B/R NHL Roundtable: Players who deserve to be in the 2023 All-Star Game | News, results, highlights, stats and rumours

B/R NHL Roundtable: Players who deserve to be in the 2023 All-Star Game

0 out of 5

    Rich Gresley/NHLI via Getty Images

    It’s hard to argue with the preliminary selections for the 2023 NHL All-Star Game.

    After all, there aren’t many issues that leave the likes of Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Kal Makar or Taige Thompson out of teams. And with the All-Star Game’s unique format — triple rosters based on three divisions, with a representative from every NHL team — deserving players are sadly left in limbo. Fan voting will determine the final three players on each roster, and the competition is fierce.

    With that in mind, this week’s B/R NHL Roundtable decided to take a look at the All-Star Game rosters and select the players worthy of representing their teams. Will Leon Draisaitl join Oilers teammate Connor McDavid at the FLA Live Arena in Florida on February 4? Should we see a surprise player on the roster?

    Have your own opinions on the NHL All-Star game and rosters? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section of the app.

Rasmus Dalin, Buffalo Sabers

1 out of 5

    Realizing that there are a limited number of spots available on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster, Tage Thompson is certainly the Buffalo Sabers player deserving of being selected. But Rasmus Dalin should be there too.

    It seems like a no-brainer for the 22-year-old Swede to earn his second consecutive All-Star nod. He ranks third among defenders in scoring (44 points) and second in goals (12). On Saturday, he had a five-point, two-goal game in an overtime win against the Minnesota Wild and was named the Ice Hockey League’s Third All-Star of the Week. He was also the number one star of the week in October.

    The Sabers score the most goals per game in the league, and in years past, in a different format, they probably had three or four players in the All-Star Game. You could make a case for Alex Tuch or Jeff Skinner, but Dahlin is a legitimate contender for the Norris Trophy based on his offensive and defensive play this season (it’s the offense that gets votes, but shh).

    The numbers go back as to why he left, but there’s also the flash in his game. His highlight reel goals and assists this season are the kind of thing you’d want in a hockey version of the And-1 Mixtape. Don’t you want players who can make defenders look silly trying to recover after faking them off their boots while running away and scoring highs? I know I do, but hey, everyone has different tastes.

    Dahlin may be voted onto the team, but there’s no question he deserves a work vacation in South Florida in February.

    – Joe replies

David Pasternak, Boston Bruins

2 out of 5

    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 13: David Pasternak #88 of the Boston Bruins arrives before the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden on January 13, 2022 in Boston, MA.  (Photo by Steve Papineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Steve Papineau/NHLI via Getty Images

    Linus Ullmark was the locksmith for the 2023 All-Star Game. At least one goaltender is mandatory for each division, and Ullmark compiles one set of the season among the Bruins’ piping, leading to league wins (22-1-1), and saving percentage percentile (.938) and goals versus average. (1.87), to name a few. Boston’s early success could not have happened without him…

    …or his colleague made it happen on the other end, David Pasternak.

    In a contract year, Pasternak’s 58 points are third in the league, and his 32 goals are second. He stepped up and took over the primary scoring job for Boston early in the season when Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and others were out and people were suspicious of the Bruins.

    And of course, with pasta, it’s not just about the number of goals. It’s also ’em nature. He’s delivered his trademark Flash all season, the Flash being the whole point of something like the All-Star Game.

    There’s always a dilemma with these things, though: Would one of the best players in the league who’s on the pace to hit career high numbers want to take a break rather than get in on the action? Could. But perhaps adding another All-Star award to his resume will increase Pastrnak’s clout in what would already be a well-deservedly high salary.

    And we’d be remiss to forget about Miami Vice at the event. Just imagine that fashion icon noticed by the style ratings Pastrnak could be cooking all weekend.

    On and off the ice, he’s just the kind of personality necessary to make the league look good at these events. Everyone wins Pastrnak’s All-Star Game appearance—as long as he sure wants to go.

    Sarah Sifian

Leon Dricetel, Edmonton Oilers

3 out of 5

    With due respect to my fellow learners, there is only one correct answer here.

    Only one of the initial fanatics is a former Hart Trophy winner.

    Just one of the initial fanatics is former Art Ross Cup winner.

    And only one of our initial fanatics would have led the NHL in scoring this year — with four points over a guy named Pastrnak — had it not been for the video game exploits of another guy named McDavid.

    Yes, in case you missed it, Leon Dricetel is very good.

    Oh sure, the Edmonton Oilers are a dumpster fire compared to Pastrnak’s Boston Bruins, and they look as likely as they’ll repeat last spring’s Final Four run as free agent Jack Campbell’s Vezina Trophy victory. But this should not be enough to prevent the Germans from receiving well-deserved praise.

    He leads the league in number of award-winning goals this season, and shares the league lead in power-play goals, picking on the first ballot McDavid and Thompson, and is second in power-play points behind only McDavid. And in the long run, he’s scored more total goals (274) since making his debut as a full-time agent in 2015-16 than any player not named Alex Ovechkin (334) and Auston Matthews (279).

    But it’s not just a statistical thing. And it’s not just about sports writing.

    The NHL elite get to know the game, too.

    Draisaitl was considered the best passer in the league by his peers in the 2021-22 NHLPA Player Poll and he beat out the Ted Lindsay Award as Most Valuable Player in another association’s 2019-20 vote.

    If you rank the player audience again, there are few who deserve more respect.

    Which means if a fourth All-Star Game isn’t in his future, a complete recount is required.

    – Lyle Fitzsimmons

Philip Hronik, Detroit Red Wings

4 out of 5

    DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 6: Philip Hronik #17 of the Detroit Red Wings gets on the ice with the puck against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on January 6, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan.  Florida beat Detroit 3-2.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Dave Regenic/NHLI via Getty Images

    The NHL All-Star Game is less a game of merit than a contest of popularity. that’s good. The event is a promotional tool. The most exciting and entertaining game players gather in one place.

    The best representative of the Detroit Red Wings might be the outstanding American player Dylan Larkin, who has already been selected for the team. Or maybe rising star Lucas Raymond. But if we were debating which Red Wing is more deserving, neither would qualify.

    It’s Philip Hronik. The Czech defender has been a standout player for a few years now, but at the age of 25, he’s starting to explode. He is second on the team with 29 points (seven goals and 22 assists) in 38 games. The Red Wings would likely have contented themselves with those numbers in March, let alone early January. His $4.4 million cap reached this season and in 2023-24 he became one of the best values ​​in the NHL.

    Hronk’s points total ranks 11th among defensemen. Indeed, there is an argument to be made that it belongs in the Norris Cup discussion; Ranks first among all defensemen in goals above substitution, in hockey evolution.

    Detroit’s best defense — no, not Moritz Seider — may not be the trademark name of some of the league’s best players at his position, but he deserves a spot in the All-Star Game. Perhaps the opportunity to take part on the main stage will boost his reputation towards the level his playing guarantees.

    Adam Herman

Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks

5 out of 5

    The NHL selected Elias Pettersson as the Vancouver Canucks representative for this year’s All-Star Game. In doing so, he passed one of the top scorers this season in Bo Horvat.

    Peterson leads the Canucks with 47 points in 37 games. That puts the injured center on course to beat last season’s top 68 by a wide margin if he remains healthy.

    However, Horvat is right behind him with 44 points in 39 games, including a team-leading 29 goals. That puts the 27-year-old among the top five leading scorers this season, sitting just five behind Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid and league-leading 34.

    At his current rate of production, Horvat could reach a career high of 61 goals. This would make him the first Canuck to reach the 50-goal plateau since Pavel Bure in 1997-98.

    This is a significant achievement for Horvat, whose previous career high was 31 in 2021-22. Notably, he’s doing so despite the distraction of his contract year as well as the burden of leading a Canucks team struggling to stay in the Western Conference playoff race.

    Perhaps the trade rumors swirling around Horvat explain why he was passed over by the All-Star selection committee. Whatever the reason, he’s earned his spot in this year’s game. It will be up to the fans to rectify this disdain when they vote to select players to fill the remaining three Pacific Division roster spots.

    – Lyle Richardson

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