Maybe I don't understand the criteria. The All-Star game is in February. How is it possible that the All-Star Ballot selections have already been made before all the teams have played even 15 games of the 82-game season? If the powers that be can already make selections based upon the evaluation of nominal evidence that all these players named are having all-star years,then why not award the Stanley Cup at Christmas?
Most of the fan voting will be via the Internet, which means the votes can be counted instantaneously. Nobody has to worry about postal delivery and hand-counting of millions of paper ballots to justify such an early announcement of candidates. What in the world is the rush to announce barely over a month into the season? Why not wait until December before making the announcements? That way, it might be believed that the selections are based on current season performance.
The question is not the talent, ability, or reputation of those whose names are on the ballot. But by announcing nominees so soon it forecloses individuals on any team who may suddenly put up stunning stats in the first half of the season.The concept of write-ins is limited in effectiveness.
Further, the ability of fans to vote multiple times skews the voting. The advantage of this, no doubt, is that the NHL can claim that "millions of fans" made the selections, without actually telling us how many unique individual voters actually participated.