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Patrik Elias is the New Jersey Devils' Representative for 2015 NHL All-Star Game

Every team will have at least one player at the 2015 NHL All-Star Game. Earlier tonight, Patrik Elias was announced as the Devils' representative. This is a reaction post, expressing some surprise given that Elias was the one to be named.

Patrik Elias will be going to wear the neon and something else of the 2015 All-Star Game jerseys.
Patrik Elias will be going to wear the neon and something else of the 2015 All-Star Game jerseys.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, the National Hockey League announced the full rosters for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game, which will take place on January 25 in Columbus, Ohio.  The format for the teams will be decided on January 23 at the All Star Fantasy Draft, but every NHL team will have at least one member participating.  The representative for the New Jersey Devils will be Patrik Elias.  This will be his fourth appearance to the All-Star Game.

Admittedly, I have completely forgot about All-Star Game.  It's only an exhibition, but it's a nice diversion within the regular season.  The source of my failure to recall has been the Devils' season.  With a record of 15-21-8, there's no one really standing out so much to be recognized on a larger scale.  Sure, there are players on the roster more important than others. But have any one really been so good to be considered among the league's best?

That said, I'm very surprised that Elias is the selection.  It is true that Elias has hit a milestone recently of 600 assists and 1,000 points.  He did it all with the same team, becoming the 35th player in NHL history to have done so, as Mike pointed out in the comments in this post noting how difficult it is to get to 1,000 points in the NHL. It is also true that Elias has been an important player for the Devils in past seasons.  If there's a player to be selected for what he's done in over the past few seasons, Elias would be a good pick as anyone.

I still think it's a dubious selection. Elias has been declining this season. He's not the same Elias of the past, where he could go up against top competition and generally win the matchup. He's tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 18 points in 34 games, with six goals, twelve assists, and 53 shots.  Those aren't exactly great numbers on their own.  Within New Jersey, he's tied with Mike Cammalleri in points and he's two ahead Michael RyderHe's just below 50% in Corsi this season. Elias is not at all the team's best or most productive forward. So how can he really be a proper representative?

If not him, then who?  Immediately coming to my mind is Jaromir Jagr. He is the team's leading scorer, shooter, and possession player.  He is the team's best forward and their best skater given that none of the defensemen are all that impressive.  He's also got that legacy thing going for him, what with him moving up the all-time scoring ranks while playing big minutes as a 42-year old. If the NHL wanted a skater from the Devils, the better choice would be him.  At the same time, perhaps Jagr said no?  Jagr did tell Tom Gulitti, as per Fire & Ice a few days ago, that he doesn't think he deserves it.  I would only agree in that he's not one of the top 21 forwards in the league (21 forwards were selected today).  But he's been the best skating player for the team this season, for better or worse.  I don't know how much leeway players get in this, but it wouldn't surprise me if Jagr saying this to the media dissuaded the selectors for the All-Star Game.

The only other Devil I would consider as somewhat deserving for an All-Star appearance would be goaltender Cory Schneider.  His overall save percentage of 91.9% isn't a top one, he's fourteenth on the save percentage leaders chart at prior to Saturday's night games.  However, Schneider does boast a top-ten save percentage at even strength even when you include goalies who have only played a handful of games.  He's also the league leader in saves attempted at evens, so those two facts speak to how well Schneider has played on a team that has been conceding way more shots than they are used to.   It also means that the penalty kill - which was atrocious in October - has been the albatross on his overall save percentage.  That said, is Schneider that much more worthy than the other goalies not selected by the fans: Jimmy Howard, Pekka Rinne, Carey Price, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Roberto Luongo?  Schneider's better than Howard and Bobrovsky at even strength save percentage. Schneider has only been better than Bobrovsky in terms of overall save percentage.  So I would think he's better than Bobrovsky. But since he's the host city's starter, he's been pretty good in his own right, and his team was miserable when he was out, I am not upset about him getting the nod.

In general, if the NHL didn't require a representative from each team for the All-Star Game, then I wouldn't have been surprised if there was no Devil appearing.  That's because this has been that poor of a season.  But I do think there were two better Devils than Elias that could have been selected.  In any case, Schneider and Jagr will get some more rest along with the rest of the team and Elias can have some fun for a weekend.  In spite of my doubts, I congratulate Elias for being named to the 2015 All-Star Game roster.  And I express my sympathies that he has to wear one of these jerseys for the game.

What do you make of the announcement of Elias to the All-Star Game?  Do you think he's deserving of representing the Devils? If not, who would you have chosen?  Will you even pay attention to the All-Star Weekend and/or the game itself on January 25?  Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the All-Star Game in the comments.  Thank you for reading.