Eric Staal couldn’t be kept out of the NHL All-Star Game this time.
A year after being passed over despite leading the Wild with 35 points when the teams were announced, Staal was picked as Minnesota’s lone representative for the 11-player Central Division roster that will compete in the All-Star Game on Jan. 28 in Tampa, Fla.
Staal, 33, leads the Wild with 19 goals, 37 points, two shorthanded goals and 122 shots. He is tied with Mikael Granlund for the team lead with four power-play goals.
The All-Star Game uses a 3-on-3 format, with teams from each of the six divisions.
Last season, the Wild sent defenseman Ryan Suter, goalie Devan Dubnyk and coach Bruce Boudreau to the All-Star Game at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Boudreau earned the right to coach the Central Division because he led the Wild to a 25-9-5 record in the opening half of the season.
There has been no such success for Boudreau in his second season behind the Minnesota bench.
The Wild were 22-17-4 entering Wednesday night’s game in Chicago and were tied in points (48) with the Blackhawks and Flames for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.