The NHL’s best team will have a third representative at the 2019 All-Star game.
Montreal announced on Monday that Price will be withdrawing from the game so he can rest and recuperate. With Price no longer there, the only way the Canadiens will have a player represent them at the game is if defenseman Shea Weber wins the “Last Men In” fan vote for the game. Price is the second big-name player to pull out of this year’s game, joining Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin who chose additional rest over taking part in the weekend.
Both players will have to miss at least one game immediately before or after the All-Star break.
Based on their on-ice performances this season, Vasilevsky was probably the better choice for the game anyway. A finalist in 2018 for the Vezina Trophy, Vasilevskiy has been great for the Lightning once again this season with a .920 save percentage in 22 appearances. He did miss more than a month due to injury, but has definitely played at an All-Star level when he has been on the ice for the Lightning.
This will be his second consecutive All-Star game after also appearing in the 2018 game. He will be joining teammates Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos at the All-Star weekend in San Jose later this month.
At this point the only other players that seem to be in any real danger of missing the game might be Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel, who has missed a few games due to an upper-body injury, and Vancouver Canucks rookie sensation Elias Pettersson who has been sidelined due to a leg injury. Eichel seems to be on the verge of returning to the lineup any day now so it’s entirely possible, if not likely, that he will still take part. Pettersson is expected to miss at least one or two weeks so his status could still be an issue.