NHL Implements “John Scott” Rule  

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

by Matt Smith, Staff Writer/Social Media Specialist, All Habs Hockey Magazine

The 2015-2016 regular season was a train wreck to say the least for the Montreal Canadiens and the acquisition of “All-Star” forward John Scott did not sit well with many fans. Marc Bergevin traded 2010 first round pick (22nd overall) Jarred Tinordi and Stefan Fournier to the Arizona Coyotes for John Scott and defenseman Victor Bartley. It’s not surprising if you forgot about Bartley as he was completely invisible during his time with the Canadiens/IceCaps. Think of him as the David Desharnais of defense.

Despite efforts from the National Hockey League to remove John Scott from the NHL All-Star Game (followed by his trade to the Montreal Canadiens and assignment to the St. John’s IceCaps), Scott still showed the desire to attend the game. He represented the Pacific Division as their captain, the leader among fan voting, wearing a simple looking jersey with an NHL logo during the skills competition.

To complete the charade, Scott was named All-Star MVP but then quickly found himself back in the American Hockey League. He dressed for 27 games with the IceCaps, scoring two goals and two assists with 85 penalty minutes. Scott  also suited up for one game with the Montreal Canadiens, another moment during the season that did not sit well with fans after prospect Mike McCarron was sent to St. John’s in favor of Scott.

So, what did the NHL do to make sure that the “John Scott” situation would not happen again, so we wouldn’t see a player with 11 points in 286 NHL games play alongside elite NHL talent? Well, not that much, to be honest.

When the league revealed its balloting for the NHL All-Star Game this season, it will have new guidelines set for fan voting:

  • The 2017 NHL All-Star Fan vote will allow fans to vote for one all-star player from each division, without regard to position. The top vote getter from each division will be named an NHL all-star, as well as captain of his respective team.
  • Eligible players must be on an NHL club’s active roster as of November 1st. Any player not on the active roster on that date due to injury or special circumstances can be added to the ballot if/when he returns to the NHL club’s active roster.
  • If a player is assigned/loaned to the American Hockey League or any other minor league team between November 1st and 5 p.m. on January 26th, the player is not eligible in all-star balloting. However, if the minor league assignment/loan is due to conditioning reasons, the player remains eligible.
  • In the event a vote leader is disqualified due to a minor league assignment or loan (or other season) after close of the NHL All-Star fan vote on January 2nd, the player with the second most votes in that division will be named captain.
  • Fans will be permitted to vote for a player from a list of all players that meet these eligibility guidelines. The list of eligible players will be updated as players are assigned to a minor league team or return from IR.

Under these new rules however, it does nothing to ensure we will not have another John Scott situation. A player that many would not deem “elite” could still be voted in if he has enough of a following and the NHL will not be able to do anything about it as long as it meets the current guidelines for fan voting. Remember the Zemgus Girgensons vote? It could certainly happen again this season, which could lead to the NHL implementing further changes to its All-Star policies, or eliminating the fan voting all together.   

Will we see the fans choose to vote for a specific player so we have another “John Scott” situation this season? If so, who could it be? Could David Desharnais become captain of the Atlantic Division All-Star team? Only time will tell.