NHL All-Star Game Snubs

Story posted January 19, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Josh Bartosik

The Last Men In for the NHL 2022 All-Star Game have been announced for each division, finalizing the rosters for the events during the first weekend in February.

While each All-Star is more than deserving of a selection, there are some players that certainly got robbed of a weekend in Vegas.

Mat Barzal, Center, New York Islanders

There hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer about on Long Island as of late, but Mat Barzal is surely an exception. Barzal has excelled every time he hits the ice, with seven goals and 16 assists for a total of 23 points in 29 games, nearly at a point per game pace. 

Barzal has also fine tuned his work in the faceoff circle. Although it’s not as flashy as putting the biscuit in the basket, his 48.28 faceoff win percentage is his highest in his young career. The former first rounder was one of  the NHL’s Last Men In candidates, but he was beat out by Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel.

Igor Shesterkin, Goalie, New York Rangers

Staying in the Metropolitan Division, the Big Apple is home to one of the best and youngest goaltenders in the NHL.

Igor Shesterkin is only in his third season and has been putting up unreal numbers. Shesterkin leads all goalies with a 1.99 goals against average and a .939 save percentage and is one of the main reasons the New York Rangers are fighting for a top spot in the division.

Both Frederick Andersen from Carolina and Pittsburgh’s Tristian Jarry have had outstanding seasons and earned their spot in the All-Star Game, but it’s hard to believe that a potential top-three Vezina Trophy finalist isn’t going to be catching a flight to Vegas this year.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Center, Washington Capitals

It’s no easy task to get all the best players from the Metropolitan Division into the All-Star Game considering it is the toughest division in the NHL, into the All-Star Game. However, Evgeny Kuznetsov should have been a lock.

Playing perhaps the best all around hockey of his career, Kuznetsov has lit the lamp 12 times along with 27 helpers for 39 points in 37 games this season. He is on pace to finish at or above his 2017-2018 totals, where he finished with 83 points in 79 games, setting a career high in goals and points.

Overshadowed by his teammate Alex Ovechkin breaking a record nearly every game it seems, Kuznetsov still found himself on the NHL’s Last Men In ballot, but suffered the same fate as Mat Barzal, losing to Jake Guentzel.

Roman Josi, Defenseman, Nashville Predators

Moving on to the Western Conference, Roman Josi is another player having a remarkable season and yet still couldn’t find himself on the final roster.

The former Norris Trophy winner has put up 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points in 39 games this season, good for second in points among all NHL Defensemen, along with a six-game point streak that reached its end in Vancouver. Josi is only four goals away from breaking his previous record in a single season, and he has tied his record for power play goals with seven.

As is the trend this season, Josi was also on the NHL’s Last Men in ballot, but he was beat out by Colorado’s Nazem Kadri.

Jason Robertson, Left Winger, Dallas Stars

This pick is a bit more outlandish than others, but Jason Robertson has been one of the hottest players in the league the past month (12 points in nine games) alongside Jake Guentzel (11 points in eight games).

Robertson isn’t always the flashiest guy on the ice or even on his team with the likes of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, but he always finds a way to get on the scoresheet. With a seven and eight-game point streak so far this season, Robertson has been on a scoring tear with 32 points in 28 games, 13 of them goals.

The runner up in Calder Trophy voting last year, Robertson has gone from a rookie sensation to one of the Dallas Stars’ top contributors. He has struggled to stay healthy this season, missing the first six games of the season with a shoulder injury, being put in COVID-19 protocol a few weeks ago, and now currently nursing a lower body injury.

If Robertson had managed to stay healthy all year, his chances of going to the All-Star Game in Vegas would certainly have skyrocketed.

Josh Bartosik is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email joshbartosik13@gmail.com.