Which Flames should go to the All-Star Game?

Ryan Pike
January 09 2017 02:00PM

The reserves for the National Hockey League's somewhat annual All-Star Game will be announced later this week. As we saw last year, the NHL is sending contingents representing each of its four divisions to Los Angeles for a three-on-three tournament for bragging rights. Each division has a roster featuring two goalies, three defensemen and six forwards, and the league ensures every team has a player at the event when the rosters are announced.

Last season, the Pacific Division (featuring Calgary Flames representatives Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano) captured the All-Star championship. With Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers already voted the Pacific's captain, we'll handicap which Flames players will represent Calgary at the event.

Mikael Backlund

Why: Has there been a more consistent positive on-ice presence for the Flames this season? Backlund has never played better hockey and he's never been selected to an All-Star Game. Sounds like a great fit for one of the two guys tied for the team lead in scoring and the center of one of the top shutdown lines in hockey.

Why Not: Bless his heart, but Backlund is currently tied for ninth in the Pacific Division in points. It'll be tough to get Backlund to fit into one of the five non-McDavid forward spots at what's basically a marketing event for the NHL. If it's the NHL's choice, they might err on the side of giving a spot to Johnny Gaudreau due to the marketing potential rather than sending Backlund. (Gaudreau is tied with Backlund for the team scoring lead, in fewer games, so that decision would be defensible.)

Dougie Hamilton

Why: Firmly entrenched on the top pairing for the Flames, Hamilton has been a consistent offensive presence for the Flames and a rock-solid possession defender. He's second in the Pacific Division in defensive scoring. He skates like a deer, whatever that means.

Why Not: Aside from perhaps a preference by the league to send captains or established stars, such as teammate Mark Giordano, there's really no good reason to skip over Hamilton.

Johnny Gaudreau

Why: Tied for the Flames scoring lead with Backlund, and having done it in fewer games, Gaudreau's one of the most dynamic, dangerous offensive players in the NHL. He hasn't taken over a game yet this season, but he's been pretty good for the Flames overall.

Why Not: Honestly? Because Backlund's been better this season and more crucial to the team's success. Gaudreau's been quite good, but Backlund and his line have been the straw that stirs the drink for the team. Like Backlund, Gaudreau's tied for ninth in the Pacific in scoring and will also be in tough to get one of the non-McDavid forward spots.

Chad Johnson

Why: When Brian Elliott struggled in October and November, Johnson took the reins and did his best to keep the Flames in the playoff hunt. He leads all Pacific goalies in save percentage. One of the most underrated players in the league, an All-Star Game berth for Johnson would be like an achievement award for all the league's hard-working secondary players. Plus, he'd probably get a new mask made for the event and that would be fun, too.

Why Not: Johnson's numbers are good, but most aren't quite top two or three in the Pacific. Four guys have more wins. Two guys have comparable shutout numbers. Two guys have better goals against averages. And with every team needing representation at the event – until they trade their All-Star, right Arizona? – it'll be tough to fit him in.

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Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames since 2010. He's Senior Contributing Editor at FlamesNation, a Senior Writer covering the Flames and the NHL Draft for The Hockey Writers, and a correspondent for the Fischler Report. You can see his hand or the side of his head on TV sometimes.
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#1 Avalain
January 09 2017, 02:21PM
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I can't believe you're talking about a 3v3 tournament without talking about how Johnny does on 3v3.

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#2 jakethesnail
January 09 2017, 02:40PM
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Avalain wrote:

I can't believe you're talking about a 3v3 tournament without talking about how Johnny does on 3v3.

Amen!

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#3 everton fc
January 09 2017, 02:43PM
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Hamilton should get the nod. Gaudreau hasn't earned it. Backlund's good, but there are better centres.

No one else is worthy...

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#4 flames2015
January 09 2017, 02:51PM
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The all star tournament has nothing to do with whose earned it, it's all about show and whose fun to watch. Gaudreau is the face of the franchise, the guy who gets you out of your seat and the one who little kids idolize so it's not really much of a debate that he's going to represent the Flames.

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#5 deantheraven
January 09 2017, 03:08PM
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Johnny will go 'cause he's so loveable. And creative, clever,fast, slick and deadly at 3-v-3. Chad should go and so should Backlund and Dougie. But they ain't as loveable on the marquee, outside of Calgary. Sure would like to see them all there.

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#6 Lucky 13
January 09 2017, 03:28PM
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@deantheraven

Plus who doesn't love seeing Johnny being used as a puppet skating with a lumbering giant velcroed to him on the shootout? Classic

Unfortunately, Backlund will be overlooked (our market) and maybe D Hamilton gets in ( lot of noise made about not trading him) garnering some attention, plus he's offensively put up good numbers.

I don't believe beyond that we will have much representation from Calgary.

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#7 deantheraven
January 09 2017, 03:56PM
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@Lucky 13

Dougie could do the Voracek with Johnny! Or maybe hide him under his jersey then Johnny pops out and dekes Holtby out of his jock.

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#8 Lucky 13
January 09 2017, 04:38PM
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@deantheraven

Haha..I likey like that!

If we could use suggestions such as that, they would be a shoe in .. maybe Johnny can light his stick on fire this time... never mind kids would piro the crap outta that and there'd be 911 calls everywhere!

Maybe we could use Bettman face for targets this year. No one would miss and would bring the entertainment factor way up!! Of course we'd need to black out the camera shots as Bettmans face splinters into a thousand pieces.

Yah maybe too early.. wait for a lockout season for that...

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#9 The GREAT WW
January 09 2017, 05:04PM
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Chuk needs to be in now and for the next 25 years!!!!!!

WW

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#10 Arminius
January 09 2017, 05:18PM
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Troy Brouwer

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#11 Jumping Jack Flash
January 09 2017, 05:19PM
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Johnny has not had his best year, but he should have more points with better finish from his wingers. He is still the only player on the team that can make something happen every shift.

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#12 Lucky 13
January 09 2017, 05:19PM
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The GREAT WW wrote:

Chuk needs to be in now and for the next 25 years!!!!!!

WW

Why am I not surprised to hear this? Oh yeah it's WW.

You might be right there WW, maybe we should get "the Russians" to tamper with the voting for this!

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#13 PlacidSeanMonahan
January 09 2017, 05:36PM
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Chad Johnston or DHammer

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#14 Jakethesnail
January 09 2017, 11:21PM
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everton fc wrote:

Hamilton should get the nod. Gaudreau hasn't earned it. Backlund's good, but there are better centres.

No one else is worthy...

Hamilton is not near to being an all star!

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#15 Jakethesnail
January 09 2017, 11:22PM
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The GREAT WW wrote:

Chuk needs to be in now and for the next 25 years!!!!!!

WW

Walter! Are you in love?😊

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#16 44stampede
January 10 2017, 01:13AM
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Jakethesnail wrote:

Walter! Are you in love?😊

Actually Matthew Tkachuk is not a bad option and should be one of the players on the list for consideration.

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#17 Jakethesnail
January 10 2017, 10:42AM
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44stampede wrote:

Actually Matthew Tkachuk is not a bad option and should be one of the players on the list for consideration.

As much as us flame fans like him he is not an all star.

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#18 44stampede
January 10 2017, 06:48PM
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Jakethesnail wrote:

As much as us flame fans like him he is not an all star.

Not like Ovechkin or Crosby but if one member of a team needs to be represented, it could be argued he is just as much of one to this team as Backs (who I am a big fan of) or Hamilton who are both on this list.

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