Florida center added in place of injured Toronto forward
Aleksander Barkov was added Friday to the Atlantic Division roster for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.
The Florida Panthers center will replace Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, who is unable to participate because of a knee sprain.
Barkov is second on the Panthers with 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) in 41 games this season. It is his second All-Star selection (2018).
“It means a lot. It wasn’t right away, but I’ll still take it,” Barkov said Friday. “It’s at home here in Florida, so it means even more. I’m really happy and honored and proud to be here.”
Barkov said he didn’t have plans to go anywhere during the All-Star break.
“This place is vacation and work for me at the same time,” he said.
He will join teammate Matthew Tkachuk, a forward who leads Florida with 64 points (25 goals, 39 assists), on the Atlantic roster. The Panthers are hosting the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game at FLA LIVE Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Feb. 4 (3 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Matthews, who has 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists) in 47 games this season, will be sidelined for at least three weeks after being injured in a 3-2 overtime win against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
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The All-Star Game will feature a three-game tournament, played in a 3-on-3 format and showcasing teams from each NHL division. Each of the four teams will include nine skaters and two goalies.
The Pacific Division will play the Central Division in the first All-Star Game semifinal, followed by the Atlantic taking on the Metropolitan Division.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Skills presented by DraftKings Sportsbook will take place Feb. 3 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).
NHL.com independent correspondent Alain Poupart contributed to this report