DALLAS STARS DEFENSEMAN NISKANEN
NAMED TO WESTERN CONFERENCE YOUNGSTARS TEAM
FRISCO, Tex. – The National Hockey League announced today that Dallas Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen has been named to the 2008 Western Conference YoungStars Team.
Comprising the best of the league’s stellar rookie class in 2007-08, the eight-player Eastern and Western Conference YoungStar teams will face off in a new three-on-three event as part of the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills competition on Saturday, January 26 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta (6 pm CST, VERSUS). The YoungStars will be shooting against goaltenders named to participate in the NHL All-Star Game the following day.
Niskanen, 21, has appeared in all 47 games with the Stars during his rookie season, posting five goals and 12 assists for 17 points with a team-best +14 rating. Among rookie NHL defensemen, he ranks second in goals, points and plus/minus, and is third in assists. He also leads all Dallas defensemen in goals and ranks second in assists and points.
Dallas’ first round selection (28th overall) in the 2005 Entry Draft, Niskanen produced a stellar career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he was named to the All-WCHA First Team as a sophomore. In 39 games for the UMD Bulldogs in 2006-07, Niskanen recorded nine goals and 22 assists for 31 points with 42 penalty minutes, good for second in both points and goals among defensemen in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
The native of Virginia, Minn., posted 45 points (10 goals, 35 assists) in 77 games for Minnesota-Duluth his last two seasons, and represented the United States at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Vancouver, B.C.2008 Western Conference YoungStars Team
Alexander Edler (VAN), Erik Johnson (STL), Jackson Johnson (LA), Matt Niskanen (DAL)Forwards:
Sam Gagner (EDM), Patrick Kane (CHI), Peter Mueller (PHX), David Perron (STL)2008 Eastern Conference YoungStars Team
Tobias Enstrom (ATL), Kris Letang (PIT), Mike Lundin (TB), Marc Staal (NYR)Forwards:
Nicklas Backstrom (WSH), Brandon Dubinsky (NY Rangers), Tyler Kennedy (PIT), Milan Lucic (BOS)