Wild rookie Nick Johnson
has new plans this weekend: Johnson will head to Ottawa to partake in the festivities during NHL All-Star Weekend.
Johnson replaces Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as a rookie selection, and will represent the Wild in the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Scotiabank Place during the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend in Ottawa.
“We’re real happy for him," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "It’s quite an honor, and I’m sure he’s pretty excited about it. We’re excited for him.”
In 44 games with Minnesota, the 26-year-old has six goals, 10 assists and is a plus-4. His 16 points is good for ninth on the Wild, and he is 12th among NHL rookies for goals and points.
Johnson was surprised by the honor saying, “It’s great and pretty crazy, I don’t really know what to say.”
Since the Wild claimed Johnson off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sept. 29, 2011, the winger has become an invaluable asset with his ability to play anywhere in the lineup.
“I’m feeling pretty blessed,” said Johnson. “I get an opportunity to come (to Minnesota) and battle it out.”
“I don’t know if he would have expected, necessarily, that at this time of the year he’d be playing on the first line and going to the all star game," Yeo said. "But it’s a real credit to him.”
Similar to last season, there will be a draft to select teams composed of NHL All Stars and rookie stars for the skills competition and game. Team Alfredsson, captained by forward Daniel Alfredsson of the All-Star host Ottawa Senators, will compete against Team Chara, led by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, for points in the overall team vs. team competition. The rookie stars will compete in the skills competition only. Individual champions also will be crowned.
The NHL All-Stars and rookies will participate in six events:
* Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater
* Allstate Insurance NHL Breakaway Challenge
* Canadian Tire NHL Accuracy Shooting
* G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay
* BlackBerry NHL Hardest Shot
* Tim Hortons NHL Elimination Shootout
Due to an upper body injury, Mikko Koivu
will not participate at All-Star Weekend. Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle will replace him.