Lightning’s Stamkos, Johnson named to 2015 NHL All-Star Game; Drouin to skills competition

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (left) will be making his third NHL All-Star Game appearance while Tyler Johnson makes his first.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning will be well-represented at the NHL All-Star Game.

Centers Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson were selected on Saturday to be among the 42 players to participate in the event, to be held at 5 p.m. on Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. It will be televised on NBC Sports Network.

In addition, rookie winger Jonathan Drouin was chosen to participate in the skills competition to take place at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 at Nationwide Arena.

Teams for the All-Star Game will be chosen at the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft at 8 p.m. on Jan. 23.

This will be Stamkos’ third NHL All-Star Game, following appearances in 2011 and 2012. The native of Markham, Ontario, leads the Lightning in goals with 22, and he’s third on the team in points with 40. He also has 18 assists.

Though the Lightning have enjoyed contributions from many in their rise to the top of the Eastern Conference, Stamkos remains the franchise’s face.

"You definitely can’t have one or two guys that can carry a team," Stamkos said Friday. "You need depth. We’ve finally seen that these last couple years."

Johnson, meanwhile, will make his NHL All-Star Game debut. The native of Spokane, Washington, leads the Lightning with 45 points and 28 assists. He’s also tied for second on the team with 17 goals. Formerly undrafted, he was named a Calder Trophy finalist last season.

Don't stop believing

"Main thing is just confidence," Johnson said Friday, when asked about the difference between his play last season and the current one. "Last year, as a rookie, you don’t want to be the guy who makes a mistake. This year is a little different. You feel more comfortable with the puck, more comfortable in the situations. Being able to play someone one-on-one, you have more confidence in yourself. And I think that’s the biggest thing."

Finally, Drouin will have a chance to showcase his talents in a large spotlight. The third overall pick by the Lightning in 2013, he made a much-anticipated debut with Tampa Bay this season. The native of Ste-Agathe, Quebec, has two goals and 15 assists. Other rookies to take part in the skills competition include Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Los Angeles Kings forward Tanner Pearson, Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg and Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman.

This season, the Lightning are 27-12-4 with 58 points, the most in the Eastern Conference.

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