The spotlight on the Wild's best players is getting brighter.
Leading scorer Kirill Kaprizov and goaltender Cam Talbot were named to the NHL All-Star Game on Thursday. Both players would make their first appearances in the league's midseason showcase when it runs Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas.
Kaprizov is the sixth forward in Wild history picked for the All-Star Game, getting chosen in his first opportunity since the NHL didn't hold All-Star festivities last year during a 56-game season condensed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aside from pacing the Wild in points with 40 through 32 games, Kaprizov is tied for seventh in scoring in the NHL and the 24-year-old winger is also tied for the third-most points at even strength with 32.
As for Talbot, he's the fourth goalie the Wild's had selected to the All-Star Game. Before getting sidelined because of a lower-body injury suffered Jan. 1 at the Winter Classic, Talbot backstopped the Wild to 15 victories — the most the 34-year-old has won through his first 24 starts in a season. Talbot ranks tied for eighth in the NHL in wins.
Colorado (Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar) was the only other team in the Central Division to have two players on the initial roster, which was filled out by the league's Hockey Operations Department after the captains for each division were voted on by the fans.
MacKinnon was the top vote-getter in the Central Division, while Toronto's Auston Matthews (Atlantic), Washington's Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan) and Edmonton's Connor McDavid (Pacific) led their respective divisions in fan voting.
Fans will also decide the "Last Men In" vote, which will add one more player to each division.
Center Ryan Hartman, who has a team-high 15 goals, is the Wild's candidate. Voting is open at NHL.com/lastmenin and closes on Monday.
This the fourth time the Wild has had multiple players on an All-Star Game roster.
All-Star Weekend will feature a skills competition on Feb. 4. The All-Star Game on Feb. 5 will be a 3-on-3, three-game tournament among the divisions. Each division team will consist of 11 players: six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies.
The Wild hasn't told Matt Boldy to buy a house, but the rookie has stuck with the team beyond a splashy NHL debut and is in line to log his third straight game Friday when the Wild hosts the Ducks at Xcel Energy Center.
"Obviously, I want to be here," Boldy said. "This is where I want to play. This is where I think I can get better and improve my game. But it's control what I can control, and there comes times where you don't have much control. You just put your faith into your hockey game, play good hockey and hopefully you last."
Boldy scored his first career goal in his first game Jan. 6 at Boston, the decisive tally in a 3-2 comeback win for the Wild. He arrived from the minors with fellow prospect Marco Rossi, who also debuted that night, but the Wild returned Rossi to the American Hockey League after he played once more against Washington last Saturday in the Wild's 3-2 shootout win.
Still, the Wild is confident it can call on Rossi again if needed.
"He conducted himself very well," coach Dean Evason said. "Played power play. We had him in overtime. We feel real good about where his development is right now."
Staal to Iowa
Former Wild center Eric Staal has joined Iowa in the AHL on a professional tryout, an opportunity for Staal to prepare for the Beijing Olympics where he could represent Canada.
Staal split last season with Buffalo and Montreal, recording five goals and eight assists in 53 total games but hasn't signed with a new team. He'll make his Iowa debut Friday.
The 37-year-old has been in 1,293 NHL games, getting 441 goals and 1,034 points with the Hurricanes, Rangers, Wild, Sabres and Canadiens. Staal racked up 111 goals through 311 games during four seasons with the Wild (2016-2020) before the team traded him to Buffalo.
Steven Kampfer, who had two goals in 13 games for the Wild in 2011-12, was named to the U.S. team Thursday.