Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom have one more road trip to make.
The Thrashers defensive duo will head to Raleigh, North Carolina for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. The game will be played at RBC Center on Jan. 30.
The Thrashers’ top-scoring defensemen, and alternate captains, were named as two of 36 players to round out the roster as announced by the NHL Tuesday. The latest roster additions join the six leading vote-getters by fan ballot announced last week.
“Enstrom has been great,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said earlier this season. “When Buff is up and gets caught Toby saves the day. They are a great pair together – the big guy and the little guy. Toby is so good without the puck, but he’s good when he gets it. He’s composed with it and he holds it and gives Buff a chance to wind up and get going. Together they have been wonderful. They are like Mutt and Jeff and it’s been wonderful to watch.”
Byfuglien, a Norris Trophy candidate, leads all NHL defensemen with 16 goals. He is tied for the league lead among defensemen, along with Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, with 41 points. His 25 assists are tied for eighth overall. Byfuglien’s point total ranks tied for 14th among all NHL skaters.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Byfuglien set the single-season Thrashers record for goals by a defenseman in December, needing only 31 games to do it. He has six game-winning goals, three which came in overtime. Byfuglien has recorded a point in 29 of the Thrashers’ 45 games this season.
Enstrom is tied for the league lead among defensemen, along with Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Lidstrom, with 30 assists. He is third with 38 points, trailing on Byfuglien and Lidstrom.
Enstrom is the Thrashers’ leader in consecutive games played at 291. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in points by a defenseman with 158. His 24 career goals ranks second in franchise history for goals by a defenseman, trailing only Yannick Tremblay (33).
The 5-10, 180-pound Enstrom has three goals and seven assists in the past seven games.
The All-Star Game has been completely revamped this year. The all-stars will elect two captains and four alternates. Those players will pick the rest of their teams in what the NHL is calling a “Fantasy Draft” format, which will be held on Friday, Jan. 28.
Twelve rookies will be selected by the NHL to compete in a skills competition on Jan. 29. The Thrashers’ Alexander Burmistrov was not selected to take part.
* Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who was not on the fan ballot, did not get a roster spot. He is second in the league with a .930 save percentage. He trails only Boston’s Tim Thomas (.944).
* Due to the inclement weather and metro-Atlanta road conditions, the Thrashers canceled practice on Tuesday. They are scheduled to skate at the Duluth Ice Forum at noon on Wednesday.