ST. LOUIS - Jaccob Slavin has long been one of the league's best kept secrets, and now the Carolina Hurricanes defensemen will be featured among the National Hockey League's premier players at the 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis.
Slavin was named to the Metropolitan Division All-Star team after defenseman Dougie Hamilton suffered a broken left fibula in Columbus last week.
"It comes under sad circumstances in my mind," Slavin said on episode 121 of CanesCast. "[Dougie] deserves to be there, for sure, and it's a big loss for our team."
Slavin, though, is incredibly well-deserving in his own right. On Thursday, the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced the winners of its midseason awards, and Slavin finished first in voting for the Rod Langway Award, a "non-traditional award" given to "the defenseman who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game."
That's Slavin's game. He's not flashy, but he does all the little things right and makes defending a 2-on-1 rush or initiating a rush up the ice appear effortless, even when it's anything but.
"I think the whole weekend in and of itself will be a good time," Slavin said. "I've heard awesome things about the weekend from people who have gone. It will be exciting just to be there and be with those guys you typically play against."
"Well-deserved," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said earlier this week. "He's as good as any defenseman in the league, in my opinion. Certainly, as valuable as any defenseman. He definitely deserves to be in that game."
The 3-on-3 All-Star Game format is designed to promote offense and scoring, but Slavin will bring a different element to the table.
"Defense, I don't think, gets recognized the same as offense does," he said. "I think I might be the most defensive one there. It will be fun. I'm excited."
He shouldn't sell himself short, though. Slavin bombed a one-timer past former teammate Curtis McElhinney, the 3-on-3 overtime winner in a 4-3 decision against the Lightning in early October.
Video: TBL@CAR: Slavin rips one-timer for OT winner
"Jordo gave me a great pass," Slavin downplayed. "All I had to do was hit the net."
To be fair, there will be no shortage of great passes this weekend.
"Exactly," he said. "We'll see if I can repeat that shot."
The weekend will be a family affair for the Canes' 25-year-old blueliner, who will have his parents and his sister in town, in addition to his baby daughter, his wife and her family, who live less than an hour away from downtown St. Louis.
"It will be nice to have her family there, see them and hang out with them a little bit," he said. "It will be good family time to get both families together. That's probably the first time that will happen since the wedding. It will be nice to have everyone there."
All-Star Weekend begins Thursday evening with media day, a car wash of interviews and photoshoots. All-Star Skills, a showcase of six challenges that includes a new Top Golf-like Shooting Stars event, begins at 8 p.m. ET on Friday (NBCSN). The 2020 NHL All-Star Game, featuring a 3-on-3 tournament between the league's four divisions, takes place at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday (NBC).
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