Ranking New York Rangers All-Star Game fan vote candidates

NHL: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The hockey community was buzzing on Thursday night when the NHL announced the first 32 participants of the upcoming All-Star Game on Feb. 3, 2024, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Interestingly, the New York Rangers fan base was fired up when they learned that Igor Shesterkin had received the nod over Artemi Panarin, who is in the midst of a career season and a candidate for the Hart Trophy.

However, everything immediately calmed down when Panarin announced that he couldn’t attend the event because he was expecting another child, so he bowed out, leading to Shesterkin earning the selection. But, during his announcement, he felt it was essential to tell fans that they needed to vote for several of his teammates, like Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere, Vincent Trocheck, Jacob Trouba, and Adam Fox, to attend the event.

For those who need a refresher, there were three Rangers skaters in All-Star Game jerseys last season, including Shesterkin, Panarin, and Fox. Considering that fans can vote for their favorite players and stack the Metropolitan Division roster with New Yorkers, we want to look at all the candidates and determine which ones most deserve your votes.

Related: Adam Fox regaining pre-injury form

New York Rangers All-Star Game Fan Vote Candidates

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

6.) Alexis Lafreinere (Never been an NHL All-Star)

As the top pick from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, it is safe to say that Alexis Lafreniere has yet to live up to the expectations of being the top pick. However, in 2023-24, it appears the 22-year-old has finally turned a corner and is on pace to shatter all his best career totals in goals (19), assists (23), and points (39).

Under new head Peter Laviolette, he’s seen an increase in ice time (17:03) and has been given more responsibility as a second-line winger, which has helped his game improve from his rookie season.

5.) Jacob Trouba (Never been an NHL All-Star)

Jacob Trouba has been the Rangers captain since 2022 and is one of the most feared hitters in the NHL today. As the leader on and off the ice, Trouba is tied with K’Andre Miller for third in scoring amongst New York defensemen while leading the entire team in penalty minutes with 37. Interestingly, he’s plus-nine, second best behind Miller, who is at plus-10.

Meanwhile, since his recent promotion, Will Cuylle now leads the team in hits, but Trouba is a close second while being the only skater to have over 100 block shots this season.

4.) Adam Fox (NHL All-Star in 2022, 2023)

Adam Fox has been to the last two NHL All-Star Games and is a former Norris Trophy winner, named the league’s best defenseman in 2020-21. Despite the credentials, Fox is having a subpar season, missing ten games due to an injury, which has hindered his performance with just 24 points in 27 games.

Although most teams would love to have those numbers from any defender, Fox is a top-pairing defenseman skating about two minutes less a night this year compared to last year. Before missing all of November with his injury, Fox had 11 points in 10 games, but since returning to the lineup, he’s tallied just 13 assists in the past 17 games.

3.) Vincent Trocheck (NHL All-Star in 2017)

When the Rangers acquired Vincent Trocheck, many wondered if they overpaid for the center, who had a career-high 75 points in 2017-18. Surprisingly, Trocheck has fit in nicely with the Rangers, accumulating 100 points in 119 games and becoming an assist machine with 69 helpers in a season and a half.

Additionally, he skated in all 82 games last year and hasn’t missed a contest yet this season. As the most durable player in the lineup, Trocheck only trails Panarin in assists and Zibanejad and Panarin in points while skating the most minutes of any forward in the lineup.

2.) Mika Zibanejad (Never been an NHL All-Star)

Mika Zibanejad has scored five goals in a single game, tallied a Golden Goal at the World Junior Championships, and is an eight-time 20-goal scorer in the NHL. However, the 30-year-old has never played in an All-Star Game. Just like most seasons, Zibanejad is right up there amongst the team leaders in goals (third), assists (third), and points (second) while anchoring the team’s top line.

Even though he’s accomplished a lot during his career, playing in an All-Star Game would be an honor he could cherish forever. As one of the most consistent players during his eight seasons on Broadway, it will take a fan vote to get him to the annual midseason classic eventually.

1.) Chris Kreider (NHL All-Star in 2020, 2022)

Although Chris Kreider doesn’t wear the captain’s “C” on his jersey, there’s no denying that he is the heart and soul of the Rangers. After 12 years in New York, he’s climbed several of the franchise’s all-time lists and remains one of the team’s best skaters, lethal on the man advantage.

As usual, he’s already tallied 20 goals, reaching the plateau for the ninth time in his career while leading the team with nine powerplay goals. Additionally, Kreider is one of two players with over 100 shots and has excellent chemistry with Zibanejad on the Rangers’ top line, an aspect of his game that goes unnoticed outside of the New York area.

Considering that Panarin is not attending the All-Star Game, Kreider would be the most obvious choice in the fan vote. Still, if everyone wanted to vote for a ceremonial opportunity, fans should staff the ballot box for Zibanejad, one of the most deserving Rangers skaters.

Some of Ryan Gagne's all-time favorite goalies have been Mike Richter, Henrik Lundqvist, and Igor Shesterkin. As a Yankees... More about Ryan Gagne

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