Carey Price Justifiably the Lone Montreal Canadiens All-Star

Sure, in a perfect world, Montreal Canadiens Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban would be joining goalie Carey Price at the All-Star Game January 25 in Columbus.


Snubbed Montreal Canadiens?

Of course, in a perfect world, Pacioretty would be on pace for over 40 goals (well, 93, if we can be greedy, including the open net he missed late in the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday). He’s not (18).

In fact, he’s barely in the top 40 in league scoring with 33 points (41 games). A year after finishing fourth in goals (39), he’s not even in the top 10 in that category, with both Toronto Maple Leaf James van Riemsdyk (19) and San Jose Shark Joe Pavelski (21) not getting named either.

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In the same perfect world, Subban would be less than 10 points back of the top-scoring defenseman in the NHL (St. Louis Blue Kevin Shattenkirk; 37) to make up for his third-highest-in-the-league 51 giveaways. He’s not either with a decent, but not overly impressive 27 points this (41 games).

If Philadelphia Flyer Mark Streit, who has one more point than Subban (yes, you read that right) can be left out of the game, so can Subban. Hell, if Ottawa Senator Erik Karlsson, who has two more points and is a recent Norris Memorial Trophy winner as well, can be supposedly snubbed, Subban definitely can be as well.


The No Head League

That isn’t to say the league got it all right, naming the remaining 42 players after Buffalo Sabre Zemgus Girgensons and five Chicago Blackhawks got voted in by fans, and by fans I mean all of Latvia and Chicago. Speaking of which how does a city with a metropolitan area of nearly 10,000,000 get outvoted by a country a fifth of that size? How did not a single Blackhawk beat out Girgensons for top spot? Shame on you Chicago.

But I digress… shame on the NHL instead for naming Edmonton Oiler Ryan Nugent-Hopkins when teammate Taylor Hall is actually leading them in scoring. Everyone knows no Oiler at all should be going.

Granted, each team must be represented. With that in mind, Vancouver Canuck Radim Vrbata being named instead of either of the Sedin twins? Henrik is the lower scoring of the two and he has six points on Vrbata. Brother Daniel has seven.

Absolute worst-case scenario if the league just didn’t want to feel obliged to waste two roster spots on Canucks? Just name one twin and have the other substitute in for him halfway through the game. Problem solved. Who would mind?

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky – (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Meanwhile, Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky getting the nod ahead of Pittsburgh Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury is complete and utter nonsense, especially with Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen getting in as well… admittedly justifiably in both cases.

However, Bobrovsky isn’t even sporting an elite-level save percentage (.915 or above), has a goals-against average hovering around 3.00, and has just three and four more wins than platooning St. Louis Blues goalies Jake Allen and Brian Elliott (12 and 11, respectively), and Elliott was out over a month with an injury! Meanwhile, Fleury is leading the league with six shutouts.

Obviously, the point is to score a lot of goals at an all-star game and shutouts don’t really enter into the equation, but it’s pretty ridiculous when there are about 10 legitimately better candidates than Bobrovsky available.

Sure, Columbus is hosting, but they are also 11 points out of the last wild-card spot. They don’t deserve—or need—three participants. Not when the host Atlanta Thrashers got only Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa back in 2008 and Phillips Arena still ended up exceeding its arena capacity. Columbus’ Nationwide Arena has 45 fewer seats available (18,500).

Thankfully, the rest of the goaltending selections seems on point, with Fleury likely going to get a shot after all after Detroit Red Wing Jimmy Howard unfortunately had to be stretchered off the ice Saturday night against the Washington Capitals. Aside from Blackhawk Corey Crawford (voted in), the other goalies selected were Nashville Predator Pekka Rinne, Florida Panther Roberto Luongo, and Price.

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Carey Price: Four-Time All-Star

Price previously made all-star-game appearances in 2008, 2010, and 2011, but this may be his best season yet, at least so far. In 2010-11, he finished with a .923 save percentage and 2.35 GAA. Last season, he had a .927 save percentage and 2.32 GAA.

This year? He has a .928 save percentage (fourth-best, with pseudo-backups Calvin Pickard and Michael Hutchinson among those ahead of him), 2.19 GAA (sixth), and 22 wins, which is second-best in the league (Rinne).

There is no world out there—excluding those that don’t actually have NHLs—in which Price doesn’t get named to this all-star game. Now, the only trick is getting “hurt” between now and then so he doesn’t actually have to play and risk actual injury. He is after all the No. 1 reason the Canadiens are where they are in the standings, within arm’s reach of first overall.

Statistics and joking aside, Pacioretty may be quietly putting together a very good season. Subban slightly less so. Nevertheless, both are definite assets to the Habs. It just so happens that, this particular year, they don’t truly merit all-star selections. There’s no shame in that. In fact, ask either one and they’ll quite possibly say off the record that they’re happy not to be going.

Montreal Canadiens Carey Price and P.K. Subban
Montreal Canadiens Carey Price and P.K. Subban – (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

Sure this event is for the fans and it’s about who they want to see, but, after the honor of being named, it’s very much a pointless event. In fact, in a game with goals scored in the teens, there’s really little point in having any goaltending at all, especially with the injury-risk factor.

Habs fans should be undeniably thrilled that Price is being recognized for his stellar season… and also grateful Pacioretty, Subban, and the rest of the team will be well-rested for the second half of the season.

Look at it this way if you must: not seeing Pacioretty and Subban all-star weekend is everybody else’s loss… and Montreal’s gain.

11 thoughts on “Carey Price Justifiably the Lone Montreal Canadiens All-Star”

  1. Its the most pathetic excuse for an all stars team I can recall. No one from edm should be considered.. Choices were bizarre at best.
    Just a very bad case of unbalanced fan voting and poor selection process.
    Then again poor judgement abounds with hockey. Canadians get all that unwanted USA nhl & college hockey shoved down our throats and few Canadian teams r on tv anymore.
    Not worth paying extra $$$$ for that crap.

  2. For some reason I’m not able to reply to your latest post? Anyway…,

    I’m going to use Corsi and Corsi Rel% to make this comparison. I get that these numbers have their problems, but I think it will be enough to convince you that PK is having a great defensive season and an All Star season when his offense is taken into account. (Numbers taken from

    I took the All Star Defense roster and grabbed a bunch of names and then threw in a few other top D-men for fun. The players I looked at are: Subban, Chara, Doughty, Duncan Keith, Suter, Giordano, Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson, Mcdonagh, and Byfuglien. All the numbers are from 5 on 5 situations unless otherwise indicated.

    Corsi-wise, PK`s even strength numbers are 52.5% putting him right in the middle of the pack (5th). Keith leads with a CF% of 57.5. Giordano is worst at 47.1, but it`s not his fault he plays for Calgary. When we look at CF% Rel, that is the difference between when the player is on the ice as compared to when hes off it, Subban comes first with 5.9. He’s second with 11.8 in all situations behind Karlsson. Wow, Weber (-6.3) and McDonagh (-5.3) are not having great seasons…

    I get that because of the team nature of the game this doesn’t *prove* anything, per se, but it ought to put to rest the idea that PK isn’t an elite defender having an elite season. Relative numbers aside, his straight up Corsi is impressive when you take into consideration that the players ahead of him play for teams (CHI, LA, BOS, MIN) that have above average possession numbers and aren’t coached by someone notorious for having terrible possession teams.

    • I appreciate the effort citing stats and I’m willing to admit that Subban isn’t as bad defensively as I may have led on based on the giveaways stat. However, that’s only a field of 10 or so. Where does he place in the entire league? Also, what site do you use? Been looking for a decent one since Extra Skater went offline. Thanks.

      • I provided those players as comparisons because they play comparable roles as number one D on their respective teams. The analysis gets messier if you want to consider the league as a whole.

        Still, Subban’s Corsi of 52.2 puts him 43rd amongst D-men who have played 500 minutes or more. Without running the numbers, a quick look at the players ahead of him makes me feel like pretty much all of them are from teams that have better overall possession numbers than the Habs.

        He pops right back to the top of the league when you consider his team with or without him. His CFRel% puts him 3rd overall, behind Letang (6.5) and Leddy (6.3) respectively. His FFRel% puts him 8th overall.

        I use, and, depending on what I’m looking for. There’s not a great all in one site that I’m aware of, unfortunately.

        • Awesome. Thanks for the sites. Appreciate that immensely : ).

          As for Subban, I think you need to look at all the stats as pieces of the puzzle as to whether or not he’s having a truly great season or not. He’s obviously not the 43rd-best defenseman in the league (based on Corsi). He’s much higher than that. However, just like Leddy isn’t the second-best defenseman in the league, Subban isn’t the third-best.

          I do believe Subban to be a great defenseman and a top-10 one in the NHL, his career taken as a whole, but if he’s not producing points in a top-10 capacity I don’t know how he can justifiably have been named to the all-star game, an event predicated on point production.

          I will grant you that he drives play, and that in his case a good offense translates into great defense, but if he’s only a top-five defenseman according to two or three stats, I’m not sure he’s a top-five defenseman overall (at least not this year).

          Possession numbers are obviously a big deal. That’s in part why I don’t trust Therrien as a competent head coach (relies too much on shot-blocking). But there are a lot of defensemen ahead of Subban in that regard (looking at the entire league). Possession numbers aren’t everything in my opinion.

  3. “to make up for his third-highest-in-the-league 51 giveaways”

    This one sentence calls into doubt all your other opinions. Why is it, do you suppose, that Subban has so many giveaways? What do you think the that number reflects? What company does he keep in the giveaway top ten? I’ll give you a hint. One of the other D you mentioned in the article is first.

    Subban has been an absolute monster on defense this year, as he has been since he entered the league. When he’s on the ice the Canadiens drive the play, when he’s not, they don’t. He is currently one of the top 5 D in the league and is having a stellar season. All his numbers reflect that, including his point total which is on pace with last season’s.

    I don’t particularly care whether Subban plays in the All Star game or not, but it is flat out wrong to say that he is not having an All Star season.

    • I’m not sure I follow your logic. Erik Karlsson leads the league in giveaways. He hasn’t been named to the all-star game either.

      Subban obviously has a lot of giveaways because he plays a lot. That’s part of the reason. Another is a lack of proper defensive play when he’s trying to do too much. And those mistakes can be forgiven if he produces like he’s capable of.

      Sure he’s on pace to score more than the 53 points he had last year. However, he was awarded his contract largely because of his Norris Trophy-winning season (when he scored 38 points in 42 games) and these past playoffs (when he scored 14 points in 17 games).

      I also don’t know what numbers you’re referencing when you say “He is currently one of the top 5 D in the league and is having a stellar season. All his numbers reflect that.”

      What numbers? Aside from game-winning goals (and, giveaways, of course), I don’t think he’s in the top five anywhere else.

      Subban is obviously very talented, but saying this season of his is an all-star one is kinda embellishing.

      • Why reference giveaways at all? They really aren’t an effective indication of poor play, which is how you represented them. Subban, like Karrlson, Tavares, and Getzlaf, has a lot of them because he has the puck so much. The suggestion that he needs to “make up for them” is misleading.

        “Another is a lack of proper defensive play when he’s trying to do too much”
        This is a complete myth. Subban makes fewer mistakes than all most every other defenseman in the league and is rarely poorly positioned and that’s reflected in his WOWY and possession numbers. That he’s irresponsible defensively is a narrative that has absolutely no basis in fact.

        Subban is producing at the same rate, or better, than he did last season and is playing some of the best D in the league which, let’s keep in mind, is his primary job. There’s a limit to the number of players who can be on the All-Star team, so he wasn’t picked, but it’s incorrect to say that he’s not putting together an All Star season. He compares favourably to just about any D-man in the league while playing on a team that would be just slightly better than middle of the pack if it weren’t for Carey Price.

        • Can you please cite these possession numbers and where you got them.
          I agree that Subban drives play. I also agree that the Habs would be a middle-of-the-pack team were it not for Price (obviously, based on the article). However, I need some hard facts if I’m going to admit that you’re right when you say Subban “compares favourably to just about any D-man in the league.”

    • Almost… he’s on pace for 36 this season. Last season, through his first 41 games, he had 21. He’s off that pace.

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