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Doubling back: Projecting 2015 All-Star participants

by Corey Masisak / NHL.com

The 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus is a little more than a month away, so it is time for another round of projections for who might end up in the midseason showcase.

Here is our first projection from November. This time, it will be Arpon Basu, Corey Masisak and Dan Rosen of NHL.com making their picks.

The exercise was pretty simple. All three chose the 42 players (12 forwards, six defensemen and three goalies in each conference) they felt most deserved to be named to the All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on Jan. 25.

Players who were named on the most lists were part of the team, and because each player was voted in order of priority, a simple tiebreaker was used to determine the final spots if too many players were named to the same number of ballots. The individual ballots are displayed at the bottom of the story.

Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin, Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne had the highest point total at each position. Eight forwards, five defensemen and all three goalies were named on all three ballots in the Western Conference. Nine forwards, three defensemen and two goalies were unanimous selections in the East.

Here are the 21 projected All-Stars in both conferences:

NOTE: Statistics are through the games of Sunday, Dec. 21

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards

Stamkos

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning: Stamkos is fourth in the NHL goals with 19, tied for seventh in points with 36 and has helped the Lightning to a share of first in the Atlantic Division.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins: Crosby missed three games because of the mumps, but remains tied for seventh in the League in points with 36 (and third in points per game).

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins: Malkin has missed at least seven games each season since 2008-09 but he's appeared in all 32 this season for the injury-plagued Penguins and is a big reason why they're still atop the East, with 15 goals and 38 points.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers: Giroux missed a chunk of training camp with a groin injury, but it didn't affect his ability to rack up points. He ranks third with 40 points, and has 30 assists.

Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers: Voracek is tops in the League with 44 points, and is tied with his linemate Giroux for the league lead in assists with 30.

Rick Nash, New York Rangers: Nash tied for the League-lead with 41 goals in 2003-04 and had 40 in 2008-09, but he's got a chance at a career high after potting 20 in his first 30 games.

Kessel

Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs: Kessel is fifth in the NHL in goals with 17 and has helped the Maple Leafs into the top wild-card position in the conference.

Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals: Backstrom leads the Capitals with 34 points in 32 games, and a recent hat trick boosted him into double digits in goals. He's tied with Joe Thornton for the fewest shots on goal among players in the top 35 in scoring with 63.

John Tavares, New York Islanders: By his lofty standard, 13 goals and 28 points in 33 games is a bit of a slow start, but he's helped drive the much deeper Islanders toward the top of the East.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: There have been a couple flashes of vintage Ovechkin magic among his 15 goals and 27 points, most recently his sparkling end-to-end rush Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings: Speaking of magic, Datsyuk still has some of his own as well. He's missed time with injuries, but has 13 goals and 24 points in 23 games and the Red Wings look to be back among the top teams in their conference after slipping into the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons.

Johansen

Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets: His teammates have been ravaged by injuries, but Johansen has been a constant with nine goals and 29 points in 32 games.

Others receiving votes: Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning; Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets; Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

Defensemen

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators: Seven goals and 23 points in 33 games is pretty good for a defenseman, but 125 shots on goal, 25 more than anyone else at the position, is ridiculous.

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins: Letang has thrived playing for new coach Mike Johnston and after a health scare last season, with seven goals and 22 points in 27 games.

Subban

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens: Subban has eight goals and 22 points, combining with Andrei Markov on a pairing with both in the top 25 in scoring among defensemen.

John Carlson, Washington Capitals: Mike Green has been the offensive engine in the past and Matt Niskanen was the splashy offseason addition, but Carlson has the best numbers (four goals, 24 points) of Washington's three right-handed defensemen.

Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers: Filip Forsberg got off to an amazing start to the season, but Ekblad has made it a two-person race for the Calder Trophy. Ekblad has five goals and 19 points and is averaging more than 22 minutes per game.

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning: He might be the Norris Trophy leader if he hadn't been hurt, and there still might be time for a guy with three goals and 13 points in 17 games to get back in the conversation.

Others receiving votes: Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings; Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens; Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes

Goaltenders

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins: Fleury is having a remarkable season. He leads the League in shutouts with six and is second in wins, but most impressive is his .933 save percentage, which is 12 points higher than any season he's completed in his career.

Luongo

Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers: Luongo, along with Ekblad, has been a large part of Florida's surge into playoff contention. He's fifth in save percentage at .926 among goaltenders with at least 15 games played.

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens: Price checks in just behind Luongo with a .924 save percentage, and he's tied for second in the League with 28 starts.

Others receiving votes: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards

Seguin

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars: Seguin became a star last season, but he's found another level. He leads the NHL with 25 goals and is second with 42 points, and could be in contention for multiple individual trophies at the end of the campaign.

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues: An electric scorer, Tarasenko has 20 goals and 37 points and would be the runaway choice for a "breakout star" award.

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks: A Hart Trophy finalist last season and a strong contender in 2014-15, Getzlaf has 12 goals and 37 points and has helped the Ducks to the top of conference despite missing Corey Perry for nearly half the season.

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks: Despite being one of the most dynamic players in the League, Kane has never scored more than 30 goals in a season. He is on pace for 37 right now.

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks: His incredible acting in workout videos aside, Toews has 13 goals and 29 points and will be a top contender for the Selke Trophy again.

Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators: While Ekblad might push him for the Calder, Forsberg is still scoring for the Predators with 13 goals and 31 points in 31 games.

Benn

Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars: He's almost been overshadowed by Seguin's superstar work, but Benn's 10 goals and 30 points are pretty strong.

Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild: He leads the Wild with 13 goals and 26 points and has been a steady source of offense for a team that has had several key players missing and at times trouble producing goals.

Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks: Any of the top four forwards in San Jose are All-Star worthy, but Pavelski is the only one who makes the cut. He has 15 goals, which leads the team, and 28 points.

Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames: Of all the Flames with high shooting percentages, Hudler leads the pack with 13 goals (and 31 points) despite only 65 shots on goal.

Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks: Perry has missed time with a knee injury and the mumps, but he still has 14 goals in 23 games.

Sedin

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks: If there were 13 forwards on this list, his brother would make it as well. Daniel Sedin has one more goal and point than Henrik Sedin, and maybe those two overtime goals helped give him a slight edge.

Others receiving votes: Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks; Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks; Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

Defensemen

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames: Giordano continues to lead all NHL defensemen with 32 points, and his nine goals are one shy of the lead.

Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild: One of five Minnesota defenseman to miss time because of the mumps, it didn't affect his ability to log crazy minutes. He's at 29:37 per game and has 21 points in 29 games.

Doughty

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings: Doughty is second to Suter in average time on ice at 29:03 but he leads the League in total TOI at nearly 989 minutes, more than 82 better than Karlsson in second place.

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators: Given Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara's injury/unlikely selection, does that make Weber the favorite to claim his first hardest shot competition trophy?

TJ Brodie, Calgary Flames: Tied for sixth among defensemen in scoring with 23 points, he might be the No. 2 defenseman on his team but he'd be the No. 1 guy for about half of the other teams in the League.

Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues: Shattenkirk has been gobbling up power-play points. His 28 points are second to Giordano among defensemen, but his 18 on the power play lead all skaters and is three more than any other player at the position.

Goaltenders

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators: He's got a chance to win the goaltending Triple Crown. Rinne is first in wins (21), and leads all goalies with at least 15 games played in goals against average (tied with Corey Crawford at 1.87) and save percentage (tied with Fleury at .933).

Quick

Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings: If the Kings start scoring like they were at the end of last season and Quick continues to play this well (.923 save percentage), look out. He finished the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a .911 save percentage.

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks: Crawford missed some time with an ankle injury, but a .927 save percentage and playing for this team (i.e. stacks on stacks of wins) is going to have him in the Vezina Trophy discussion.

Arpon Basu Corey Masisak Dan Rosen
EASTERN CONFERENCE
FORWARDS
Jakub Voracek Sidney Crosby Steven Stamkos
Claude Giroux Steven Stamkos Evgeni Malkin
Evgeni Malkin Evgeni Malkin Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby Rick Nash Rick Nash
Steven Stamkos Phil Kessel Claude Giroux
Phil Kessel Alex Ovechkin Jakub Voracek
Tyler Johnson Claude Giroux Nicklas Backstrom
Rick Nash John Tavares Phil Kessel
Nick Foligno Jakub Voracek Pavel Datsyuk
Nicklas Backstrom Ryan Johansen Max Pacioretty
Ryan Johansen Nicklas Backstrom John Tavares
John Tavares Pavel Datsyuk Alex Ovechkin
DEFENSEMEN
Kris Letang P.K. Subban P.K. Subban
Erik Karlsson Erik Karlsson Erik Karlsson
John Carlson Kris Letang John Carlson
Aaron Ekblad Aaron Ekblad Kris Letang
P.K. Subban Victor Hedman Niklas Kronwall
Victor Hedman Justin Faulk Andrei Markov
GOALIES
Marc-Andre Fleury Roberto Luongo Marc-Andre Fleury
Carey Price Marc-Andre Fleury Carey Price
Roberto Luongo Sergei Bobrovsky Roberto Luongo

Arpon Basu Corey Masisak Dan Rosen
WESTERN CONFERENCE
FORWARDS
Tyler Seguin Tyler Seguin Tyler Seguin
Vladimir Tarasenko Vladimir Tarasenko Vladimir Tarasenko
Ryan Getzlaf Ryan Getzlaf Ryan Getzlaf
Patrick Kane Jonathan Toews Jonathan Toews
Filip Forsberg Patrick Kane Patrick Kane
Zach Parise Joe Thornton Jamie Benn
Corey Perry Joe Pavelski Filip Forsberg
Jiri Hudler Filip Forsberg Logan Couture
Jamie Benn Jamie Benn Zach Parise
Daniel Sedin Daniel Sedin Jiri Hudler
Henrik Sedin Henrik Sedin Joe Pavelski
Jonathan Toews Zach Parise Corey Perry
DEFENSEMEN
Mark Giordano Mark Giordano Ryan Suter
Ryan Suter TJ Brodie Mark Giordano
Shea Weber Drew Doughty Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty Ryan Suter Duncan Keith
TJ Brodie Shea Weber Shea Weber
Kevin Shattenkirk Kevin Shattenkirk Kevin Shattenkirk
GOALIES
Pekka Rinne Pekka Rinne Pekka Rinne
Jonathan Quick Jonathan Quick Jonathan Quick
Corey Crawford Corey Crawford Corey Crawford

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