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All-Star

Last Men In candidates debated

NHL.com staff selects deserving final roster spots for 2019 All-Star Game; fan voting underway

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Four players among the 31 nominated for the 2019 NHL All-Star Last Men In presented by adidas fan vote will make it to the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game at SAP Center in San Jose on Jan. 26 (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Which player will represent each of the four divisions as the final additions to the All-Star Game roster, which was announced Wednesday? The fans will have their say during the week-long voting period, which began at noon ET on Thursday and closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 10.

NHL.com decided to let our writers have their say in this roundtable. Twelve writers, three per division, were tasked with picking the Last Man in for their division.

 

[RELATED: NHL All-Star Game Last Men In ballot revealedVote for Last Men In]

 

Not surprisingly, there were no unanimous picks among the panel. Defenseman Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs) of the Atlantic Division, forward Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche) of the Central Division and defenseman Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames) of the Pacific Division each received two votes.

What do you think? Have your say by voting for the players you believe to be most deserving. Fans can vote at NHL.com/Vote or on a mobile interactive ballot on the NHL app. Each of the 31 NHL teams is represented with one player on the ballot.

Fans are permitted to select from one up to a maximum of four players per ballot. No fan will be permitted to cast more than 10 ballots during a 24-hour period.

 

Atlantic Division

Jeff Skinner, Buffalo Sabres: The 26-year-old forward has 26 goals, tied for second in the NHL with Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares and three behind the League leader, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin. Skinner has six game-winning goals, tied for second in the NHL with three other players and one behind Landeskog and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson. Skinner, who came to Buffalo in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on Aug. 2, is a big reason the Sabres are in the hunt for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot and deserves to play with teammate Jack Eichel at the All-Star Game. -- Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs: Rielly is tied for the scoring lead among NHL defensemen with Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, with 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) and is among the midseason frontrunners in the Norris Trophy race. He is on pace for a 93-point season, which would be a Toronto record for defensemen. -- Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs: Rielly is in the midst of a breakout season, crucial on a team with Stanley Cup aspirations that is still a bit light on defense. His 44 points halfway through this season are eight points shy of his NHL career high of 52 last season. -- Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Video: DET@TOR: Rielly finishes Tavares' sweet feed

 

Metropolitan Division

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins: Letang struggled at times following season-ending neck surgery in 2016-17, but the 31-year-old is back to playing at an elite level this season. He is fourth in the NHL in average ice time per game (25:58) and sixth in the League in scoring among defensemen with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists). -- Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals: Backstrom, a center, is second on the Capitals with 44 points (10 goals, 34 points), but the high profiles of Ovechkin, center Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman John Carlson and goalie Braden Holtby means Backstrom rarely gets the attention he deserves in Washington. But Backstrom is an elite player who deserves the big stage of the All-Star Game as much as his more well-known teammates. -- Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils: Palmieri has scored at least 20 goals for the fourth straight season with the Devils. He has 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists) in 39 games and leads New Jersey in power-play goals (seven) and shots on goal (125). He's a force in the offensive end and can score goals in multiple ways, including from the perimeter or in the slot. He has one of the finest one-timers in the NHL, and has great chemistry with forward Taylor Hall, who is already on the All-Star roster. -- Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

 

Central Division

Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche: Landeskog has 45 points (24 goals, 21 assists) this season as the left wing on the Avalanche's productive top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Every great line needs that physical, powerful player who's willing to pay the price at the net, and that's Landeskog. -- Tracey Myers, staff writer

Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche: Landeskog's 24 goals are tied for fourth in the NHL with five other players and he has played with MacKinnon and Rantanen on maybe the best line in the League. He deserves to join them in San Jose. -- Nick Cotsonika, columnist

Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets -- The All-Star game is the perfect venue to showcase skill and showmanship. Few in the NHL combine the two better than the forward, among the purest goal scorers in the League (24 goals) and continues to develop into a must-see and must-listen attraction. Laine and the All-Star Game are made for each other -- Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial

Video: COL@ARI: Landeskog beats Hill from the doorstep

 

Pacific Division

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames:  With 38 points (six goals, 32 assists) in 39 games and leading the NHL in plus-minus at plus-27, the defenseman is not only the obvious choice to add the Pacific Division team but the most deserving. Giordano's leadership and value place him squarely in the middle of the Norris Trophy conversation. -- Tim Campbell, staff writer

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames: Giordano should be on a short list of favorites to win the Norris Trophy, so it just makes sense that he would be in the All-Star Game. He plays a team-best 24:43 per game. The Flames are in first place and their captain is a huge reason why. -- Dan Rosen, senior writer

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers: Draisaitl has 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists) in 40 games, the third-most of any player in the Pacific Division. He scores in clutch situations too; four of his goals have been game-winners. The spotlight in Edmonton remains on center Connor McDavid, already on the All-Star roster, but Draisaitl, also a center, is having a stellar season in his own right. -- Brian Compton, deputy managing editor

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