The 2020 NHL All-Star rosters have been announced and Winnipeg Jets’ forward Mark Scheifele and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck have made the Central Division team. Joining them will be Patrik Kane, Nathan MacKinnon, Tyler Seguin, Eric Staal, Roman Josi, Ryan O’Reilly, Alex Pietrangelo, and Jordan Binnington.
This will be both Scheifele and Hellebuyck’s second appearance at the NHL All-Star festivities that will be taking place in St. Louis on Jan. 24-25. Scheifele first appeared last season with captain Blake Wheeler while Hellebuyck’s first All-Star appearance came during the 2017-18 season in which he was runner-up for the Vezina Trophy to Pekka Rinne.
Laine Last Man In?
Jets’ sniper Patrik Laine will have another chance to be voted the “last man in” once again this season. He currently has 37 points in 37 games and he is doing all the little things much better. He was on the voting list last season, however, Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog won the voting and was awarded the final spot on the Central Division All-Star team.
I think Laine will have a much better chance to win this year’s voting as he is having a much better season compared to this point last year in which he was struggling. Other than his November to remember during the 2018-19 season, Laine was invisible for most games and probably should not have even been the Jets’ contender for “last man in”.
This time around, Laine deserves all the All-Star attention he is getting, and as I mentioned, he could very well earn the final spot. He is up against Jonathan Toews, Cale Makar, Jamie Benn, Ryan Suter, Matt Duchene, and David Perron. The two players I feel that will challenge him will be Avalanche defenseman Makar and St. Louis Blues’ forward Perron.
Perron will have a good chance with the event being held in St. Louis and Makar is simply having a ridiculous season with the Avalanche so far with 29 points in 31 games. The Central Division team is currently sitting with six forwards, two defensemen, and two goalies, so getting Makar in as that third defenseman could make the most sense.
Scheifele Season Recap
Since we now know Scheifele and Hellebuyck will be representing the Jets at the All-Star weekend, let’s take a look back on how they have done to this point as we creep up to the halfway point of the season.
Scheifele has led the Jets in scoring for a large part of the season and he currently sits with 40 points through 39 games. He has an even plus/minus and he currently leads the Jets with a 17.2 shooting percentage. He leads the team in power-play goals with six and game-winning goals with five.
Two areas he needs to improve going into the back half of the season are his faceoffs and penalty minutes. Scheifele has been getting dominated in the faceoff dot and he currently has the most penalty minutes on the team with 32 – not something you want to see out of your number one center.
Hellebuyck Season Recap
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Hellebuyck deserves a spot in the All-Star game even with his recent subpar play the past two weeks. He still boasts a strong .923 save percentage (SV%) which is just below the .924 SV% he had in the 2017-18 season and he is third place for wins with 17 so far.
He leads the NHL in saves with 897 and is second in shots against with 972. He is tied for first place in shutouts with three and he has faced the highest number of high-danger shots against amongst all goalies.
These are all very impressive numbers to have still despite his recent struggles in the crease. He is currently winless in four of his last five starts in net and his SV% in those games is just .880%. The second half of the season will be a huge test for the 26-year-old – the Jets’ success clearly rides on him as we have witnessed thus far – no pressure, right?
Related: Jets’ Struggles Will Continue
The Jets have never had more than two players represent at the NHL All-Star Game so getting Laine voted in could make history for the team at this year’s event. The Jets did have three members of the team make last season’s All-Star team when Scheifele and Wheeler were joined by head coach Paul Maurice who was behind the bench for the Central Division team.
The NHL All-Star weekend is always a fun, exciting time for the fans and something a lot of people look forward to every season. Will you be watching the festivities take place on Jan. 24-25? Who do you feel was snubbed from a selection?