The Chicago Blackhawks had four players voted into the 2017 NHL All Star Game, the most for one team in the entire league. But, you could argue they were deserving of several more.
Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Corey Crawford and Duncan Keith will represent the Blackhawks in Los Angeles for the All-Star festivities. But, you could argue Chicago’s most deserving candidate was completely snubbed.
Artemi Panarin should be an All-Star. And let’s face it: Panarin deserves to be there more than Toews and Keith, as blasphemous as that might sound.
Panarin is second on the team and sixth in the NHL with 41 points. He and Columbus Blue Jackets winger were the only two players to rank in the top 10 in scoring who didn’t receive an invite to the All-Star game.
Sure, the Central Division is loaded with talented wingers, but Panarin should’ve made the roster, even if it meant leaving Toews out.
Now, this isn’t a barrage on The Captain by any means. But, his lackluster production plus an injury sustained earlier in the season makes his selection questionable. Toews is seventh on the team with only 20 points in 34 games.
But, that’s the nature of the All-Star game. It’s more a popularity contest than anything else, which is fine from an entertainment standpoint. Then again, seeing Panarin and Kane team up in the 3-on-3 tournament would probably be nothing short of a blast.
Maybe next year.