Becoming an NHL star isn’t what it used to be. Today’s glitzy 3-on-3 format between four divisions is more entertaining than the regular 5-on-5 no-check game of the past. But if Nazem Kadri doesn’t represent the Avalanche at the Mid-Winter Classic next month, something is wrong.
Kadri, the Avs’ second-line center, entered Friday leading the team with 48 points in 30 games and leading the league with 35 assists. He plays on the No. 1 power play and penalty kill for a team that leads the Western Conference in winning percentage (.712) and should be guaranteed to make his first All-Star appearance. But the All-Star Game is no longer for second-tier players with big seasons.
In the current 3v3 mini-tournament, each of the four divisions can only accommodate 11 players – six attackers, three defenders and two goalkeepers. Each team must have one representative, meaning the top teams will have no more than two when announcing the top 10 names in each division.
The NHL Hockey Operations Department suits chose center Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Cale Makar as two Colorado representatives and gave Kadri a chance to become the “last in” of the fan vote.
MacKinnon, named Central Division captain for the third straight time, and Makar, who leads all NHL defensemen with 16 goals, are deserving. But it should have been Kadri and Makar. MacKinnon was there, did that. He drove in a lot of points for the league’s highest-scoring team, but he missed 10 games.
If Kadri doesn’t win the ‘Last Man’ fan vote – which he might not because of his bad boy reputation – something is wrong.
“It’s silly. I don’t think every team should send a guy,” MacKinnon said of Kadri’s snub on Friday. “It’s an All-Star Game, not a participation game.”
“It’s an honour, obviously, to be considered,” Kadri said ahead of Thursday’s provisional rosters. “This league has so many great players, even our team. To be considered a star would certainly be a great achievement. »
Second in the league in points per game (1.60), Kadri is on course to surpass his career highs of 32 goals and 61 points from his 2016-17 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 30 games, he has already eclipsed the goals, assists and points in 56 games last season.
“I’m not sure man, I don’t know what happened. I kind of try to approach every game the same way and sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you’re not,” he said. “I’m lucky to play with a great team and great teammates who give me the opportunity to do what I can do. I’m just trying to show what I can do. I don’t think we can really project ourselves too much into the future. You have to take it game by game and you know, just take it one step at a time.
Av coach Jared Bednar has a better idea of what has changed in Kadri’s game.
“I think his time with us (over the previous two seasons) has always lived up to what he’s done his entire career. I think it’s strictly hunger, commitment, ethics work,” Bednar said. “When he puts skill before work, he’s not as effective. When he’s willing to work and play that style of power forward, his skill shines through. is easy for me.
It’s simple. Kadri, who can be an unrestricted free agent next summer, is expected to play in the All-Star Game next month.
And the Avs should try to sign him for an extension before the end of this season.
Sport News | Nazem Kadri deserves All-Star Game nod and contract extension – The Denver Post