Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn grew up idolizing Joe Sakic. Benn was born in Victoria, British Columbia, while Sakic was born in Burnaby. Benn would spend hours in his garage working on his wrist shot to one day be like Sakic.
There may be no duplicating Sakic's wrister, one an opposing player once said he could identify by sound, but Benn is starting to carve out a career some kid in British Columbia is no doubt trying to copy right now.
He has 42 points in 42 games and has caught fire in his last five, in which he has had eight points. On Thursday, he earned his first of what will be many trips to the All-Star Game.
"It's pretty cool to get selected to an All-Star Game, my first," he told Dallas reporters. "I'm looking forward to it."
Really, the first-timers are what the All-Star Game is all about. While veterans such as Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne beg out, and we certainly don't blame two guys who have put in their time, the thrill is still there for those who dreamed of moments like their first All-Star Game. Not to mention the moment you walk into the dressing room and see Jarome Iginla, Daniel Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk preparing for the game around you.
"I'm sure I'll catch myself [doing that] when I'm there," Benn said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Benn gets the thrill this season, and we saw signs it would happen last season. So who are some of the emerging stars we can see making their All-Star Game debut in 2013? Start with these five:
To read Craig's list of first-time All-Stars for next season in addition to his answers to this week's mailbag questions, become an Insider today.