Team Staal's task of getting all the hometown players on the same All-Star team this weekend got harder Wednesday as the NHL announced that Carolina rookie Jeff Skinner now is going to play in the big show Sunday at the RBC Center.
Skinner originally was selected as one of the 12 rookies who will compete in the Honda SuperSkills competition with the regular All-Stars, but with spots opening up due to injuries to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Ales Hemsky, the NHL gave the city and its fans one more reason to cheer Sunday by adding Skinner to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.
It's not a marketing pick, either -- Skinner earned his way into the big game.
Despite being the youngest player currently in the League, he has put up 18 goals and 40 points this season. He's second behind Eric Staal on the Hurricanes in both categories, and his 40 points is the most among all NHL rookies. The only rookie with more goals than Skinner is San Jose's Logan Couture, with 22.
When Skinner takes the ice Sunday, he'll be just 18 years, 259 days old, making him the youngest person ever to play for the All-Stars in an All-Star Game. Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman had been the youngest, at 18 years, 267 days in 1984.
He won't be the youngest ever to play in an All-Star Game, however. Two players younger than Skinner played for the Stanley Cup winners when the game format was the previous season's champion against the League's All-Stars.
Skinner is on pace for 30 goals and 66 points. Last season's top rookie scorer, Colorado's Matt Duchene, had 24 goals and 55 points.
Duchene is a first-time All-Star this season.
Skinner has one more goal and the same amount of points as All-Star center Jonathan Toews. He has more points than All-Star forwards David Backes (37), Patrick Kane (37), Patrik Elias (36) and Phil Kessel (34). He has more goals than nine of his fellow All-Star forwards, including the injured Malkin.
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