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2015 All Star Voting Starts Today!

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Vote Early, Vote Often, Vote COLUMBUS!

I had plans to write this earlier today, but the news about Jack Johnson's situation obviously took precedent.

The NHL (with their partners in crime at SiriusXM radio) will be launching the fan voting website for the all star game today at noon. Since the last ASG was wiped by the lockout (and last year's was pre-empted by the Olympics), we don't know exactly what we're going to see on the list of eligible players, but it looks like fans will vote, then the NHL will announce the team captains, and we'll get to see a "draft" to start the weekend where the players will be assigned.

It's likely that the league will nominate a few players from each club for voting, but they've also allowed write-in candidates each year, which gives fans a chance to stuff the ballot box.

I don't know if we can manage what Montreal did in 2009 by stacking a full starting five (plus Carey Price!) on the roster, but I do believe that the fifth line can do some damage here, and make sure that we have two or three guys to cheer just a little bit louder for.

Forwards:

Ryan Johansen - This one's pretty obvious, and there's a good bet he'll be one of the Blue Jackets the NHL already has on the ballot when voting opens. Currently part of a 4 way tie for 11th in overall scoring with six goals and 14 assists (6th overall in assists, in fact!), he's probably the most obvious "face of the franchise" guy to be nominated up front.
Previous ASG Apperances: 2012 (Rookie team)

Nick Foligno - two points behind Joey in the scoring race with 9G/9A, Folgino has been a heart and soul player since he arrived in Columbus, and after all he's overcome in his personal life, getting voted into the ASG roster would be an amazing way for the fanbase to show him how much we support him and his family. The fact that he has stats that are pretty "All Star" worthy is a nice bonus, but I'd have suggested voting for him even if he was on a 10 game pointless streak. 
Previous ASG Apperances: None

Brandon Dubinsky - This one may end up being a "honorary" vote, though hopefully he'd be back on the ice before voting closed. Dubi has become a big piece of this team, both in play on the ice and attitude off it. His absence this season with a groin injury makes it pretty clear how much the Jackets need him, and his resume is pretty solid, even if he doesn't have any games played so far in the 2014-2015 season.
Previous ASG Appearances: 2009 ("YoungStars" team)

Scott Hartnell - The only player on the current roster who has actually played in an actual All Star Game, as opposed to the rookie / "YoungStar" events, I suspect that he'll also be on the main ballot. Hartnell sits at 60th in overall scoring with 5G, 9A, but I bet we could probably talk fans from Philly into helping us give him a push.
Previous ASG Apperances: 2012, 2002 ("YoungStars" team)

Nathan Horton - Surprisingly, Horton has never been named to an all star roster at the NHL level. (He was part of the OHL all rookie squad in 2002). I realize that's probably not a BIG gap in his resume, given the Stanley Cup ring on his dresser, but if he is looking down the barrel of retirement due to his back...well, it's the least that we, as a fanbase, can do. 
Previous ASG Appearances: None

Defensemen:

James Wisniewski - "Wiz" has, quietly, been one of the best D-men on the team for the last two years, and there's a case to be made that he probably could have been a Norris trophy candidate last season. He's had a slower start this season, though given the injuries and shuffles all around the blue line, that's not terribly surprising, and has continued to be one of the better players for the Jackets during that time. Wiz is another player who has never made an All Star roster at the NHL level, though he was an OHL and CHL all star in 2004, and an OHL all rookie team player in 2001.
Previous ASG Appearances: None

Jack Johnson - There are lots of reasons why Johnson could be on the ballot (Team USA stalwart, olympic medalist, emotional, physical player in LA and Columbus), and lots of reasons why he probably wouldn't (#FancyStats), but since arriving in Columbus he's put a lot of effort into being a positive force on and off the ice, despite dealing with some pretty major off-ice problems with his family and financial situation. Is it a sympathy vote? Yeah. But for a guy who has been kicked as hard as he was? I don't really have a problem with that.
Previous ASG Appearances: None

Fedor Tyutin - A purely emotional vote here - not so much about his numbers on or off the ice (though until he was injured, they had been decent), but a recognition of the role he's played in turning this team around. A guy who has been a rock ever since he arrived from New York, Tyuuts has never been recognized with any kind of all star nomination or vote. Maybe we can fix that.
Previous ASG Appearances: None

Goaltender

Sergei Bobrovsky - Bob is the other guy on the roster I expect to see as a "built in" candidate, rather than being a possible write in choice. Even though his numbers have suffered with the team's slow and painful start (and getting injured didn't really help any), he's a Vezina trophy winner with solid body of work behind him, particularly since coming to Columbus and taking hold of the starter's job. Interestingly, even though there wasn't a 2013 all star game (Thanks, Gary), Bob WAS named to the 2013 all star first team roster at the end of the season - so, technically, this would actually be his SECOND All Star nod if he gets in, but his first game. Yes, that gives me a bit of a headache to think about, too.

So, there you have it. If I've timed this right, you should finish reading this article just as the polls open.

Let's show the NHL what this town can do.