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Hertl Is Sharks’ All-Star: ‘I definitely elevated from last year’

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Tomas Hertl’s comeback campaign has culminated with his selection to the All-Star Game.

In a tough season for the San Jose Sharks, Hertl has been a consistent highlight, pacing the last-place squad with 13 goals and 28 points.

The 30-year-old alternate captain has also stepped up as a locker room leader, helping fill the void from captain Logan Couture’s season-long absence. The centerman has been especially instrumental in the growth and development of young Sharks wingers William Eklund, Fabian Zetterlund, and Filip Zadina.

“He’s been unbelievable this year in so many ways. A tough, tough year so far for all of us,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said. “But nobody has played better than him. Nobody’s [been] more positive than him. Nobody has kind of kept this thing on the tracks [like he has].”

Hertl agrees that he’s bounced back: “I feel pretty good about my game right now. I definitely elevated from last year. Not just leadership, but even on the ice, I feel strong on the puck, I know I’m making plays.”

It’s Hertl’s second All-Star Game selection, his first was 2020 in St. Louis.

He’s particularly excited to bring his hockey-crazy three-year-old son Tobias, and hopefully his parents, all who missed his first All-Star appearance, to Toronto this February.

“That will be probably the best part,” he said.

Hertl is in the second season of an eight-year, $65.1 million extension, signed in Mar. 2022. Last season, however, the 6-foot-3 Czech center had a disappointing campaign by his standards. While his 22 goals and 63 points looked fine on paper, he said it might have been his “toughest year”.

“I know I have to be better too,” Hertl admitted during last season’s exit interview. “This season, I think, it’s just too much up and down.”

Exit Interview: Hertl on Why This Was His ‘Toughest Year’

This year, on most nights, Hertl has been the San Jose Sharks’ best skater, which the NHL recognized today.

“It’s big honor. I’m really happy I can go again,” he said. “It means a lot to me. I can’t wait to go, especially, it will be in the hockey hotbed in Toronto.”

The 2024 NHL All-Star game will be held on Feb. 3 at Scotiabank Centre.

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