Thatcher Demko earned a spot as one of the two Pacific Division goalies for the NHL All-Star Game on February 5th. Vancouver Canucks teammate JT Miller could join him. It’s up to Canucks fans.
Vancouver’s versatile forward started the day tied for 19th in NHL scoring with the likes of Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers, Troy Terry of the Anaheim Ducks, William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Chandler Stephenson of the Vegas Golden Knights. None of these players were named NHL All-Stars … yet.
The league named the initial rosters of ten for each NHL division. The eleventh slot for each of the four three-on-three rosters is filled via fan vote in something called the “Last Men In” ballot. Miller made the final list for the Pacific. Here are the candidates:
Anaheim Ducks: Troy Terry (F)
Calgary Flames: Matthew Tkachuk (F)
Edmonton Oilers: Darnell Nurse (D)
Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty (D)
San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture (F)
Seattle Kraken: Mark Giordano (D)
Vancouver Canucks: JT Miller (F)
Vegas Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault (F)
Meanwhile, should every NHL team be represented at the All-Star Game no matter what? Kind of like the precedent Major League Baseball set decades ago, where fans had at least one player to be proud of and cheer for regardless of that team’s record. Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche says no.
“It’s silly,” the captain of the Central Division All-Stars said, “It’s an All-star game, not a participation game.” MacKinnon was irked that his teammate Nazem Kadri, 5th in NHL scoring with 48 points entering action Saturday, was not included. MacKinnon felt four or five Avalanche players should have made it.
He and defenceman Cale Makar are the team’s representatives while Kadri made the “Last Men In” vote.
The NHL All-Star Game is a bit different in that there’s money to the winning group. But even with that incentive, I think every team needs to have a player on hand. Every fan base and city needs reason to watch and cheer. As a kid, even when my favourite baseball team stunk, it was always a thrill to have our one player introduced as the team lined up on the baseline. We actually anticipated it.
For example, right now the 10-22-and-4 Seattle Kraken are represented by Jordan Eberle, he of 12 goals, 12 assists and a minus-16.
Would he be there for the Pacific Division if they were literally taking the top-11 most productive players? Probably not, but what a slap in the face and what a mistake it would be to exclude the expansion Kraken.
Live with it Nathan. Vancouver could have a legitimate gripe that Quinn Hughes isn’t involved.
In the meantime, if Canucks fans want to see Miller … vote.