Yesterday we learned who would be heading to Las Vegas for NHL All-Star weekend on February 4-5. With fans voting on the Captains for each of the four divisions in the NHL and the rest of the rosters being selected by NHL Hockey Operations, here is who will make up the four divisional All-Star teams for 2022:
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) January 13, 2022
There are plenty of familiar faces in this year’s All-Star Game with Connor McDavid, Victor Hedman, Nathan MacKinnon, and Alex Ovechkin, as well as 18 newcomers who will be in their first All-Star Game, including Alex DeBrincat and Cale Makar.
Following the reveal of the rosters yesterday, Colorado Avalanche star and now four-time NHL All-Star Nathan MacKinnon didn’t mince words when talking about his teammate Nazem Kadri, who is fourth in the NHL in scoring, being snubbed of an All-Star selection…
— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) January 14, 2022
Yes, much like the MLB All-Star selection process, every NHL team has to have at least one member representing them at the All-Star weekend. It’s a dumb rule.
For instance, Patrick Kane will not be an NHL All-Star this year, but Nick Suzuki, who is 160th in NHL scoring this season, will be. Yes, I know they are in different divisions, but the point stands that the voting format leaves a lot of deserving players out. All-Star selections can mean bonus money for some of these guys or be used for or against them at the end of their careers when talking about Hall of Fame credentials.
The NHL has implemented a second-tier of fan voting to their All-Star game format with the “Last Man In” vote, allowing the fans to pick the final member of each divisional team, regardless of how many of their teammates already are on the rosters. Here’s who fans can vote for this year for the “Last Man In” vote:
You get to decide who are the Last Men In for the 2022 #NHLAllStar Weekend!
Who's got your ballot? ⬇️
— NHL (@NHL) January 14, 2022
Each of these lists could be another full roster of deserving NHL All-Stars. Do you mean to tell me that I have to choose only ONE of Nazem Kadri, Seth Jones, or Phil Kessel in the Central Division? Or in the Atlantic Division, only one of Aleksander Barkov, John Tavares, Charlie McAvoy, or Steven Stamkos (who is sixth in the NHL in scoring) can get in? But we get Clayton Keller and Adrian Kempe.
It’s flawed. I want to see the best players represented at the All-STAR weekend, with emphasis on STAR. What the NHL should do is create eight All-Star teams based on the best players from eight countries. Have them play a 5-on-5 tournament and award the top three teams medals, like Gold, Silver, and Bronze…wait… never mind.
Over recent years, the way the NHL All-Star game and weekend festivities have evolved has been good for the event. We used to watch a half-hearted, 5-on-5, non-checking game where scores would get into the 20’s. With the addition of the 3-on-3 tournament-style of play and the revamped skills competitions over the years, the whole spectacle has become more watchable. But we all still would want to see the very BEST in the league, rather than most of the best.
The 2022 NHL All-Star Game will be Saturday, February 5, on ABC and ESPN+ at 2:00 p.m. CT, with the Skills Competition taking place the day before on Friday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.