The NHL All-Star roster was announced today. Colorado has no one on the NHL game roster. I mean, it’s not like they have a rising superstar who will be a candidate for the Selke Trophy. It’s not like the Avs have a hard working player who is the team leader in points with 30 and is two goals away from his career high.
Yes, I’m talking about Ryan O’Reilly. The third year center moved from the third line to the first line in a matter of months. The Avalanche would not be in position to make the playoffs if not for O’Reilly’s enhanced game.
The NHL All-Star Game roster is not exclusively comprised of the top players in the game. Alexander Ovechkin’s inclusion on the roster is proof of that. However, the point of the All-Star Game is to reward, to an extent, the best players of the year. I also do not think giving an NHL team a rookie spot is enough to satisfy the one spot for each team rule. Especially since the Avs are in the playoff race in a stronger Western Conference.
Of course, the Avalanche are not a huge market. They do not play in the favored Eastern Conference. They do not play in Canada and they are not going to get a West Coast audience like the Los Angeles Kings. Teams in a similar position, Phoenix, Dallas, Anaheim and St. Louis, were all only awarded one player. Unlike the Avalanche, each of those teams has a representative in the game.
I’m not trying to diminish the accomplishment of Gabriel Landeskog making the All-Star roster as a rookie. The Rookies Skills Competition was interesting last year and Landeskog is a great stick handler. Landeskog has been a top five rookie this season and so deserves the spot. Although I think O’Reilly’s guidance should not be discredited in his transition into the NHL.
If the Avalanche manage to make the playoff field, then the NHL will look foolish to not have included Ryan O’Reilly on the NHL’s All-Star roster. To do this the Avs must have a strong showing tonight, against the Nashville Predators.