The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild announced today that goaltender Niklas Backstrom
, right wing Marian Gaborik and center Brian Rolston have been named to the 2007-08 NHL All-Star Ballot, which was released by the league this afternoon. Players appearing on the ballot were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department.
Backstrom, 29 (2/13/78), is 7-1-1 with a 1.88 goals against average (GAA), a .926 save percentage and two shutouts in nine games this season. The Helsinki, Finland-native posted a 23-8-6 record in 41 games during his first season in the NHL in 2006-07 and ranked first in the NHL with a 1.97 GAA and a .929 SV%. Backstrom teamed with Manny Fernandez to win the 2006-07 William Jennings Trophy as the Wild allowed a league-low 191 goals.
Gaborik, 25 (2/14/82), is tied for the team lead in scoring this season with 13 points (4-9=13) in 12 games and is the Wild’s all-time scoring leader with 344 points (168-176=344) in 420 career contests. A native of Trencin, Slovakia, Gaborik became the first player in Wild history to appear in an NHL All-Star Game when, in 2003, he made his lone All-Star appearance.
Rolston, 34 (2/21/73), is the current Wild captain and leads the team in goals with seven and has totaled 12 points (7-5=12) in 15 games this season. The Flint, Mich.-native led Minnesota with 31 goals and finished tied for first on the team with 64 points (31-33=64) in 78 contests in 2006-07 and made his first-ever appearance at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game where he collected four points (2-2=4) and a plus-5 rating.
Four Minnesota Wild players have represented the team in past NHL All-Star Games. In 2003, Gaborik became the first Wild player to participate in the contest. In 2004, Filip Kuba and Dwayne Roloson represented the Wild at the NHL All-Star Game held at Saint Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Rolston made his first-ever appearance at the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.
For the second consecutive year, the NHL-All Star Fan Balloting process will be entirely digital. From Nov. 13 through Jan. 2, fans around the world can “Vote Now, Vote Often” for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star starters for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game online at NHL.com. In addition, U.S. fans also can cast votes through Verizon Wireless cell phones.
The 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend at Philips Arena in Atlanta will feature live national broadcasts of the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills event on Saturday, Jan. 26 and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 27 on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada.