TAMPA — Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and defenseman Victor Hedman will represent the Lightning at next month’s All-Star Game.
Center Steven Stamkos, ranked among the league’s top 10 in scoring, was not among the selections named Thursday for the Feb. 5 game in Las Vegas. But he is one of the “Last Men In” candidates who can be voted in by fans. Voting at nhl.com and on the NHL app runs through Monday.
Vasilevskiy (21-6-3), who leads the league in wins, has participated in the All-Star Game the past three seasons in which it has been held; he was added to the Atlantic Division roster as an injury replacement in the previous two seasons. His four All-Star Game selections are the most by a Lightning goaltender.
Hedman, a four-time All-Star pick, continues to be one of the top all-around defensemen in the league. His 39 points — seven goals and 32 assists — lead all defensemen.
There was no All-Star Game last season because of the abbreviated schedule.
Eleven players are selected from each division to play in the game, which is done as a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format. The two Eastern Conference divisions — Atlantic and Metropolitan — and the two Western Conference divisions — Central and Pacific — play each, other with the winners meeting in the final.
The weekend opens with the skills competition Feb. 4. It and the game will place at T-Mobile Arena.
Lightning defense prospect Nick Perbix was named to the U.S. Olympic team for next month’s Games. Perbix, the Lightning’s sixth-round draft pick in 2017, is a senior at St. Cloud State. With NHL players no longer participating in Beijing, the U.S. team is made up mostly of college players.
Hudson native Nathan Smith, a junior forward at Minnesota State, was also named to the U.S. team. Smith, a Mitchell High graduate, was a third-round pick by Winnipeg in 2018.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieintheYard.
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