The 2018 NHL All-Star Game rosters were released yesterday, and the St. Louis Blues are well represented. Captain defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and forward Brayden Schenn were chosen to represent the Blues on the Central Division team. This is the first time since 2015, and only second time since 2004 that the Blues have had more than one player be selected to the All-Star Game. This year’s ASG also signifies something else. It is the first time that Blues sniper and franchise player Vladimir Tarasenko has not been selected to the game since 2014.
With the All-Star Game rules, every single team must be represented, and have at least one player selected for the game. Therefore, one cannot say that Tarasenko should be in over Eric Staal for instance. Tarasenko obviously has better stats, but that cannot override the rule that each team must have a representative because Staal is the only player from the Minnesota Wild to make it.
However, there is still an argument Tarasenko could have over another player. That would be fellow number 91 Tyler Seguin. The Dallas Stars are already represented with defenseman John Klingberg being selected to the ASG. Let the debate for Tarasenko vs. Seguin begin.
Here is how the two stack up stat wise.
Note: Penalty minutes for fighting were deducted in the graphic. Both players have had one fight this season.
As you can see, most of the numbers favor Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko does have three more games played than Seguin, but also has four more points. Besides, it is not like Tarasenko or any player for that matter has precedent over schedule, as the schedule is made by corporate NHL.
A snubbed ASG appearance is not the biggest deal in the world, but in the case where Tarasenko presents as a better overall statistical case than another player that was picked, it is at least worth taking a look at. Tarasenko is arguably the most elite goal scorer in the Central Division, and in my opinion, yes, he should have made it in over Seguin. You could have said it is because Seguin is a center and Tarasenko is a winger, but the Central already has three of their six forwards on the ASG roster as centers, making Seguin the fourth. Tarasenko could have easily been selected over Seguin.
Tarasenko’s snub could be largely due to the fact that he went through a slump a couple weeks ago, where he only scored three goals in 17 games, very uncharacteristically of the Russian sniper. He is on fire as of late though, boasting eight points (4G, 4A) in his last seven games. The Blues are currently on their bye week, and hope that Tarasenko can keep up this tear once play resumes on Tuesday. Considering that Jaden Schwartz will be returning from injury in 5-6 games, look for 91’s production to potentially skyrocket even more come February. The second half of the season will be action packed and full of excitement and Blues fans should be looking forward to it. As always, let’s go Blues.