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HARTMAN AND LEIGHTON NAMED TO 2016 AHL ALL-STAR CLASSIC

Article By: Nate Haeni

Photos by Todd Reicher
01/07/2016 1:55 PM -

Rockford, Ill. – The American Hockey League announced on Thursday that Rockford IceHogs forward Ryan Hartman and goaltender Michael Leighton have been selected to play for the Western Conference AHL All-Star Team at the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic. The AHL All-Star Classic presented by Toyota will be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in downtown Syracuse, N.Y.

Hartman, 21, paces the IceHogs with 10 goals while his 18 points (10g-8a) rank third on the club. In his second professional campaign, Hartman has racked up 62 career AHL points (26g-36a). The West Dundee, Ill. native has appeared in eight career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, including his debut on Feb. 13, 2015. In three games with the Blackhawks this season, Hartman recorded his first career NHL point, an assist, on Nov. 4 against St. Louis.

Leighton, 34, was Rockford’s MVP during the 2014-15 campaign and has returned to that form so far this season. The Petrolia, Ontario native ranks second in the AHL with 16 wins to go along with his 2.39 goals against average (12th) and .922 save percentage (8th). Leighton has posted one shutout this season to bump his AHL career total to 42 which is three shy of Johnny Bower’s all-time record of 45.

The netminder has 35 wins (35-41-14), a 2.97 GAA, a .901 SV% and four shutouts in 105 career NHL regular-season games over parts of eight seasons with the Blackhawks (2002-2004), Nashville (2006-07), Philadelphia (2006-07; 2009-13) and Carolina (2007-09). He owns an 8-4 record in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Each of the AHL’s four divisions will be represented by 13 players: seven forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders. Rosters were determined by committees of AHL coaches, and all 30 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.

The 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 31 (8 p.m. ET) will keep its traditional format, with All-Stars from the Eastern Conference squaring off against All-Stars from the Western Conference in seven skills events.

The 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Challenge will take place on the evening of Feb. 1 (7 p.m. ET); instead of a traditional 60-minute game, the AHL’s All-Stars will be divided into four teams, one representing each of the league’s divisions (Atlantic, North, Central, Pacific). The teams will then play a round-robin tournament featuring six games of nine minutes each; the first half of each game will be played at 4-on-4, and the second half at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin tournament will face off for the championship, a six-minute game played at 3-on-3.

A complete roster of players by conference is listed below:

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
BRI - Ryan Pulock, Joe Whitney
HFD - Ryan Graves
HER - Chris Bourque, Connor Carrick
LV - Nick Cousins, Anthony Stolarz
POR - Rob Schremp
PRO - Seth Griffith
SPR - Dustin Jeffrey
WBS - Matt Murray, Derrick Pouliot, Dominik Simon

North Division
ALB - Yann Danis, Mike Sislo
BNG - Michael Kostka
RCH - Cal O'Reilly
STJ - Mark Barberio, Michael McCarron
SYR - Mike Angelidis, Kristers Gudlevskis, Matt Taormina
TOR - T.J. Brennan, Josh Leivo, William Nylander
UTI - Hunter Shinkaruk

Western Conference
Central Division
CHA - Trevor Carrick, Derek Ryan
CHI - Andre Benoit, Pat Cannone
GR - Jeff Hoggan, Xavier Ouellet
IA - Gustav Olofsson
LE - Kerby Rychel
MB - Connor Hellebuyck
MIL - Frederick Gaudreau, Vladislav Kamenev
RFD - Ryan Hartman, Michael Leighton

Pacific Division
BAK - Laurent Brossoit, Brad Hunt
ONT - Peter Budaj, Vincent LoVerde, Michael Mersch
SA - Mikko Rantanen
SD - Brandon Montour, Nick Ritchie
SJ - Barclay Goodrow
STK - Derek Grant
TEX - Esa Lindell, Travis Morin, Brendan Ranford