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Are Oilers Helped or Hurt By NHL All-Star Selection Rules?

The NHL rule that one person from each team needs to attend the All-Star game means some Oilers will get snubbed. Is that a bad thing?

The NHL has a rule that one member from each team should be selected for each season’s NHL All-Star Game. Some argue it’s an idiotic rule since it virtually guarantees that some of the league’s best players will be left out of the competition, while others suggest it’s fair that each team’s fan base should have a representative at the game to cheer for. Regardless of where you sit on this debate, the Edmonton Oilers are a team that has been shafted by the rule, as they easily have four or five All-Star-caliber players on their team this season.

Each team can make the argument that someone should go that hasn’t been selected. In the case of Toronto, that Auston Matthews might not be going seems wild. David Pastrnak out of Boston wasn’t chosen, nor was Mikko Rantanen out of Colorado. How can the NHL explain that? When it comes to the Oilers, Leon Draisaitl — the league’s second-highest scorer — was not chosen.

Oilers Top Six forwards Nugent-Hopkins, Hyman, McDavid, Draisaitl

To make matters worse, a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having a career year, and he may be left out of the game, even after the fans get to voting and Twitter results play their part. It seems wrong that someone who may not get another chance to go and is in the top ten for scoring could be watching from home. What about Zach Hyman? He could get in based on the season he’s having. Even Stuart Skinner could make it in his rookie season.

At the same time, the rest is good. There are plenty of All-Stars who don’t want to go and do because the NHL suspends players for a game who miss after being selected. The big win for the Oilers comes as they improve their results in the regular season and an All-Star game only asks players who might be a bit banged up and tired to travel, then play, when the rest of the league gets a break.

Individually, many Oilers are performing quite well. As a team, the results aren’t where they’d like them to be and that has to come first. No doubt, if you asked Connor McDavid if he’d prefer to sit out the All-Star game if it meant a few extra wins this season, he’d take the wins. Perhaps that’s the mentality the Oilers who could get snubbed should take. While it’s an honor to be selected or voted in, it’s just as helpful that the players who don’t go get rested and ready for a better second half.

All that said, it’s still a stupid rule that one player from every team has to go.

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