The NHL All-Star Game rosters were announced this week and many of the candidates are deserving and expected. Now, not everybody’s name announced was expected, as these three first-time NHL All-Stars were surprising choices to make the squad.
The Toronto Maple Leafs forward definitely belongs in the game, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t surprising to hear him announced as one of the selections. I thought they’d go with the bigger name James Van Riemsdyk, who leads the Leafs in points, but Komarov is certainly the more valuable player this season. His previous career high in goals at the NHL level is eight, which he’s almost doubled this season. Through 38 games the Estonian forward has scored 15 goals, 13 assists and 28 points. He’s also a major league pest and makes a huge impact outside the scoresheet. The offensive prowess may disappear in the season’s second half (he’s shooting 18.5 percent, which won’t keep up) but Komarov has been huge for Toronto. It’s weird to think he’s an All-Star, but the choice isn’t completely out of left field. His selection is bizarre because if I would have listed 100 potential All-Stars before the season, Komarov wouldn’t have been on my list.
Recent injury aside, Gibson has been phenomenal for the Ducks, but his sample size is incredibly small for him to be named an All-Star. He’s only started 14 games this season (16 games total) and has posted a stellar 8-5-2 record with a 1.76 GAA and a .929 save percentage. The problem is, he hasn’t even been his team’s number one starter all season, as Frederik Andersen has appeared in 21 games, and the waived Anton Khudobin has appeared in eight. Gibson was selected partly because Pacific Division goaltending has been trash – there really aren’t many better options. So small sample size aside, Gibson is an All-Star, deserving or not. If he is hurt and misses the game, it will be interesting to see which subpar goalie takes his place.
I commend John Scott for taking what was a big joke and running with it. He’s not good enough to play in the NHL, yet because of fan voting he’s going to be a captain at the All-Star game. His deficiencies are obvious and yes he shouldn’t be an All-Star, but the voting process and the game itself is a joke, so allowing the fans to have a little fun is somewhat refreshing. For those who think his selection is some sort of grave error, I suggest you lighten up, because watching the 6’8″ Scott participate in All-Star weekend is going to be massively entertaining. He’s without a doubt the worst All-Star ever, and would never be in the game without fans help, so yes he’s about as bizarre a choice as possible, but he’s the fan’s choice and the game is better because he’s in it.