01/15/2008 1:49 PM
- From ChicagoBlackhawks.com: (link)
NEW YORK -- Rookie scoring leader Patrick Kane
of the Chicago Blackhawks and first-year defenseman Tobias Enstrom of the All-Star host Atlanta Thrashers headline the 16 'NHL YoungStars' invited to the 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend, the National Hockey League announced today.
Comprising the best of the League's stellar rookie class in 2007-08, the eight-player Eastern and Western Conference YoungStar teams will face off in a new three-on-three event as part of the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills competition on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Philips Arena in Atlanta (7 p.m., ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS). The YoungStars will be shooting against goaltenders named to participate in the NHL All-Star Game the following day.
Kane was the first overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft after leading all Canadian Major Junior players in 2006-07 with 145 points (62 goals, 83 assists) in 58 games with the OHL London Knights. He produced one of the finest NHL debuts in recent years, capturing the League's Rookie of the Month award for October after tallying 16 points -- the most by an NHL rookie in October since 1992-93. The Buffalo, N.Y. native continues to lead the League rookie scoring race with 40 points (nine goals, 31 assists) in 45 games.
Joining Kane among Western Conference forwards are Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers, Peter Mueller of the Phoenix Coyotes and David Perron of the St. Louis Blues. The defensemen are the Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler, the Blues' Erik Johnson, the Los Angeles Kings' Jack Johnson and the Dallas Stars' Matt Niskanen.
A late-round steal in the 2003 Entry Draft, Enstrom was selected by the Thrashers in the eighth round and 239th overall after capturing the 2002-03 Swedish Elite League's Rookie of the Year award with MoDo. The Nordingra, Sweden native leads all NHL rookies in average ice time per game (24:04), is tied for second in assists (23) and ranks fourth in points (26). He was named the League's top rookie for November.
Enstrom is joined on the Eastern Conference blueline by Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Lundin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Marc Staal of the New York Rangers. The forwards are the Washington Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom, the Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky, the Penguins' Tyler Kennedy and the Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic.
YoungStars players were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department, in consultation with League General Managers.
The 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta will feature live broadcasts of Dodge/NHL SuperSkills on Saturday, Jan. 26 and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 27 on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada. NASN and other international broadcasters will provide live coverage of both Dodge/NHL SuperSkills and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 115 countries and territories in Europe. NHL RADIO on Westwood One will provide exclusive national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on XM Satellite Radio's NHL Home Ice and NHL.com.