DALLAS STARS FORWARD NEAL TO PLAY IN YOUNGSTARS GAME
FRISCO, Tex. –
The National Hockey League announced today that Dallas Stars forward James Neal has been named to play in the 2009 YoungStars Game, presented by Upper Deck.
Neal was selected as one of the league’s best first-year players that will face-off against a team of impressive second-year players in a non-stop, wide-open game of three-on-three in the NHL YoungStars Game, 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 (6 p.m., CST, VERSUS). This marks the sixth consecutive YoungStars Game at NHL All-Star Weekend and the first under the sophomores vs. rookies format.
Neal, 21, has appeared in 34 games with the Stars during his rookie season, recording 13 goals and five assists for 18 points. He is tied-for-first in power play goals with four and tied-for-second in overall goals on the club. Among rookie scoring leaders, Neal ranks tied-for-first in goals and tied-for-third in power play goals. He became the fourth Dallas Star to record a goal in his NHL debut October 10 vs. Columbus and recorded his second career multiple-goal game and first career hat trick December 23 at Toronto.
Dallas’ second round selection (33rd overall) in the 2005 Entry Draft, Neal performed at an elite level in his junior career for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. He posted 173 points (68 goals, 105 assists) in 187 career games for Plymouth. Neal led the team with 25 points in 20 games in the 2007 playoffs, as the Whalers won the J. Ross Robertson Cup (awarded to the Champion of the OHL). In the 2006-07 season, Neal was named to the OHL’s All-Star First Team, skated in the ADT Russia-Canada Challenge and represented gold-medal winning Team Canada at the 2007 World Junior Tournament in Sweden in his final junior season.
The native of Whitby, Ont., posted 18 goals and 19 assists in 62 games with Iowa of the AHL in the 2007-08 season. This season, Neal played five games in the AHL with Manitoba scoring four goals and one assist in his short stay with the club.
Neal will be the fifth Dallas Star to play in the YoungStars game, joining Matt Niskanen (2008), Jussi Jokinen (2007), Niko Kapanen (2004), and Brenden Morrow
(2002). Current Dallas Stars who have also played in the YoungStars game include Mike Ribeiro
(Montreal, 2002), Brad Richards (Tampa Bay, 2002), and Brian Sutherby (Washington, 2003), who was named the M.V.P. of the game in 2003.