Zdeno Chara of the New York islanders, Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens are the three finalists for the 2021-22 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The award, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
Oskar Lindblom of the Flyers was last season’s winner.
Each local PHWA chapter submits one nominee and the full membership votes at the conclusion of the regular season. You can find the full list of the 2021-22 nominees here.
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Zdeno Chara’s story: If this is it for the future Hockey Hall of Famer he’ll have finished 24 NHL seasons, one of eight players in NHL history to reach that mark. Chara, 45, played 72 games with the Islanders in 2021-22 averaging 18:44 of total ice time. On Feb. 24 he set the league record for most games played by a defenseman (1,652) passing Chris Chelios. He finished the season at 1,680, good for seventh all time. His impact on the game will last beyond his career as his influence on young defenseman during his stops in New York, Ottawa, Boston, and Washington will continue to be seen in years to come.
Kevin Hayes’s story: It was a trying season for the 30-year Hayes. His brother, Jimmy, passed away in the summer and then he needed three surgeries during the regular season. He managed to pick up 31 points in 48 games, which included a run of 22 points in 28 games. “To return from both the physical and emotional challenges he faced this season speaks volumes about his character as a person, but also his commitment to our club and his teammates,” said Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Carey Price’s story: After leading the Canadiens to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, Price missed most of the 2021-22 regular season after voluntarily entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program and rehabbing from off-season knee surgery. He made his season debut on April 15 and finished with five starts for Montreal. The 34-year-old is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played and wins by a goaltender.
The 2021-22 NHL Award winners will be revealed during the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final.
The trophy was presented by the NHL Writers’ Association in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey and who died on Jan. 15, 1968.
A $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.
NHL Award finalists announcement schedule:
Norris Trophy: Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Cale Makar
Vezina Trophy: Jacob Markstrom, Juuse Saros, Igor Shesterkin
Calder Trophy: Michael Bunting, Moritz Seider, Trevor Zegras
Hart Trophy: Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Igor Shesterkin
Ted Lindsay Award: Roman Josi, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid
Tuesday, May 17: Frank J. Selke Trophy
Wednesday, May 18: Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Thursday, May 19: Jack Adams Award
Friday, May 20: King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.