Sabres forward Tyler Ennis will compete for Team Staal in Saturday's Honda NHL SuperSkills competition at RBC Center in Raleigh, NC after the teams were determined Friday night at the inaugural NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft. The SuperSkills competition will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. on Versus.
Ennis, the lone Sabres representative in Raleigh for All-Star Weekend, was one of 12 NHL rookies selected by the league to join the 42 All-Stars in Saturday's Superskills Competition. While team captains Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal alternated picks to choose their teams, the rookies were divided into two groups of six, and each group joined one of the teams. Edmonton's Taylor Hall, the first overall pick in last year's Entry Draft, was selected to choose which team his rookie group would join, and Hall elected to go with Team Lidstrom. It was pre-determined that Ennis would be a member of the other rookie group, which was captained by San Jose's Logan Couture.
Joining Ennis and Couture on Team Staal are fellow rookies Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders, Jamie McBain of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens.
The rest of the team, which will skate together in Sunday's All-Star Game minus the rookies, is highlighted by captain Eric Staal and alternate captains Mike Green and Ryan Kesler, as well as Alex Ovechkin, Daniel Sedin, Zdeno Chara, Carey Price, and the first overall pick of the Fantasy Draft, Cam Ward.
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|2011 Honda NHL SuperSkills |
At the All-Star break, Ennis ranks fifth among all NHL rookies in scoring with 28 points on 12 goals and 16 assists. Jeff Skinner of the host Carolina Hurricanes leads all rookies with 40 points (18-22-40). Skinner was originally selected to be one of the 12 rookies who would appear only in the SuperSkills competition, but due to injuries to other All-Stars, was a late addition to the game roster. Skinner will become the youngest player to ever play for an All-Star team in the All-Star Game on Sunday when he takes the ice at 18 years, 259 days of age.
The other three first-year players ranked ahead of Ennis in rookie scoring, Couture, Hall and Derek Stepan of the Rangers, are also set to participate in the skills competition.
Last year, Ennis represented the Portland Pirates on the Canadian team at the 2010 American Hockey League All-Star Classic and earned Most Valuable Player honors after notching a goal and two assists in a 10-9 victory. He also took part in the Skills Competition, skating in the puck control relay and the breakaway challenge.