How cool is this?
The Florida Panthers after 42 games played are the .500 mark and have an NHL All-Star on their roster.
The National Hockey League announced that Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov has been named to the roster for the 2018 NHL All-Star Game held at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Fla., on Sunday, Jan. 28. Barkov’s All-Star Game appearance is the first of his career, and he will also participate in the 2018 All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 27.
“Sasha has earned the right to be counted among the League’s elite at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game”, said Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon. “A cornerstone of our franchise, he is among the game’s most exceptional two-way players and is incredibly deserving of this honor.”
Barkov, just 22 years of age, has recorded 40 points (14-26-40) over 41 games this season. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound native of Tampere, Finland ranks second among Panthers players in assists and is tied for second in total points, while leading the NHL in shorthanded goals (4). Barkov owns a 53.8 faceoff win percentage this season, registering a team-best 57.8 faceoff win percentage in the defensive zone. He ranks first among all NHL forwards in average TOI (22:29) and leads the Panthers in assists registered at even strength (21).
“It feels great, happy to be there, happy to be invited to such a great happening, I feel proud,” Barkov stated. “Everybody is a great player on the team. The whole All-Stars are great players. You play with them and against them, it is going to be fun.”
Barkov has appeared in 293 NHL games, all with Florida (2013-14 to 2017-18), producing 211 points (87-124-211). Already in his young career, Barkov has been named a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (2015-16), has won a bronze medal with Team Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and a silver medal with Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
“I like to play a lot, and I like to play in every situation. But this is probably the most ice time I have ever had in my life,” Barkov stated. “I am happy to be on the ice; I am happy to help my team.”
Initially selected by Florida in the first round (second overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Barkov has scored 87 goals in his career, tied for 10th all-time in Panthers franchise history.
“I always watched the All-Star game, Olympics games and wanted to be a part of it growing up,” Barkov stated. “To be a part of it is a big honor for me.”
There are games to be played before the break. Panthers unite on Jan. 12th Panthers as they host the Calgary Flames (7:30 P.M) for their first home game of 2018.