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 all-star 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 all-star 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.