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All-Star Snubs: 2015 Edition

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Who got left out of hockey's annual , er, bi-annual ... occasional elite exhibition?

Marianne Helm/Getty Images

The 2015 NHL All-Star game takes place this Sunday, and all the festivities that go along with it start Friday night. Overall 45 players were invited, including the three who have withdrawn due to injuries. But outside of the fan voting, which all went to Blackhawks and one Latvian, how accurate is the selection process? With each team required to have at least one invitee, there's a handful of players bound to be left on the outside looking in. So this year, who earned the right to be called an "all-star", only to be snubbed in the end.

Left Wings

Henrik Zetterberg

One of the best beards in hockey is also one of its most consistent players of the last decade. Henrik Zetterberg has arguably been the most trustworthy winger in the league since the lost season in 2004-05, with 677 points in 666 games played. This year is statistically his 2nd-worst year in a decade, yet he still leads his position with 44 points in 47 games. With Jimmy Howard out with a groin injury, the Zetterberg snub means the Red Wings will not have a member of their team appearing in any all-star happenings this weekend.

Max Pacioretty

Say what you will about him and his Canadien ways, but Max Pacioretty is slowly growing into the stud that Montreal hoped they had, and that Boston fans collectively feared. This year his 5v5 Points60 is at 2.46, which is so far and away the best on the Habs that the gap between him and 2nd place (Brendan Gallagher) is larger than the gap between 2nd and 6th. Patches is a victim of timing, since he really started to come on over the last two seasons, and both All-Star games were put aside due to the shortened season and the Sochi Olympics. But to leave him out this year in favor of guys like Radim Vrbata is a crime. Someone call the cops.

Centres

Nicklas Backstrom

The NHL pretty much plucked every well-known centre to fill the All-Star rosters. But if you look at the total points for centres across the league, you'll notice that the first name omitted from this year's All-Star game is Washington's Nicklas Backstrom. The best player on the Capitals this season, Backstrom leads his team in total points, 5v5 Points60, and 5v5 shooting percentage. You would think the Capitals taking a more defensive approach would hinder his performance, but Nick has quietly remained one of the best offensive centres in the league. And if Tampa Bay can get both Stamkos and Tyler Johnson invited, then the Caps should be allowed to send Backstrom to Columbus along with Ovi.

Right Wings

Kyle Okposo

First the Sochi American squad, and now the All-Star game. The Islanders' Kyle Okposo just cannot catch a break. This, despite him having 113 points through his last 117 games played. Keep in mind, John Tavares missed nearly half of last season, meaning that Okposo continued to thrive without the best playmaker in the Empire State skating alongside him. This year alone, his 2.41 Points60 is just behind Sidney Crosby, and currently ahead of perennial goal-scorer Steven Stamkos. Maybe it's because he bloomed so late (he'll turn 27 before the Playoffs), but KO is someone a lot of people in the league should start taking a little more seriously.

Corey Perry

Anaheim chose wisely when they had to pick between Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. The Ducks' elite right wing has been an absolute force on the West coast, with 19 goals before the All-Star break, despite missing 15 games due to injury. This year especially his goal-scoring is at a career high pace with a 1.66 Goals60 even strength, putting him at 4th in the league. Perry might not net 40 again like last year, but when he is on the ice Perry is still at the top of his game.

Defencemen

Pernell Karl Subban

The Canadiens' franchise defenceman is clearly slacking after nailing down his long-term contract. P.K. Subban has only ever made the All-Star team as a rookie in 2011, and has been left off the squad for the last two occasions. So far this year, Subban's 1.30 Points60 has easily been the best of his career, even if it does place him at 14th across the league. Defensively, he may not be significantly better, but he certainly hasn't gotten worse, as he's pretty much in line with his career FF% and GF% numbers. The former Norris trophy winner may just be a victim of the one-player-per-team selection process, as both he and fellow snub Max Pacioretty will have a hard time grabbing a bid over Carey Price.

John Carlson

No one (outside of HFBoards) is mentioning John Carlson for the Norris Trophy this year, but they probably should. Behind teammate Mike Green, Carlson has the highest 5v5 Points60 (1.62) among all defencemen this season. And Carlson has a ton more ice time than Green. At the break, he's 3rd among defencemen in Assists, tied for 5th in plus/minus (1st place when on the road), and even ranks 8th in blocked shots. Carlson doesn't even take a lot of penalties. He's a highly-skilled offensive defenceman, who has the physical talent to cover and cover well in his own end. And this year, he clearly has the edge on guys like Justin Faulk, Erik Johnson, even Brent Burns when you take into account their overall play.

Goaltenders

Michael Hutchinson

"Traed rask play malcomb" is what someone might say if you think the AHL 'tender in waiting is better than your current starter. And while I'm not saying he should've been the successor to Tuukka, Winnipeg's Michael Hutchinson is having a hell of a breakout season in the great white north. Boston's 3rd-round pick in 2008 has started to usurp the Jets' Ondrej Pavelic with his play, and as the sample size grows the case against him gets tougher and tougher to build. Hutch is now 16-5-2 in his NHL career, 14-4-2 this year with a .935 SV% and 1.90 GAA. Both are 2nd only to Pekka Rinne, who this year has seemingly been replaced by a Finnish robot sent to Nashville to conquer hockey and country music.

Henrik Lundqvist

The King hadn't been all that kingly this season, but lately New York's Henrik Lundqvist has been the factor in the Rangers climbing the standings in the East. Blame it on a Cup hangover, but when Hank started the season 5-3-0 with a 3.25 GAA & .891 SV%, fans in New Yawk got a little worried. He got better in November with a 2.05 GAA & .927SV%, but his 9-6-3 overall record led many to believe (myself included) that the Rangers would finish outside of the playoffs. Since then? Well, Lundy is 14-3-0, with an okaaaaay 1.90 GAA & .932 SV%, and has been one the best netminders in the league, behind only the aforementioned Rinne and Hutchinson.

Rookies

Calvin Pickard

When Colorado's Seymon Varlamov when down twice earlier this season, Colorado seemed to fall into a downward spiral they've yet to get out of. However, it'd be astoundingly worse if rookie Calvin Pickard hadn't stepped into the spotlight in his place. Pickard has emerged as the Avs' best choice in net, ahead of both Varly and Reto Berra. His 5v5 numbers are just ridiculous - a 1.58 GAA to go along with a .954 SV%. His main shortcoming is on the penalty kill, despite Colorado's 7th-rank PK%. But overall, if you're going to give Hutch a nod outside of the rookie category (which they should), Cal would be the next in line for the rookie goaltender spot.

Anders Lee

With the Islanders flooded with young, talented centres, I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't heard of Anders Lee. He was drafted in the 6th round five years ago, and had only played a handful of games until this year. But this rook ranks 3rd in goals among rookies (13), and 2nd in ZS Adj. Points60 (2.64), all while skating out of position on the wing and bouncing between the 2nd and 3rd lines. His 18 points on the year seems a bit lackluster, until you realize that unlike Filip Forsberg and Johnny Gaudreau, who lead all rookies in TOI per game, Lee's 12:24 TOI/GP ranks 34th among rookies, meaning that he's doing more in less ice time, with lesser talent, than most of his peers.

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Who do you think got the snub this year? Let me know if I nailed the ones above, whiffed on a few, or snubbed a few worthy players myself.