Coyotes' NHL all-star game candidates to potentially replace John Scott
Enforcer traded to Habs after fans vote him event's Pacific Division captain
At 20, Max Domi has adjusted well to the NHL as the former Ontario Hockey League star is second only to Chicago's Artemi Panarin in rookie scoring.
A couple of his more established Arizona Coyotes teammates, Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan, are enjoying solid seasons, with the former on track to set career highs in goals, assists and points.
So, does it only make sense to name one of the three to the Pacific Division all-star team in place of John Scott, who was traded to Montreal last week, since the NHL has made it a mandate to include a representative from each of its 30 teams?
He's probably their best player and he deserves to be [at the NHL all-star game].- Kings defenceman Drew Doughty on Coyotes D-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Not according to Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, who held a 10-point lead over Arizona in the Pacific entering play Monday. He believes fellow defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is more worthy of all-star status.
"That's the only guy I could think of that's most deserving on that team," Doughty told lakingsinsider.com recently. "Obviously he's probably their best player and he deserves to be there."
A forward would be selected to replace Scott so each of the league's divisional all-star squads have six forwards, four defencemen and two goalies. But Ekman-Larsson is a defenceman, so what now, Drew?
"I could always play forward, too," he said. "I used to play it back in the day."
Ekman-Larsson entered Monday's contest against Buffalo with 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points in 44 games, good for fourth spot among NHL defencemen. Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, San Jose's Brent Burns and Dallas' John Klingberg have more points and Karlsson and Burns will skate in the Jan. 31 all-star game in Nashville. Klingberg probably would have been named if Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin weren't 2-3 in league scoring.
Boedker had a team-leading 33 points through Sunday, was tied with Ekman-Larsson with 15 power-play points, but the blue-liner held a 6-4 edge in game-winning goals.
Doan still delivering
Doan, at 39, would make for a solid sentimental pick. He also leads Arizona with 16 goals and has 23 points in 35 games.
Fans stuffed the ballot box and voted Scott, who has 11 points in 285 NHL regular-season games and was a frequent healthy scratch in Arizona this season, to captain the Pacific Division.
The 33-year-old enforcer was subsequently sent to Montreal's American Hockey League affiliate in St. John's after the trade and told reporters there on Sunday that he hasn't heard from the NHL about his all-star game status.
A new captain will need to be named for the Pacific Division and, as Coyotes general manager Don Maloney expects, another player from his club's roster to represent Arizona in Nashville.