For the fifth time in six All-Star Games, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have two All-Star representatives.
And each’s path to NHL stardom could not be more divergent.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and second-year center Tyler Johnson were selected today to play in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, January 25 (5 p.m. ET).
Stamkos will be appearing in his third All-Star Game (2011, 2012). Johnson is making his All-Star debut.
Also, Jonathan Drouin is one of six rookies selected to take part in the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, January 24 (7 p.m. ET).
The Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division leading Lightning will have multiple All-Star representatives for the sixth time in franchise history, the last coming during the 2010-11 season when Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were honored.
For Stamkos, 24, the All-Star appearance will be his third in a row.
Entering Saturday, Stamkos is ranked fourth in the NHL for goals with 22. The Markham, Ontario, native has collected 40 points (22-18) in 2014-15, third-best on the Bolts.
Stamkos is a former No. 1 overall draft pick. The Lightning selected Stamkos in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and the selection has been paying dividends ever since.
Twice, Stamkos won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (2009-10, 2011-12) given to the NHL scoring champion. Last season, a broken right tibia forced Stamkos to the sidelines for 45 regular season games and caused him to miss the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi after being announced to Team Canada’s roster.
Stamkos has rebounded from the setback a season ago to return to his place among the NHL’s elite players.
In his first game back from injury on March 6, 2014, Stamkos was named the 10th Lightning captain in franchise history.
The 24-year-old Johnson is a study in perseverance. Just four years ago, he was an undrafted free agent out of Spokane, Wash. After making his NHL debut late in 2012-13, Johnson had his breakthrough during his rookie year last season, ranking fourth on the Bolts for goals (24) and fifth for points (50).
Postseason, He was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was third in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy given to the player selected as most proficient in his first year of league competition.
This season, Johnson has continued his rapid ascent. He is tied for third in the NHL for points (45) and leads the league in plus-minus (plus-26). He also pivots arguably the NHL’s most explosive line, combining with Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov to catapult the Bolts to the top of the East standings.
42 NHL players in all were selected for the All-Star Game, which will take place two weeks from Sunday.
Drouin made his NHL debut on October 20 at Edmonton and registered his first point (an assist) a day later in Calgary. The following game, he scored his first professional goal (Oct. 24 at Winnipeg).
The third overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Drouin, 19, has scored two goals and tallied 15 assists, which ranks fourth among NHL rookies.