The 2016 All-Star rosters were revealed today, and Taylor Hall was the Oilers' lone representative. It's usually far from an outrage for a last place team (in both the division and conference) to only send one player to the all-star game. But this year, the dynamic duo of Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl have been swiffering oil country. Draisaitl remains a relative unknown in other markets, and understandably so, based on the team's play. Nevertheless, his scoring numbers would suggest that he deserved strong consideration for a spot in the all-star game.
The six forwards who will be representing the Pacific division are:
Obviously Scott was selected as a captain, because of a joke campaign, meant to make fun of the all-star game. I personally have no problem with this. I didn't cast a fan ballot, but I'll probably tune in to the game, just out of curiosity, to see what the big enforcer will look like playing 3 on 3 against the league best.
The all-star game itself is a joke. But the honour of being non-ironically selected to play isn't nothing. It may not make or break a hall of fame case, the way pro bowls do in the NFL. But it's nice to see the most deserving players get selected.
Draisaitl ranks 7th in the Pacific in point scoring. Five forwards and Brent Burns (who also made the ASG) are ahead of him. I don't expect shot-metrics to be taken into consideration for an all-star game, so I won't use them to analyze Draisaitl's case, even though his are very good. I also don't expect anyone to take the fact that Leon wasn't called up until the 11th game into consideration. Players are being selected based on a small enough sample as it is. If someone's played fewer games than everyone else, he better have made the games he did play count. Draisaitl certainly did. He leads the division in points per game.
Yet there are still five forwards in the division with more points than him. Hall, Gaudreau, Pavelski, and both of the Sedins. Four of these guys made the ASG roster, with Henrik being the only exception. If I were a Canucks fan I would probably be writing about how Henrik Sedin should get to join his brother at the all-star game. Also, I would probably smell terrible, as most Canucks fans do.
Henrik has two more points than Draisaitl does, but has also played seven more games. My assertion is that with how impressive point-per-game production is in today's NHL, accomplishing that feat in a 31 game sample should warrant an ASG selection. But whichever way you slice it, either Leon or Henrik would be a more worthy selection than Corey Perry, who has only managed to record 25 points through 38 games this season.
I'm not saying that Perry isn't a fantastic player. He is, but with John Gibson already representing the Ducks at the all-star game, Perry's selection is mainly a reputation pick. Perry leads his team in points, and has scored the eighth most goals in the division. But if not for the former MVP's reputation as an elite player, guys like Draisaitl and Tyler Toffoli would have been picked over Perry, based on their performances in 2015-16.
The highest profile snub from this year's all-star game, without a doubt, was Sidney Crosby. Based purely on this season's performance, it's entirely defensible to leave Crosby off the Metropolitan roster. But the inclusions of Perry on the Pacific roster, and Jonathan Toews on the Central division roster prove that past performances count for something, since there's no way that either of those players would have been included based on this year's production alone.
Crosby has outscored both Perry and Toews this year. Furthermore, He ranks higher within his own division's scoring race than either of them. Crosby ranks sixth in Metro division scoring, and has likely been the best player in the entire league for the past decade. Somehow this doesn't merit a selection. Toews is tied for twentieth in Central division scoring, and has averaged 0.45 fewer points per game during his career than Crosby has, yet his reputation is worth an all-star game nod.
There's a simple explanation for all of this. The NHL simply doesn't put much thought into the selection process for the all-star game. The rosters are mostly made up of the top scorers of each division, with a few big names having off-years sprinkled in. There's no real rhyme or reason to who gets in based on 2015-16, and who gets in on rep. The no-brainers are all there, but beyond that it's a crap shoot. I wasn't sure how I felt about Draisaitl's omission at first, but upon closer inspection, it's just not something that anyone should fret over. John Scott's a captain, Crosby's watching from home, the whole thing's more of a publicity stunt for the league than an actual honour. No one should devote any effort to analyzing these selections. Sorry for wasting your time.