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Aleksander Barkov to replace Auston Matthews in 2023 NHL All-Star Game

Panthers center will replace Maple Leafs center for the Atlantic Division in All-Star Game.

Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 17, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Florida Panthers C Aleksander Barkov will replace Toronto Maple Leafs C Auston Matthews on the Atlantic Division roster for the 2023 NHL All-Star Game. The Maple Leafs announced on Friday that Matthews has a knee sprain that will hold him out at least three weeks, through the All-Star break. Barkov had missed time earlier in the season but has been back in the lineup for the Panthers. He will join teammate Matthew Tkachuk on the ATL roster.

The Panthers have struggled this season after winning the Presidents’ Trophy with 122 points in 2021-22, winning the Atlantic Division title. Florida traded away Jonathan Huberdeau in a move to land Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames. That deal hasn’t exactly worked out, though it has more to do with the coaching change from Andrew Brunette, who won the Jack Adams award, to Paul Maurice, who has been around the NHL way too long.

Anyway, Barkov is over a point-per-game this season with 43 in 40 games. He’s also regarded as one of the better two-way forwards in the NHL. The Atlantic Division is pretty stacked, so there are a few notable names who had a case to get in over Barkov. Tampa Bay Lightning C Steven Stamkos has 56 points and is top-20 in the NHL. Maple Leafs W William Nylander is also deserving of a spot alongside teammate Mitch Marner.