As you may know, two players are representing the New York Islanders in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game. Captain, John Tavares and goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Originally it was only supposed to be Tavares selected to the All-Star Game but Halak was chosen to replace the injured Jimmy Howard. Halak is the Islanders’ first All-Star goalie since Rick DiPietro in the 2007-08 season.
Although Tavares and Halak are All-Stars, there are a few Islanders who deserved to be in the NHL All-Star Game this year. Among those Islanders that were snubbed include Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, and Johnny Boychuk.
Kyle Okposo has been every bit as important to the Islanders offense as Tavares this year in the early going, but did not garner the votes needed to be an All-Star. Okposo has had a phenomenal season leading the Islanders in assists with 30 and tied for ninth in the NHL. He recorded his first career hat trick on January 16. Okposo had three goals in the third period alone en route to scoring four goals in a thrilling 6-3 win over the Penguins on a Friday night at a rocking Coliseum. Kyle Okposo definitely deserved to be an All-Star this year.
Brock Nelson had a hot start to the 2014-2015 season. After the first three games of the season, Nelson already had 7 points on 4 goals and 3 assists. Now he has 30 points on 15 goals and 15 assists in a solid season for the young gun. You can argue that he hasn’t been producing night in and night out but for a kid who’s only in his second full season, he’s been pretty good for the Isles. Brock Nelson will be an All-Star later in his career.
Ryan Strome has been hearing it from the Islanders’ coaches ever since he arrived for his first NHL training camp four years ago: Go to the net, go to the corners and you’ll never hurt for playing time. Even though Strome is midway through a breakout season at age 21, he said his coaches still tell him to stay with what’s been working for him. There’s been no lack of success for Strome this season. He has totaled 33 points with 25 assists and 8 goals. Strome is currently on pace for a 59 point campaign. Not a bad first full season in the NHL, and better than most fans expected heading into the season. Ryan Strome will soon be known by many hockey fans down the road.
Johnny Boychuk also had a hot start to the season much like teammate Brock Nelson. Boychuk tallied 6 points on 2 goals and 4 assists in his first three games of the season. He now has 22 points with 18 assists and 4 goals. For a defencemen, that is very good. One of those goals was a game winner in overtime. Boychuk is a veteran in the NHL, he has won a Stanley Cup, he has played with great teams. Will he be an All-Star down the line in his career? Johnny Boychuk aka “Johnny Rocket” deserved to be an All-Star this year.
Well, there you have it. Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, and Johnny Boychuk all deserved to be All-Stars in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game. Meanwhile, John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak will play together in the NHL All-Star Game, as the Islanders teammates were drafted to Team Toews at Friday’s All-Star Fantasy Draft. Tavares was drafted in the fifth round (tenth overall) while Halak was picked in the tenth round (20th overall), as the NHL’s All-Stars were drafted. Tavares and Halak won’t be complete strangers with their All-Star teammates, as they’ve played with some of the league’s elite in All-Star and international competition.
You can catch all the action from the 2015 NHL All-Star Game tonight on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at 5:00 p.m. EST