There are three Columbus Blue Jackets on the NHL All-Star ballot

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The National Hockey League has released its official ballot for the 2012 All-Star Game. It includes 127 players — 18 goalies, 36 defensemen and 73 forwards — with voting set to begin on Monday, Nov. 14.

And when voting begins on Monday, you’ll have the opportunity to send three members of the Columbus Blue Jackets to Ottawa for all the festivities!

Rick Nash, Jeff Carter and RJ Umberger all made the ballot. You can make a case for Nash being there because he leads the team in scoring. You can make a case for Carter because he’s been an All-Star before. And you can make a case for Umberger because…the league had a quota for guys named RJ? That’s all I got.

See, Umberger’s not just having a bad year. He’s having a terrible year (1G-4A-5PTS, minus-2) on a terrible team. He’s currently being outscored by two CBJ defensemen: Aaron Johnson (who is four points away from tying his career high of 10) and Grant Clitsome (hehe, Clitsome.)

I’m all for equal representation at the All-Star game. I also realize this might be Columbus’ lone highlight of the season (the Blue Jackets will be in highlights, of course, like Jamie Benn’s goal.)

But aren’t there some deserving guys that got left off the ballot?

Yep, sure are.

With that said, here are PHT’s All-Star Ballot Snubs.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: This may be intentional as there are no rookies on the ballot. (Last year the All-Star weekend featured a YoungStars game between rookies and sophomores, though Carolina’s Jeff Skinner got to compete in the big game.) RNH has 6G-6A-12PTS — more than Nash and Los Angeles’ Mike Richards.

David Legwand: Point-a-game player (14PTS, 14GP) for the fifth-place team in the West. Tied for 22nd overall in league scoring. Plays 19 minutes a night. NB: Despite being 13 points clear of Columbus, Nashville has the same number of players on the ballot.

Marc-Andre Bergeron: Bergeron leads all NHL defensemen in scoring. This requires no further explanation.

Jimmy Howard: Jimmy’s 6-3-1 so far with a 1.79 GAA. Jimmy’s save percentage is .928. Jimmy doesn’t understand why he’s not one of 18 goalies nominated. Jimmy definitely thinks he should be there over Jaroslav Halak. Jimmy’s actually okay with this snub, though. Jimmy might take the family on vacation during the break. Jimmy’s been looking at places in Maui. Anyway, good talk. Jimmy’ll see you around.

Niklas Backstrom/Josh Harding: Minnesota has the league’s second-lowest GAA — shouldn’t at least one of its goalies be on the ballot? If I had to pick, I’d probably go with Backstrom because he’s played more (nine starts to Harding’s five) and his stats are pretty solid: 2.05 goals-against and a .926 save percentage. Maybe Harding just canceled him out of the equation.

Losing Neal to Vegas was a ‘pretty big price to pay’ for Predators

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The Vegas Golden Knights named their team on Wednesday, and it was no surprise that James Neal was among their selections in the expansion draft.

Why not? Since entering the league in 2008, Neal has scored at least 20 goals in each of his nine seasons, hitting the 40-goal mark in 2011-12 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But after coming up two wins shy of a Stanley Cup this spring, Neal was left unprotected by the Predators.

Predators general manager David Poile had reportedly been in talks with Vegas GM George McPhee, but a deal couldn’t be achieved.

“With how well we played in the playoffs, I’d certainly like to bring everybody back, but the prices [to make a deal with Vegas] were very high,” Poile told the Predators website.

“[McPhee] was looking for younger players or high draft picks, and at the end of the day, I just felt that we had to do what the Expansion Draft was set out to do and that was to lose a player. In this case, we lost James Neal and that’s a pretty big price to pay.”

Neal has one more year left on his six-year contract that has an annual cap hit of $5 million, before he’s a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

Nashville has about $22.7 million in cap space, per CapFriendly, but five pending restricted free agents — Austin Watson, Frederick Gaudreau, Pontus Aberg and most notably Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson — in need of contracts. In Arvidsson’s case, he’s due for a significant raise from the $640,000 he made in NHL salary last season, in which he scored 31 goals and 61 points.

“James had a much bigger contract and he only had one year left before he was an unrestricted free agent. We didn’t have any negotiations, but there was no guarantees that we would be able to keep him. It really was a business decision. It was as simple as that,” Poile the Tennessean.

Caps re-sign Christian Djoos, who could get his NHL shot next season

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The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Christian Djoos to a two-year, $1.3 million contract.

It’s a two-way deal in 2017-18, and a one-way deal the following season.

Djoos, 22, is expected to push for an NHL spot next season, along with Madison Bowey and possibly Tyler Lewington.

That’s because Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, both unrestricted free agents, aren’t expected to re-sign with Washington.

On top of that, the Caps lost d-man Nate Schmidt in yesterday’s expansion draft.

Djoos, a seventh-round pick in 2012, had 13 goals and 45 assists in 66 games for AHL Hershey this past season.

It was his second full season in the AHL.

Bettman says NHL will call more slashes next season

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Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL will look to enforce slashing penalties more next season.

Following the league’s board of governors meeting, Bettman said pointless slashes to players’ hands will be called more. Ottawa’s Marc Methot and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau were among the players to miss time last season with hand injuries from slashes.

Related PHT coverage:

Gaudreau (finger) out six weeks, Treliving says Staal slash the culprit

— Flames made ‘mountain out of a molehill’ over Gaudreau slash

— Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby slash

— Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash

Report: Vegas sends Trevor van Riemsdyk to Hurricanes

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Here. We. Go.

According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, the Vegas Golden Knights have sent defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Van Riemsdyk was among 15 defensemen taken by the Golden Knights in Wednesday’s expansion draft, however, general manager George McPhee made a point of saying that, as a result of having this sudden surplus at the position, he was going to have to move some of those blue liners.

McPhee has been busy over the past few days, making deals with a number of teams ahead making his expansion selections, stockpiling draft picks, including three in the top 15 of the first round.

More to come.