TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was left on the outside looking in when the rosters for next month’s All-Star Game were announced Thursday night.
Stamkos, who is sixth in the league in points with 45, wasn’t among the 11 players selected to represent the Atlantic Division for All-Star weekend in Las Vegas on Feb. 4-5. He possibly will be selected by fan vote through the league’s “Last Men In” process.
The Lightning’s two representatives — defenseman Victor Hedman and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy — were certainly deserving, and Stamkos’ snub seemed to be more a result of the Lightning’s riches. Selections for the All-Star Game are made by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department.
Given how Stamkos carried the offensive load while both Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point missed significant time, Lightning forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said he was “shocked” that Stamkos wasn’t selected.
“The votes are about the start of the season and he was our hottest guy while we were missing Pointer and Kuch,” Bellemare said. “Stammer was there, playing over 20 (minutes) helping the team win every night. I don’t know if it’s because he’s a guy that’s been in the league so long and he’s been so good for so long that people expect him to be this way and it’s just another year for him. But it’s something difficult to do, to play in the league that long and still deliver. He obviously deserved it.”