Metro’s depth makes for tough decisions.
The toughest division in hockey so far this season has been the Metropolitan. We follow the same format for our prediction’s in our selection of the all-stars in the division. The picks are as follows:
|Washington||Forward||Alex Ovechkin (C)|
|New York Islanders||Forward||John Tavares|
|New York Islanders||Forward||Josh Bailey|
|New Jersey||Forward||Taylor Hall|
|New York Rangers||Goalie||Henrik Lundqvist|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||Goalie||Sergei Bobrovsky|
This team was a lot harder to select, and unlike the Atlantic division team, every member of this squad deserves to be named an all-star. Many more teams are in the playoff hunt, and many more players are putting up big numbers and having a big season.
Ovechkin has already been named captain and will be making the trip to Tampa. He was a sure-fire selection, as he leads the league in goals.
The Islander duo of Bailey and Tavares should be selections. Both are tied at 50 points and sit just below Nikita Kucherov‘s league-leading 57 points. They are huge reasons why the Islanders are in the playoff hunt. While it is no surprise that Tavares is lighting up the scoreboard, Bailey has been a name that has surfaced recently, seemingly out of nowhere, in the Art Ross Trophy race for most points.
Lundqvist and Bobrovsky are far and away the two best goalies in the division this year. No other goalie in the metro has a higher goals against average, save percentage, or goals saved above average than the two of them. With no team needing their goalie to be their only representative, these two are locks to make the team.
Defending back-to-back champion Pittsburgh will likely only see one of their forwards make the team. Crosby is the pick here due to his name, two-way game, and the aura that surrounds him. It will be hard for the NHL Hockey Operations Staff to look over putting in Crosby, who is still having a decent year with 14 goals and 22 assists.
Phil Kessel is having a solid year, sitting 11th in points and first in power play points.
The Flyers have both Giroux and Jakub Voracek, both tied for the sixth most points in the NHL, as well as Sean Couturier, and all deserve a selection. Couturier is posting a relative Corsi of 7.3, meaning the team controls seven percent more shot attempts with him on the ice, as well as a cool 54.2% winning percentage in the face-off circle. Giroux will just edge out the other two as he has a solid 6.9 relative Corsi, higher than Voracek’s 1.2.
Just Made The Cut
It is not to say that Taylor Hall does not deserve to make the all-star team, but without being the Devils’ sole representative, there is a possibility he could have been passed over. He is still having a remarkable 40-point season, good for seventh most in the metro, but the remarkable competition pegs him as one of the last forward in.
Noah Hanifin is the player that most benefits from each team being represented by at least one player. Hanifin is the best defenseman in Carolina but comes in eighth among defenseman in scoring with 20 points. He is, however, third in relative Corsi. He should be the only member of the Hurricanes on the squad but has the potential to return to future all-star games, as he is still a promising young defenseman.
Andres Lee has been burying all the goals on a line with Bailey and Tavares and is second behind Ovechkin in goals for the division. There is probably not a scenario where Lee is added along with both Bailey and Tavares to the game, but he definitely deserves to be there.
Artemi Panarin is sitting at 14th among forwards in the division in points. He is first in both even-strength time on ice and relative Corsi among forwards in the entire NHL (players with at least 25 games played this season). The advanced stats show he has been a workhorse for his team and is doing it on the wing, which is rare in today’s NHL
The Metropolitan can be summed up as the competition among teammates. Trios of forwards in Philadelphia and New York are fighting for what will amount to three spots total for nine deserving players. Once again, this will be the team to beat when the 2018 all-star game commences.
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- Sydney Crosby
- Cam Atkinson
- Wayne Simmonds
- Taylor Hall