The NHL’s Christmas break may have begun, but there are still some interesting items to consider during the pause in the action. One item was the league announcing the 2020 all-star captains.
Your #NHLAllStar Division Captains will be as follows:— NHL (@NHL) December 22, 2019
Atlantic Division - David Pastrnak (@pastrnak96)
Central Division - Nathan MacKinnon (@Mackinnon9)
Metropolitan Division - Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8)
Pacific Division - Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) pic.twitter.com/YuU9ypQT4c
The concept of the game have changed a lot in recent years with the format of the four divisions squaring off in 3-on-3 action. Each division only provides 11 players (nine skaters and two goalies). In the Eastern Conference each division has eight teams, and since each team is going to be represented the math typically adds up to just one player from each team going to the game. Ten players are named at first and then a “last man in” is voted on.
Last season, Kris Letang was that last man in, and Sidney Crosby was also representing the Penguins in the all star game. They helped lead the Metro to win it all, Crosby was named MVP and soon after donated the car he won as a result to a veteran single parent because, well, that’s Sidney Crosby for ya.
But what about this year, who will the Pens send?
Crosby’s played 17 games and missed 19 with his injury, so he’ll be out.
Letang may be in a stronger position than many might realize to get into the game. Only Washington’s John Carlson (with an electric 48 points in 38 games) and Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton (with 35 points in 37 games) have more points so far this season from the Metropolitan Division than Letang (25 points in 28 games). Letang may well be back in that “last man in” vote that he won last season.
Up front, there are two choices for Pittsburgh. First and foremost, there’s Jake Guentzel. He’s played in all 36 of the Pens’ games this season, which in and of itself is a remarkable achievement for a team so beset by injuries and illness. Guentzel leads the Pens in goals (18) and points (37) to date. He’s a worthy all-star to be sure.
But there’s also a tried and true, seven time all-star in Evgeni Malkin that’s in the picture. Malkin has 31 points in 23 games, he’s missed time with injury but also arguably been the most explosive and impactful player for Pittsburgh this season.
Tristan Jarry also has to be considered, being as he currently leads the league in save percentage (.939%) and goals against average (1.86). However Jarry only has 14 starts this season, and often times the goalie spot in the all-star game is used to shoehorn in a player from a team lacking a standout offensive player, given that again the ASG is more about getting one player from each team in more than the player having the best season.
In that realm, it’s easy to see Philly’s Carter Hart and NYI’s Thomas Greiss being the goalie representatives from the Metro just so those teams without big skaters can be checked off and things move along to the rest of the roster.
So, the likely choice for the Pens’ all-star rep right now seems to boil down to Jake vs. Gene. Who ya got?
Who is the better choice if the Pens can only send one player to the all-star game?
This poll is closed