|Panthers forward Michael Frolik was named to the 2009 NHL YoungStars Game, to be played on Saturday January 24th in Montreal(Getty Images) |
NEW YORK (Jan. 9, 2009) -- The high-scoring NHL sophomore class, led by Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals, Bryan Little of the Atlanta Thrashers and Devin Setoguchi of the San Jose Sharks, will face rookie goaltending phenom Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets and other top first-year players in a non-stop, wide-open game of three-on-three in the NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck, Saturday, Jan. 24 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Showcasing the best of the League's young talent, the 10-player sophomore and rookie teams will face off as part of the 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills (7 p.m., ET, CBC, RDS, VERSUS). This marks the sixth consecutive YoungStars Game at All-Star Weekend and the first under the sophomores vs. rookies format.
The rookies will have to contend with a sophomore offense that features 2007-08 Calder Trophy runner-up Backstrom, who ranks second on the Capitals and 11th in NHL scoring with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists); Little, who leads the Thrashers with 19 goals; and Setoguchi, who ranks second among Sharks in goals (18). Completing the talented sophomore lineup is 2008 YoungStars Game MVP Brandon Dubinsky of the New York Rangers, Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins, Andrew Cogliano of the Edmonton Oilers and Mason Raymond of the Vancouver Canucks.
The sophomore defensemen are Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, each of whom competed as rookies in last year's YoungStars Game in Atlanta. The goaltender is Erik Ersberg of the Los Angeles Kings, the 26-year-old Sala, Sweden native who was not selected in his draft-eligibility years, signed as a free agent with the Kings in May, 2007 and has gone on to win a full-time place with the club.
The rookies will be backstopped by Mason, who has captured NHL Rookie of the Month honors for each of the past two months. He capped his December performance by posting a franchise-record three consecutive shutouts, becoming the first rookie netminder to do so since Detroit's Glenn Hall in 1955-56. Mason enters tonight's game at Washington with a 13-9-1 record, leads the League in goal-against average (1.82) and save percentage (.934), and is tied for the lead in shutouts (five).
Mason's defense pair are both top-five 2008 Entry Draft selections, 19-year-olds Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Luke Schenn of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Doughty, picked second overall, and Schenn, who went fifth, rank 1-2 among rookies in average ice time per game at 23:54 and 21:05, respectively.
The rookie offense will be led by three co-leaders in the rookie goal-scoring race with 13, Blake Wheeler of the Boston Bruins, Kris Versteeg
of the Chicago Blackhawks and James Neal of the Dallas Stars. Rounding out the lineup is 2008 Entry Draft first overall selection Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Michael Frolik of the Florida Panthers, Mikkel Boedker of the Phoenix Coyotes and Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues.
YoungStars players were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department and the NHL Players' Association. in consultation with League General Managers.
The 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend in Montreal will celebrate the Montreal Canadiens’ Centennial season with live national broadcasts of the Honda/NHL SuperSkills event on Saturday, Jan. 24, and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 25, on CBC and RDS in Canada and VERSUS in the United States. NASN, ASN, J Sports, Sky Mexico, Fox Sports Australia and other NHL international broadcast partners will provide live coverage of both the Honda/NHL SuperSkills event and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 150 countries and territories in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Mexico and the Caribbean. NHL Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on Sirius XM Radio's NHL Home Ice, located at XM channel 204 and on SIRIUS channel 208 with the “Best of XM” programming package. NHL.com and NHL Network will provide extensive coverage of the All-Star Weekend.
Rosters For NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck
(Statistics through games of Jan. 8, 2009)NHL SOPHOMORES2008-09 Statistics
Goaltender Age GP W L OT GAA Draft Rd. Pick
Erik Ersberg, Los Angeles Kings 26 19 8 6 2 2.36 Free agentDefensemen Age GP G A Pts Draft Rd. Pick
Marc Staal, New York Rangers 21 42 1 6 7 2005 1 12
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins 21 38 1 12 13 2005 3 62
Forwards Age GP G A Pts Draft Rd. Pick
Bryan Little, Atlanta Thrashers 21 40 19 13 32 2006 1 12
Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins 20 40 11 15 26 2006 2 50
Andrew Cogliano, Edmonton Oilers 21 39 12 9 21 2005 1 25
Brandon Dubinsky, New York Rangers 22 42 5 17 22 2004 2 60
Devin Setoguchi, San Jose Sharks 22 38 18 19 37 2005 1 8
Mason Raymond, Vancouver Canucks 23 42 9 10 19 2005 2 51
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals 21 41 12 33 45 2006 1 4NHL ROOKIES2008-09 StatisticsGoaltender Age GP W L OT GAA Draft Rd. Pick
Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets 20 23 13 9 1 1.82 2006 3 69Defensemen Age GP G A Pts Draft Rd. Pick
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings 19 40 3 9 12 2008 1 2
Luke Schenn, Toronto Maple Leafs 19 29 0 3 3 2008 1 52008-09 StatisticsForwards Age GP G A Pts Draft Rd. Pick
Blake Wheeler, Boston Bruins 22 41 13 12 25 2004 1 5Kris Versteeg
, Chicago Blackhawks 22 37 13 20 33 2004 5 134
James Neal, Dallas Stars 21 34 13 5 18 2005 2 33
Michael Frolik, Florida Panthers 20 38 8 9 17 2006 1 10
Mikkel Boedker, Phoenix Coyotes 19 42 7 11 18 2008 1 8
Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues 20 34 12 13 25 2006 1 25
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning 18 40 4 10 14 2008 1 1