The NHL unveiled it’s All-Star Game rosters. Two St. Louis Blues were left off, despite their stats, but it is hard to argue the picks.
It was not that long ago that we discussed how the current NHL All-Star format was not going to be beneficial for the St. Louis Blues. That assertion was proved correct with the unveiling of the NHL All-Star rosters.
Unfortunately, that means Brayden Schenn, David Perron and Jaden Schwartz will all be left off. It would be impossible for the Blues to have six representatives, given there is only six forwards, two defenders and two goaltenders.
Nevertheless, all three of those players are on pace for career seasons or, at least, career numbers in either goals or points. Not coincidentally, all three players are in the top three in scoring for the Blues.
Schenn leads the team in goals as the calendar is about to turn to a new decade. Perron leads the team in points.
Schwartz has more goals at this stage of the 2019-20 season than he had in the entirety of the 2018-19 regular season. He’s also tied with Schenn on points (34 currently).
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Going in, we all knew the Blues would be limited by the format and their own players taking votes away from one another. It still stings to have three guys playing at the top of their game and not be able to attend.
With that said, it is hard to argue with anyone that was picked.
You’re not going to leave Binnington off. He’s tops in the division in wins and at least top three in both goals against and save percentage.
Pietrangelo is a natural choice. There are only so many defensive slots, Petro is currently sixth in the league in defensive scoring and second in the division. Roman Josi is second in the league in and tops the division in defensive scoring, so he makes the other obvious choice.
O’Reilly is the only expendable name from the Blues. He ranks fourth on the team in scoring, though he’s technically tied for second with 34 points. Nevertheless, he has 26 assists on the season. The only two divisional players with more are Nathan MacKinnon and Patrick Kane, both of whom will be on the All-Star team.
Clearly, nobody is going to have a problem with MacKinnon on the team. Blues fans will argue against Kane, but the guy has 20 goals and 47 points playing on a bad team.
Tyler Seguin, Eric Staal, Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck round out the roster. You’re not going to put Jake Allen on the team, so the only logical argument against Hellebuyck would be to have St. Louisan Ben Bishop on the team. Bishop has better save percentage and goals against average numbers, but Hellebuyck has more wins and is a big reason the Winnipeg Jets are still alive.
You can make good cases against having Seguin and Staal on the team. However, both lead their teams in scoring. There is also the tricky aspect of the NHL wanting to have every team represented.
In a perfect world (from a Blues-tinted perspective) the Blues would have two more skaters. Scheifele would represent the Jets, Bishop would be in instead of Hellebuyck and Wild fans would just have to deal with it. There’s been plenty of years that the Blues have had guys on the team only because it was required.
In a more realistic situation, as much as we all love O’Reilly and he is more than deserving of this honor, he would be left off and either Schenn or Perron would go in. Perron makes more sense from a points argument and Schenn makes more sense from needing a center.
Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast. No format would really let the Blues have the number of deserving players they currently have, the three-on-three format just exacerbates the problem. Go figure that in the year the Blues have the most deserving candidates, they have the least number of slots available.
Still, having three guys representing the Central Division when the Blues host the All-Star Game for the first time in over 30 years is more than expected. The Blues are the only team that will have three players on their division’s team too.
Now, if the Central Division can just avoid laying the proverbial egg and looking like garbage as they have the past few years, we will all be in business.
Blues fans can vote for David Perron for the 11th slot on the Central Division team. Beginning on January 1 and running through January 10, Perron will be one of the names available for the Last Men In vote via NHL.com/vote.