The NHL All-Star rosters were revealed a few days ago, with one final spot open for each division. Those spots were filled by the “Last Men In” today following a fan vote.
For the Atlantic Division, the last man in is Steven Stamkos, captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the team’s third All-Star. He’ll join Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy at the event, which will be held on the weekend of February 4-5. Stamkos is having a brilliant bounce-back season with 18 goals and 46 points in 39 games.
In the Metro, Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers was the vote-in choice, but due to personal reasons, he will not be attending. Instead, Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins will take his place. While refusing an All-Star appearance is normally a one-game suspension, that does not appear to be the case for Zibanejad. Guentzel is certainly a worthwhile replacement, as he is currently tied for seven in the league with 20 goals and has scored them in just 32 games.
For the Central, the obvious choice was Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri and the fans did not disappoint. Fifth in the league with 49 points this season, Kadri is having a career year and arguably deserved the All-Star bid ahead of teammate Nathan MacKinnon, who will also be there (along with Cale Makar, making it three for the Avalanche).
Another obvious snub when the lists were announced will be rectified as Troy Terry was the Pacific’s last man in, celebrating his breakout season. The 24-year-old forward sits sixth in league scoring with 22 goals in just 38 games, more than doubling his previous career total.