Coyotes’ Clayton Keller named to NHL All-Star team

The Arizona forward is on pace for a career-best 29 goals this season


James Mackey

Franchise cornerstone Clayton Keller leads the Coyotes in points.

Despite all the uncertainty with travel owing to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL pressed ahead and announced the upcoming All-Star Game’s rosters on Thursday.

Among the Central Division all-stars is the Arizona Coyotes’ Clayton Keller, who will participate in the game for the second time in his six-year career.

Keller is the Coyotes’ 25th all-star since 1997, and he tied in appearances with former goalies Sean Burke and Nikolai Khabibulin, as well as defensemen Ed Jovanovski, Keith Yandle, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Keller is the only Arizona right winger other than Shane Doan to be named to an All-Star Game.

“I’ve always loved the game and I try not to worry about being noticed or into the spotlight. I just like to let my play do the talking,” Keller said.

The 23-year-old Keller has 12 goals and 14 assists in 34 games this season. He is the team leader in goals, points, power-play goals, game-winning goals, and shots on goal. And teammate Phil Kessel could even join Keller for the game in Vegas — the veteran winger is up for nomination as one of the “Last Men In.”

This year’s All-Star Game format will be a return to the 2020 format, where teams comprised of players from the NHL’s four divisions competed in 3-on-3 tournament games. All-Star Weekend kicks off on Feb. 4 with the NHL All-Star Skills Competition, and the game itself will take place on Feb. 5 at Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena.