Believe it or not (care or not may be the more fitting phrase), we're only a little more than three weeks away from the 2017 edition of the NHL All Star game. Captains were named earlier, via fan vote and Sidney Crosby was named as the leader of the Metropolitan Division. Here's what The Hockey News had as a prediction:
Forwards: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (C); Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers; John Tavares, New York Islanders; Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes.
Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals.
Potential snubs: Cam Atkinson has had an incredible season thus far for the Blue Jackets and he’s certainly deserving of the all-star nod, but the limits on the roster make it tough to find a place to fit him in. Barring injury, it’s unlikely the NHL runs an All-Star Game without Alex Ovechkin, and needing to include a player from each club makes Atkinson the unfortunate odd-man out.
With the game being a 3v3 format and only taking six forwards, three defenseman and two goalies (while wanting all eight teams from the division involved) there's bound to be snubs. In fact, in the above preview they (probably accidentally) omitted adding a selection from the Devils.
So even though the Pens have three of thee only eight players in the league who have played more than 20 games and carry a point per game (Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel) one of the two latter names will almost certainly be snubbed due to the constraints of picking teams. Which is no big deal, since rest is probably better on a schedule already compressed from September's World Cup of Hockey and this week's bye week.
It is interesting, and deserved, to see Schultz pick up some national consideration. However, Schultz is 3rd in the division in defenseman scoring (just one point behind both Werenski and McDonagh) and also has more even strength points than either. Schultz may yet be snubbed due to such tight teams, and since the Pens will probably be sending Crosby plus either Malkin/Kessel will probably be involved, it's rare for an Eastern Conference team to send three players to such a small group.
No matter how it slices it will I guess be interesting enough to watch a couple of Penguins on the 3v3 stage.