The NHL officially opened the ballot for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. From yesterday until Dec. 20, hockey fans can vote for four division captains. One player from each division can be chosen without regard to position. The league presented a ballot, including such Lightning players like Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy, but fans can write-in any player they want.
Steven Stamkos has the most appearances among the active Lightning players. He has already been to the All-Star Game six times, debuting in 2011. Nikita Kucherov is the second with three straight appearances in the previous three years. Ryan McDonagh and Andrei Vasilevskiy played in two games each, with McDonagh representing the New York Rangers both times. Brayden Point, Victor Hedman (he has been chosen twice, but didn’t play in 2018 due to injury), Tyler Johnson and Kevin Shattenkirk have had a chance to play during All-Star Weekend just once.
While we all can agree that the players chosen to represent their teams at the All-Star Game are the most popular and recognizable ones, who do you think really deserves to play based on his performance during the current regular season?
Nikita Kucherov is the obvious choice. He won a bunch of trophies last season and set the record for Tampa Bay Lightning players in points during the single regular season. This season, he has started a little bit slowly. But after missing the game against the Chicago Blackhawks due to injury, he has 10 points in five games and is just two points behind his last season pace after 23 games. I’m not saying he will score 128 points again, but a third straight 100 point season is very likely possibility.
According to some fans, Brayden Point had also a slow start, which was probably due to his lower shooting percentage compared to last season. The situation has changed since he scored six times in the last six games and is already leading the Bolts in goals with 10. Point has been the best player on the Lightning roster based on WAR during last season and is second through the current one. He has been in a shadow behind Kucherov and Stamkos for a long time and doesn’t really get all respect he deserves.
Okay, you might already know that we love Anthony Cirelli. We wrote an article about him yesterday, comparing him with Patrice Bergeron. But the fact is that he’s really turning into very important player for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He already received some Selke Trophy votes last season and will very likely be in the conversation multiple times in future. Realistically, he won’t probably represent the Lightning at the All-Star Game this year, but in a perfect world, he would.
Kevin Shattenkirk already played at the All-Star Game during his time with the St. Louis Blues. Since that moment, he changed teams several times and was bought out by the last of them. But after joining the Lightning, he’s probably playing the best hockey since leaving the Blues. Shattenkirk is without a doubt the best Lightning acquisition during the last summer break. Also, when i mentioned that Brayden Point is the second on the team based on WAR, you were probably curious, who is in first? Yes, it’s Kevin Shattenkirk.
So, who is your choice?
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