The NHL All-Star fan voting is now open after the NHL announced their 32 all stars from each team, and Filip Forsberg representing the Nashville Predators.
Now fans get to let their voices be heard in the fan vote, which is controversial for many because it becomes more of a popularity contest. Also, allowing a player from all 32 teams has also been under scrutiny because it's leaving out more deserving players.
Take for instance the Eastern Conference roster, which is leaving out Artermi Panarin of the New York Rangers because the Blue Jackets have to get a player, and that player is Boone Jenner.
Panarin is fourth in the NHL in points with 53 while Jenner is 201st, yes 201st, with 18 points. Just insanity.
So now it's up to the fans to try to right the wrongs and vote in some of the more deserving all stars who didn't make the initial cut. Here's where to go to get your all-star votes in.
O'Reilly is Most Deserving, But Josi has Easier Path in Fan Vote
When it comes to the Nashville Predators, it really only comes down to one player for me if I remove the bias. It's Ryan O'Reilly. He has been basically a head coach on the ice for the Predators, while ranking tied for 2nd in the NHL in power play goals with 10.
O'Reilly has spearheaded Nashville's top line woes that they suffered under former Head Coach John Hynes. He has been instrumental in Filip Forsberg's ascension into elite territory.
I'll die on this hill; Forsberg is not enjoying this kind of success if O'Reilly isn't on this team. It's not meant as a slight at Forsberg, who has been outstanding, but O'Reilly is a big factor into why.
Even fans outside of the Nashville fanbase should have no issue voting for O'Reilly. He's a very likeable player around the NHL. It was a pretty big story in the offseason when O'Reilly chose Nashville over the hockey meca of Toronto.
Others in the Western Conference who are very deserving of the fan vote includes Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Miller, Cale Makar, Elias Pettersson and Robert Thomas. All have more points than O'Reilly, but do they make the same impact on their squads as O'Reilly has made on Nashville?
The Canucks are an interesting one because they have multiple players that are deserving. Defenseman Quinn Hughes got the initial All-Star selection, and if Miller, Pettersson, Thatcher Demko or Brock Boeser are left off then they'll all be considered snubs.
This voting system makes it unavoidable. There will be many snubs because the initial vote puts players on the roster that aren't deserving, but everyone has to be represented.
Some might want to vote for Roman Josi as well. Seeing it as a fan vote, I could see Josi having a better chance than O'Reilly because he's just more highly regarded at his position than the crowded position of center that O'Reilly plays.
I can realistically see Makar and Josi getting the fan vote to fill out the defensemen on the Western Conference roster. Only Hughes got voted in on Thursday.
O'Reilly is more deserving than Josi, but Josi has the easier path to getting the fan vote. Also wouldn't be surprised if neither gets in on the fan vote and Forsberg is the lone representative for the Nashville Predators.