By now, the Nashville Predators are presumably used to being overlooked regarding public acknowledgement of success of any kind.
But captain Roman Josi’s omission from the 2022 All-Star Game roster is an oversight that is difficult for the league to explain away.
“With the success of our team [and] if you look at his stats and impact on the team, he should certainly be at the All-Star Game,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “So, [I'm] very surprised he wasn’t voted on, but I know there’s an opportunity to get him voted in. And when you look at his caliber of play this year, he certainly should be there.”
Only seven defensemen were chosen for the Feb. 5 exhibition game, and Josi has more goals than all of them but Cale Makar, and more points than all of them but Victor Hedman.
Of those seven, only two — Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin and New York’s Adam Fox — currently lead their team in scoring. Josi is Nashville’s leading scorer.
The fact that Josi is considered by many a frontrunner for the Norris Trophy yet has to rely on the fan vote to be honored as one of the league’s top players this season underscores just how flawed the NHL’s All-Star process actually is.
The four division captains are determined by the NHL All-Star Fan Vote — and rightfully so — but the rest of the rosters are left to the discretion of the NHL Hockey Operations department.
While there’s no denying Makar, the only defenseman representing the Central Division, is having a breakout season and has ascended into the small group of the NHL’s elite blueliners, it’s hard to support his case over Josi’s.
Makar ranks first among defensemen in goals (16) while Josi ranks second (12). Makar is fourth in points (34) and Josi is second (37). Makar is tied for fourth in power play goals (three), with Josi first (seven). Makar is tied for third in power play points (12), while Josi is first (19).
In fact, Josi leads all defensemen in power play goals (seven), power play points (19), power play shots (33) and total shots (125). He also ranks second in goals (12) and points (37), 10th in power play minutes (101:09) and 12th in average ice time (24:43). And he is one of just four defensemen to average a point per game or better.
Josi is currently on pace for 26 goals, 84 points, and 291 shots — all would be new career highs. It's hard to fathom a former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman in the midst of his best statistical season being left out of an event created to celebrate the league's top players.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_