Ryan Hartman, Michael Leighton to represent Rockford IceHogs at 2016 AHL All-Star Classic

Leighton is an old pro at this whole AHL All-Star business, but it's the first time for young Hartman.

Just like their parent club, the Rockford IceHogs are having a very good season. With a .662 points percentage, they're second in the AHL's Central Division, and just a few of wins back from the first-place Milwaukee Admirals with two games in hand.

Accordingly, as one of the top teams in the division, two IceHogs have been selected to attend this year's AHL All-Star Classic: former first round pick Ryan Hartman, currently playing in his second professional season; and goaltender Michael Leighton, an AHL journeyman at this point in his career currently playing his second season with Rockford. (You may best remember him as "that guy the Blackhawks scored on to win the Stanley Cup back in 2010".)

Hartman has 10 goals and 18 points through 29 games played this season, putting him at third in team scoring for the IceHogs (not counting the dearly departed Jeremy Morin, whose Rockford stats still put him at the top of the team). This is the 21-year-old's first appearance in the AHL All-Star Classic.

Leighton, meanwhile, currently sports a .922 save percentage over 24 games for the IceHogs this season: the eighth top save percentage in the AHL. He has a 16-4-3 record, and one shutout to his name thus far. This is his fourth appearance as an AHL All-Star.

The AHL All-Star festivities kick off on Jan. 31 with the skills competition, followed by the challenge aspect of the event on Feb. 1. Via the AHL:

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.

Similar to what the NHL is doing, but not quite. (Four-on-four is still a thing? Huh.)

Go Team Central! Here's to Hartman showing his stuff, and Leighton having better luck than one could expect from a goalie playing with that much open ice.