Drai­saitl, Rielly among late ad­di­tions to NHL all-star game

Medicine Hat News - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers for­ward Leon Drai­saitl was among the last ad­di­tions for the up­com­ing NHL all-star game, while Toronto Maple Leafs de­fence­man Morgan Rielly was one of a few high-pro­file play­ers to be left out.

The NHL re­leased the fi­nal four ad­di­tions to the all-star week­end Fri­day. Drai­saitl (Pa­cific), Buf­falo Sabres left wing Jeff Skin­ner (At­lantic), Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Lan­deskog (Cen­tral) and Pitts­burgh Pen­guins de­fence­man Kris Le­tang (Metropoli­tan) will join their divi­sion-based teams at the week­end event in San Jose, Calif.

Each team left a spot open on its ros­ter to be filled in by a fan vote.

Drai­saitl, the line­mate of Oil­ers leader and Pa­cific all­star cap­tain Con­nor McDavid, is tied for 10th in NHL scor­ing with 54 points (23 goals, 31 as­sists). The Ger­man for­ward beat out Nor­ris Tro­phy can­di­date Mark Gior­dano of Cal­gary to get the Pa­cific slot.

“It’s ex­cit­ing,” Drai­saitl said Fri­day. “The fans played a big role in this so I have to thank them.”

In what could be seen as an upset given the size of Toronto’s fan base, Skin­ner beat out play­ers in­clud­ing Rielly get the last spot on the At­lantic team.

Rielly is second in scor­ing among de­fence­men with 46 points (13 goals, 33 as­sists). The Maple Leafs made a push to get him into the all-star game by re­leas­ing a se­ries of videos on so­cial me­dia.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate all the votes and all the peo­ple at home, and es­pe­cially my team­mates cam­paign­ing,” Rielly said Fri­day, be­fore adding with a grin: “I’m happy that’s over. We don’t have to watch the video’s any­more, but I ap­pre­ci­ate it none­the­less.”

Skin­ner, who will be mak­ing his second all-star ap­pear­ance, is hav­ing an ex­cel­lent sea­son in Buf­falo with 29 goals and 13 as­sists in 43 games.

Lan­deskog, who like Drai­saitl will be mak­ing his all-star de­but, has 27 goals and 24 as­sists in 44 games, while Le­tang, who is an all­star for the fifth time, has 10 goals and 27 as­sists in 41 games.

The NHL said in a re­lease that more than 11.5-mil­lion votes were cast over a seven day pe­riod to de­ter­mine the fi­nal four all-star par­tic­i­pants.

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