rantanen, this is Landeskog’s first appearance of his career.
Often overshadowed by teammate Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl finally gets his well-earned recognition. The 23-year-old centerman is having yet another elite season. His 23 goals rank him 15th in the league alongside fellow All-Star Steven Stamkos. 31 assists add to his 54 points, putting the German native at 10th most so far. While the Edmonton Oilers haven’t been having a stellar year, Draisaitl keeps them afloat alongside McDavid.
Following back-to-back 70+ point seasons and being well on his way to a third, he finally is lauded as an All-Star. He will head to San Jose to further represent the Oilers later this month. This is Draisaitl’s first nomination of his career.
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