Fan voting for the NHL All-Star Game opened up on Thursday afternoon, and while usual suspects like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are on the ballot representing the Chicago Blackhawks, there are a couple of notable omissions from the list.
Each team was only given four slots on the fan ballot, which will determine the captains for each of the four NHL divisions. For the Blackhawks, Kane and Toews got two of the spots, and other two ended up going to defenseman Duncan Keith and goaltender Corey Crawford.
Because of the four-player limit, there were several noteworthy players who were not included on this year’s ballot. The most surprising of that group is second-year player Artemi Panarin, who has continued to be one of the most exciting players in the entire NHL as he’s racked up eight goals and 13 assists in 24 games so far this season.
Marian Hossa, who scored his 500th career goal earlier this season, also didn’t make the ballot in spite of scoring 11 goals in 23 games, nearly matching his total from all of last season. The veteran forward could still make the team as a reserve player, but with limited roster spots for each division, it’s unclear whether he’ll be good enough to make the team later this season in Los Angeles.
Artem Anisimov also has a great argument for making the All-Star team this season, but he too was omitted from the ballot. The forward has nine goals and 11 assists this season as he’s centered the team’s second line effectively.
All three players are eligible for write-in votes for Blackhawks fans, but only one player from each division can be voted in by fans, so Hawks fans will have to be judicious with their choices.
The fan balloting, which opened Thursday, closes on Jan. 2.