Should NHL Eliminate Required Representative From Each Team in ASG?

Colorado Avalanche, Nazem Kadri (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche, Nazem Kadri (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The NHL All-Star Game rosters were revealed on Thursday, and in the hours following the release, one sentiment has sounded on repeat: The NHL should not mandate that each team has an ASG representative.

In total, 44 players make up the four All-Star Game rosters, and the league ensures that at least one player from each of its 32 teams will be a part of the festivities. While the idea of players being snubbed from the game is not a new point of discussion by any means, the debate surrounding the NHL’s rule to require that each club has a representative in the game is turning heads.

It’s the same debate that Major League Baseball fans have each year after MLB All-Star selections are made with the same requirement. The NFL and NBA, however, do not exercise such a requirement, and as a result, teams are often shut out when it comes to ASG participants.

Perhaps no player is better poster child for a rule change in 2022 than Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri. The fourth-leading scorer in the NHL this season, Kadri has accumulated 48 points on the year, while leading the league in assists (35). He still has an opportunity to be voted onto the roster, but a player performing at this level should already be in.

Should the NHL change the All-Star Game roster selection requirements?

With that said, should the NHL consider making a change to this rule? On one hand, fans want to see the players that are most deserving of the All-Star Game nod participate in the game. In addition, it only seems right that the athletes that have earned the honor should be the ones that receive the honor, regardless of team affiliation,

On the other hand, it is certainly not ideal to isolate any fanbase(s) by allowing its team(s) to go unrepresented. It’s also worth considering that players on higher-achieving teams will naturally have more impressive statistical outputs than those on poorer teams, but that does not necessarily mean that one has had a better season than the other.

For me, I like the idea of each team being represented. Going back to the baseball side of things, I’m a Pirates fan, so I know what it’s like to watch a dismal team night in and night out. When it comes to the All-Star Game, I barely watch it, but when I do, it’s to see what the Pittsburgh players are doing. If it wasn’t for my lowly Buccos being included, I probably wouldn’t watch at all.

I would think that that same sentiment would be shared by some NHL fanbases. Sure, it’s not a perfect system, but you’ll never get every fan to agree that the most deserving players were the ones that were selected. Besides, it’s not as if there aren’t All-Star caliber players on each team across the NHL.

If anything, I would change the selection process to allow other voices to have a more significant role. The vast majority of the participants are not chosen by fans or media, so allowing those parties to provide their two cents could be an avenue for improvement.

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Could one make a case for eliminating the rule that each team needs to have an All-Star? Absolutely, but if you ask me, the rule serves a purpose, and more often than not, the right players get the nod.