Considered one of the NHL’s leading injury reserves for the All-Star Game in Ottawa on Jan. 29, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell could still be on the outside looking in despite open spots.
With injuries to selected All-Stars, Minnesota Wild’s Mikko Koivu and Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn, Hartnell, who is having a career season with 19 goals and 19 assists in 43 games, might still be behind unheralded but buzz-worthy Phoenix Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata, who has 22 goals and 15 assists in 45 games.
Helping Vrbata jump on the All-Star map is his three goals and assist in his last three games.
“There’s no directive to replace a Wild player with another unless he’s a worthy candidate,” said Wild beat reporter Michael Russo. “So I’m not so sure the Wild will have a representative anymore. I’d think Radim Vrbata gets the call or Scottie Hartnell.”
Another option to consider is the promotion of another Wild player in Koivu’s wake. Winger and former Senator Dany Heatley has been tagged as the only other consideration with 13 goals and 17 assists in 45 games. The move would also provide valuable drama to an otherwise drama-less event, as Heatley demanded a trade out of Ottawa in late 2009, causing immense bad blood with the city and its fans.
Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg could also be a name on the table, with 17 goals and 22 assists in 42 games.