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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Kings rookie defenseman Jack Johnson has been selected to participate in the YoungStars skills event as part of the 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta, the NHL announced Tuesday. Johnson will represent the Western Conference as 16 of the NHL’s best rookies compete in a new three-on-three event as part of the Dodge/NHL Superskills competition on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Philips Arena beginning at 4 p.m. (PT).

"I am real excited to be a part of that weekend," Johnson said from Edmonton in a Kings Vision exclusive interview. "It is one of the best weekends in hockey to be a part of the All-Star game. I am looking forward to seeing some of the other young guys I know there."

Johnson, who turned 21 on Sunday, is in his first full season with the Kings and has played in all 46 games this season with the club, recording seven points (1-6=7) and 40 penalty minutes. With the Kings, Johnson is fifth among all skaters (and fourth among defensemen) in average ice time per game (20:40) and he is also tied for second in blocked shots with 70, a figure that places him second among all NHL rookies in that category. He also ranks third among all NHL rookies in average ice time per game (20:40); he leads all rookie defensemen in penalty minutes (40); and he is tied for 10th among all rookie defensemen in points (seven).

The 6-1, 201-pound native of Indianapolis scored his first NHL goal on Oct.19 at Vancouver. He made his NHL debut last season with the Kings, playing in five games, and in 51 career NHL games, all with the Kings, Johnson has seven points and 58 penalty minutes.

Originally selected third-overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by Carolina, Johnson was acquired by the Kings from the Hurricanes on Sept. 29, 2006, with Oleg Tverdovsky in exchange for Eric Belanger and Tim Gleason. Prior to joining the Kings, Johnson enjoyed a standout two-year career at the University of Michigan and he has represented the U.S. in numerous international tournaments.

Johnson will be joined in Atlanta by Kings center Anze Kopitar, who was selected to play in his first NHL All-Star Game. Kopitar, 20, last year played in the YoungStars Game.

2008 YoungStars Game roster 
Western Conference Eastern Conference
 Alexander Edler           D        Vancouver  Tobias Enstrom           D        Atlanta
 Erik Johnson                D        St. Louis  Kris Letang                   D        Pittsburgh
 Jack Johnson               D        LAK  Mike Lundin                  D        Tampa Bay
 Matt Niskanen              D        Dallas  Marc Staal                      D        NY Rangers
 Sam Gagner                 F        Edmonton  Nicklas Backstrom       F        Washington
 Patrick Kane                 F        Chicago  Brandon Dubinsky        F        NY Rangers
 Peter Mueller                F        Phoenix  Tyler Kennedy                F        Pittsburgh
 David Perron                 F        St. Louis  Milan Lucic                      F        Boston

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