Now that we’ve found out that Jamie Benn (appendix) and Mikko Koivu (shoulder) are going to be out until at least after the All-Star Game, these two All-Stars are going to need to be replaced. Thankfully there’s a host of snubbed players to pick from to replace Benn and Koivu, but picking the right guys is tough.
Michael Russo of The Star Tribune points out that picking a player from the same team isn’t necessary or required. If you’re an All-Star anarchist hoping that Dany Heatley would be selected to replace Koivu and become the de facto villain in Ottawa, keep dreaming. With that in mind, Benn’s teammate Loui Eriksson is about as worthy as anyone else out there and could get the call to take Benn’s spot.
As for Koivu’s spot in the game, Scott Hartnell’s plea to be named to the team could be fulfilled finally but Phoenix’s Radim Vrbata has a strong case to be named as well. Vrbata has 22 goals already this season and if ever there was a guy that could spice up some of the events in the NHL Skills Competition it’s the shifty Vrbata who shines in the shootout.
Patrice Bergeron out of Boston and Kris Versteeg from Florida also have solid cases to be made as well although Versteeg is having his own issues at the moment in Sunrise. Whoever ends up selected to replace Benn and Koivu will lead to talk about further snubs of course, but that’s all part of the fun of the new format.