The Professional Hockey Writers Association named the three finalists for the 2015 Bill Masterton Trophy on Thursday: Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, Ottawa Senators netminder Andrew Hammond and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.
The award goes to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” It’s tough to think of three better nominees for the 2014-15 season.
Dubnyk, 28, went from a ruinous season in 2013-14 (being cast off by the Edmonton Oilers and eventually finding himself in career limbo) to a Vezina Trophy finalist this season. You can read more about his journey here.
Hammond, 27, came into the season as an unknown. He was an undrafted free agent with little on his resume, only to lead the Senators to one of the most unlikely playoff bids in recent memory (if ever). He also earned a lifetime supply of free McDonald’s, so he’s not without awards already. (Though he’d probably take a new contract over unlimited McGriddles.) The Senators have more on “The Hamburgler” here.
Letang, 28, overcame the greatest odds physically. He suffered a frightening stroke last season – and has dealt with plenty of more traditional injuries over the years, including unfortunate concussion issues – only to post possibly the best season of his NHL career in 2014-15. Check out more from the Penguins, including some heartfelt quotes from the Penguins.
All three players present inspirational stories, but only one will bring home the Masterton this year.