We now know who will be playing in the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, California. Our Nashville Predators have just two players going.
There’s no disputing that the Nashville Predators are treading water right now in hopes of remaining a legitimate contender to win back-to-back division titles. They’ve had to piece together starting rosters that no one saw coming thanks to so many key injuries.
Due to the unlucky breaks with guys missing so many games, the Predators are getting just two players into the NHL All-Star Game. Roman Josi and Pekka Rinne will represent the Nashville Predators in the event that will have four divisional teams. Being in the Central Division, Josi and Rinne will play under team captain Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche.
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It’s Josi’s second All-Star appearance and will be Rinne’s third appearance in the game. Rinne is joining Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk as the Central Division’s two goaltenders. Not a bad duo and better than the other three division teams. As for Josi, he’s displayed some great leadership and steadiness through the rocky times to keep Nashville relevant and right in the thick of things.
Here’s a look at the complete NHL All-Star Game rosters.
Why they’re deserving
Let’s start with Rinne. His numbers aren’t really tailing off at all despite Father Time creeping up on him. He’s posting a .920 save percentage, which is just a few percentage points away from having him in the top five of the NHL. Not having a full-strength roster playing in front of him has played a factor in his numbers dipping a bit.
Even with his numbers not as eye-opening as they were last season, he’s still playing well enough to keep the Predators competitive over the last month. He’s also top-five in goals-against average at 2.25. His play is keeping a beaten up Predators team from getting blown out every night. Yes, it’s frustrating that the Predators are still finding ways to lose, but we can’t put much of that on Rinne.
Josi is really backing up his captain title with his play over the last month. He’s in the top ten among defensemen in points with 29 and has been aggressive as well. He leads the NHL among defensemen in shots with 148. It’s pretty surprising that this is only his second All-Star selection, so it’s nice to see the captain get some national respect.
Any Predators snubs?
Without missing so many games, it would be hard to imagine Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, and P.K. Subban all not getting selected. Forsberg would have definitely been selected after the hot start he was on, and Arvidsson was similarly playing red-hot before going down to lengthy injury.
Forsberg could still get in as the “Last Man In”. Fans get to vote for this player on each divisional team, and I believe Forsberg has a great chance at getting this vote. Fans from all over want to see him flash his skills in a wide-open style of play that we see at the All-Star Game.
The only snub I really have from the Predators is Ryan Johansen. He has been invaluable in keeping the top line together without Forsberg and Arvidsson. He’s 11th in the NHL in assists with 28 and just one off from being in the top ten. I can only imagine how much higher that total would be with Forsberg and Arvidsson in the lineup. He’s playing his best hockey in a Predators uniform.
The All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, January 26th and will be televised on NBC.