weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Golden Knights get 2nd player for NHL All-Star Weekend

Updated January 30, 2023 - 1:25 pm

One of the best trades in Golden Knights history keeps looking better.

Center Chandler Stephenson was added to the roster for NHL All-Star Weekend on Friday and Saturday in Sunrise, Florida, the NHL announced Monday.

Stephenson is the team’s leading scorer with 44 points in 51 games. He will join Knights goaltender Logan Thompson and coach Bruce Cassidy as a replacement for injured Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers.

Stephenson had quite the journey to his first All-Star nod. He was a bottom-six grinder when the Knights acquired him from the Washington Capitals four seasons ago. Now he’s a top-six fixture and will compete with the best players in the league this weekend.

“That’d obviously be huge and very humbling,” Stephenson said Jan. 19 on the possibility of being named an All-Star. “That’s obviously something that would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everybody that’s been said it’s such a good time, awesome to meet some new guys.”

The Knights gave up a fifth-round pick for Stephenson on Dec. 2, 2019.

He had 33 points in 168 games with the Capitals at the time. He was struggling to find a consistent spot in the lineup in his third full NHL season, so Washington decided to part ways with a member of its 2018 championship team.

The Capitals’ loss was the Knights’ gain.

Stephenson’s new team saw more in him. He had blazing speed, good vision and a strong shot when he decided to use it. Former Knights coach Pete DeBoer said last season Stephenson had as much or more natural ability than anyone else on the roster.

Left wing Max Pacioretty and captain Mark Stone helped bring that out. Stephenson became their regular center, forming one of the NHL’s best lines. The Knights outscored opponents 77-31 at five-on-five in their three seasons together, according to the website Natural Stat Trick.

Stephenson used the partnership to set a career high in points in each of his full seasons with the Knights. He also started to stand out as more than a third wheel the past two years.

Stephenson had a career-high 64 points in 79 games last season despite Stone and Pacioretty each sitting out more than half the Knights’ games with injuries. He’s kept his production up this season with Pacioretty gone and Stone missing time again.

Cassidy first floated Stephenson as an All-Star candidate Dec. 23 after a win over the St. Louis Blues. Thompson was named the Knights’ first representative, but the team kept promoting Stephenson’s candidacy before a fan vote added two more players to the Pacific Division roster.

Centers Jack Eichel and Nicolas Roy, right wings Jonathan Marchessault and Michael Amadio, and defensemen Ben Hutton and Kaedan Korczak said Stephenson was deserving in a video tweeted out by the team Jan. 12.

Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers and Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks won the fan vote.

Stephenson said the honor would especially be meaningful because he’s a new father. He and his wife welcomed a son, Ford, this summer.

“He probably won’t remember it, but something to definitely look back on if I was chosen,” Stephenson said.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

Don't miss the latest VGK news. Like our Golden Edge page