Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders as well as Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers have both been selected too make the 2020 NHL All Star game.
This will be Barzal’s second appearance and Panarin’s first appearance in the All Star game. They will be on the same team, as squads are selected by division.
Barzal has been the best player so far for the Islanders this season as he leads the team in goals with 16, assists with 17 and points with 33 while serving as the teams top center – and playing on a line with captain Anders Lee and winger Jordan Eberlee.
There are many reasons to believe that Barzal is the next face of the franchise as he is one of the fastest skaters in the league – finishing 3rd in the fastest skater competition, only behind Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel during All Star weekend last season.
He has great puck control, creates many opportunities for his teammates as he is a pass first player and has great explosiveness.
This is Barzal’s second straight appearance in the All Star game, and he did just fine in his first appearance with the league’s best – scoring 2 goals and 3 assists in last year’s game, as he and Sidney Crosby led the Metropolitan division to it’s second All Star game victory in the last 4 seasons.
While on the other hand, Artemi Panarin is having a fantastic year averaging over a point per game in his first season with the New York Rangers – with 51 points in only 38 games. He has scored 21 goals and has assisted on 30 goals.
Panarin’s career high in points is 87 and he did this just last season. He is on pace for over 100 points this season.
The Rangers gave him a massive seven-year contract worth $81.5 Million this past off season and so far he has been worth the money and more.
He has also kept his team alive in the playoff race as they are only 3 games behind the Hurricanes for the second Wild Card spot.
Brock Nelson of the Islanders and Mika Zibanejad of the Rangers can still make the team if they are voted as the last man as well.
Also, either of the Islanders’ goalies – Semyon Varlamov or Thomas Greiss – are likely candidates to also make the team to replace Joonas Korpisalo of the Columbus Blue Jackets who will be sidelined the next couple of weeks with a knee injury.
Barzal and Panarin will both be heading to St. Louis in late January, and will look to help the Metropolitan division bring home another All Star game title, as well as maybe a win an Individual Event at the Skills Competition.