In case you missed it, Ellwood City, PA is making the rounds in the world of National Hockey League. What? That's right, 22-year-old Stephen Johns an Ellwood City guy that played his college hockey at Notre Dame was promoted to the NHL by the Chicago Blackhawks. While the move was a salary cap type of thing, because he was reassigned to Rockford shortly thereafter, the move makes one interesting thing a reality.
Stephen Johns is on the 2015 NHL All Star Ballot. That means that Ellwood City has a chance to do something pretty interesting here, because voters are allowed to cast ten ballots a day until the closing bell. Is he on my ballot? Of course he is, but only because this guy has given my son and kids in the area the inspiration that they could one day play on the same sheet of ice with guys that have the last name of Toews and Kane, not to mention Crosby and Malkin.
While it's a long shot at best, Johns doesn't get enough credit for being one heck of a hockey player, and if he was in the Pittsburgh Penguins system the 6'3" 229 pound defensemen would be making regular headlines playing with some pretty notable players. Check out this scrap from October 25 against Cody Beach.
So does Johns have a chance of making the 2015 NHL All Star Team? Um, probably not with a ballot that includes such slick skating defensemen with names like Letang, Subban, Weber, Keith, and more. However, in a few years, or sooner, things could change.
So while voting with my head tells me to put some other guys on the list, my heart will always cast at least one vote for the Blackhawks prospect that I think will help anchor their blueline for years to come. So head to NHL.com/vote to make your pick, and if your heart leads to do so, remember that a local guy is in the mix.