EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR TEAM AT THE MID-WAY MARK
There’s no All-Star game due to the shortened season but here’s my list of 12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 3 goaltenders worthy of an all-star selection at the mid-way mark. The all-star selections at the forward position are based the top players this season at their particular positions (LW, C, RW).
1. BUF Thomas Vanek (13G-16A-29Pts) – Having a breakout season
2. PIT Chris Kunitz (14G-17A-31Pts) – Career year for Kunitz who does all the little things and is 3rd in NHL in points and tied for 1st in NHL with +17 rating.
3. NYI Matt Moulson (11G-14A-25Pts) – 3rd in NHL in scoring among left wingers.
4. BOS Brad Marchand (12G-8A-20Pts) – Tied for 8th in the NHL in goals and is a player who brings it every night on arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Just Missed the Cut: NYR Rick Nash
1. PIT Sidney Crosby (11G-28A-39Pts) – Healthy and back as the NHL’s best and most dominant player.
2. TBL Steven Stamkos (18G-17A-35Pts) – 1st in NHL with 18 goals and second in points.
3. CAR Eric Staal (12G-16A-28Pts) – Having a huge bounce back season and has re-emerged as one of the top power forwards in the game. Tied for first in NHL with +17 rating.
4. NYI John Tavares (14G-13A-27Pts) – Has emerged as a true star
Just Missed the Cut: TOR Nazem Kadri
1. PHI Jakub Voracek (12G-17A-29Pts) – Has been the Flyers best player hands down on a night in and night out basis.
2. TBL Marty St. Louis (6G-25A-31Pts) – The 37 year old continues to be one of the best players at his position. Second in NHL with 25 assists.
3. PIT James Neal (15G-8A-23Pts) – One of the NHL’s premier goal scorers in the game.
4. CAR Alex Semin (6G-17A-23Pts) – A part of one of the NHL’s top lines with Staal, Tlusty, Semin is a +17 on the season, tied for first in NHL.
Just Missed the Cut: NJD RW David Clarkson
1. BOS Zdeno Chara (4G-5A-9Pts) – The leagues most intimidating shutdown defenseman
2. PIT Kris Letang (3G-19A-22Pts) – Letang has had his up and down moments this season but leads all defensemen in points and at the mid-way mark is among the top Norris Trophy Candidates
3. MTL Andrei Markov (5G-10A-15Pts) – Healthy and playing a top pairing role, Markov has helped fuel the Canadiens hot start
4. TBL Victor Hedman (4G-7A-11Pts) – Gets the tough matchup every game of playing against the oppositions top players and is a +7 on one of the NHL’s worst defensive teams.
5. PIT Paul Martin (4G-11A-15Pts) – I feel like a homer putting two Penguins defensemen on the All-Star squad when they rank 23rd in the NHL in goals against, but there’s no denying Martin has been one of the Eastern Conference’s top-6 defensemen when you factor in his play at even strength, offensive production and impact as the Penguins power play quarterback.
6. MTL PK Subban (6G-9A-15Pts) – Subban has 15 points in just 18 games and corsi-metric statistics show the impact he’s had when on the ice.
Just Missed the Cut: NYR Dan Girardi
1. BOS Tuukka Rask (11-2-3, 2.09 GAA, .923 sv%) – Rask hasn’t made Bruins fans miss Tim Thomas one bit
2. MTL Carey Price (12-4-3, 2.33 GAA, .912 sv%) – Has emerged as one on the NHL premier goaltenders, making the Canadiens a serious threat in the East.
3. OTT Craig Anderson (8-4-2, 1.49 GAA, .952 sv%) – Working his way back from an ankle injury, Anderson has played a huge part in the Senators being among the league’s best defensive teams.
Just Missed the Cut: NYR Henrik Lundqvist