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Second-Teamers: A look at the almost-all-stars from each NHL division

The NHL all-star game is all about having fun, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that many league stars are sitting at home sipping cocktails. here's a look at what a second all-star team for each division would look like.

For an event many fans claim they don't care about, there's always a lot of outrage about the selections for the All-Star Game each season. Granted, when the goal is to have team-by-team representation, you're bound to have situations where someone such as Tyler Bertuzzi makes the mini-tournament over Brad Marchand, who has one of the NHL's best players for the past few seasons.

But what if that wasn't the case? What if in an effort to get all the deserving players to the mid-season showcase, the NHL added secondary squads and widened the net? That's what we're going to do here. Keeping in mind some players have backed out due to injury or a hankering for some beachside cocktails, here's a look at what a second all-star team for each division would look like, while also trying to maintain the same league-wide representation:

Atlantic Division
F) Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins
F) Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
F) Tomas Tatar – Montreal Canadiens
F) William Nylander – Toronto Maple Leafs
F) Aleksander Barkov – Florida Panthers
F) Brayden Point – Tampa Bay Lightning
F) Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
D) Keith Yandle – Florida Panthers
D) Torey Krug – Boston Bruins
G) Jaroslav Halak – Boston Bruins
G) Linus Ullmark – Buffalo Sabres

When you've got a division full of star forwards, you're bound to leave a few at home. Case in point: Marchand, sixth in NHL scoring, missed out. Throw in his star two-way center, Bergeron, and you've got great chemistry for the 3-on-3 action. Barkov entered the all-star break tied for 12th in scoring with 54 points, and Nylander, Point and Tatar have held the fort in their respective cities. The most challenging decision came in net. With Sergei Bobrovsky and Carey Price struggling, Halak, a backup in Boston, and Ullmark, who was outplayed early in the year by Carter Hutton, were the next-best options.

Metropolitan Division
F) Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
F) Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins
F) Andrei Svechnikov – Carolina Hurricanes
F) Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
F) Teuvo Teravainen – Carolina Hurricanes
F) Bryan Rust – Pittsburgh Penguins
F) Evgeny Kuznetsov – Washington Capitals
D) Zachary Werenski – Columbus Blue Jackets
D) Anthony DeAngelo – New York Rangers
G) Ilya Samsonov – Washington Capitals
G) Semyon Varlamov – New York Islanders

Injuries prevented Crosby and Malkin from playing full seasons, but they're still two of the best players in the league. Had he been healthy at the time, Crosby would have been a shoo-in for selection and few players have been as dominant over the past 30 games as Malkin and his 50 points. Rust has earned his due, too, with a true breakout campaign on a team ravaged by injury. Svechnikov has been incredible in Carolina and is almost guaranteed to make the cut in 2021 – and, come on, the NHL better bring the shootout competition back if 'Svech' is there. The goaltending features a heavy Russian presence, starting with the better of the two Washington Capitals goaltenders this season, Samsonov, and a rejuvenated Varlamov, who could also easily be replaced by Islanders teammate Thomas Greiss.

Central Division
F) Kyle Connor – Winnipeg Jets
F) Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
F) Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
F) Brayden Schenn – St. Louis Blues
F) Andre Burakovsky – Colorado Avalanche
F) Mikko Rantanen – Colorado Avalanche
F) Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
D) Cale Makar – Colorado Avalanche
D) Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
G) Ben Bishop – Dallas Stars
G) Robin Lehner – Chicago Blackhawks

With a three-point difference separating the fourth-place Blackhawks from the seventh-place Predators, there's bound to be some solid talent missing out from the Central. Toews' resurgence after a slow start has made him one of the division's most dangerous forwards as of late, and Connor is one of the highest-scoring players to miss out on the event. For the sake of having every team represented, Jets defenseman Neal Pionk wasn't included, but he's been good enough to warrant a look. The goaltending is stellar, with the two Vezina runner-ups getting the nod for the second Central team.

Pacific Division
F) J.T. Miller – Vancouver Canucks
F) Taylor Hall – Arizona Coyotes
F) Mark Stone – Vegas Golden Knights
F) Elias Lindholm – Calgary Flames
F) Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
F) Clayton Keller – Arizona Coyotes
F) Brock Boeser – Vancouver Canucks
D) Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings
D) Erik Karlsson – San Jose Sharks
G) Mikko Koskinen – Edmonton Oilers
G) John Gibson – Anaheim Ducks

In terms of pure talent, the Pacific may be the weakest division, but don't count them out. This is a pure speed-driven group with two defenseman who, while not at the peak of their respective careers, can still hold the fort and move the puck well in a 3-0n-3 situation. Could you imagine Doughty defending while Stone and Hall work their magic around the net? The biggest question comes in net, as an injury to Darcy Kuemper and Marc-Andre Fleury's decision to stay home watered down the talent pool. Neither Gibson or Koskinen have fantastic numbers, but the former has been at the All-Star Game before and is typically one of the better 1-on-1 goaltenders...not that performance truly matters in the game itself.

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