The Three Masterton Finalist Have Been Named


On Monday, the NHL announced their three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. This trophy is given to the individual who shows the most perseverance and dedication to the game of hockey. The three individuals who were chosen to be finalists were Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes and New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara.

All three players have shown tremendous dedication to the game and have defied some odds along the way this season. 

In Price's case it was a long and tough road to even getting to play a game this season. He started the season with a knee injury that was expected to take a good chunk of the season before he returned. On top of the knee injury, Price was also admitted to the player's substance abuse program on October 7th 2021. Following his stay in the program, Price returned to the team in mid-November. It wasn't long before the netminder started skating again. However, just as progress was starting to show in rehabbing the injury, a setback occurred on a few occasions. 

After finally feeling ready to return to game action, Price made his season debut on April 15th against the New York Islanders. He ended up playing five games before the end of the season. Price got his only win in the final game of the season in a 10-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. After all the things he went through during the season, his commitment to come back was incredible. Unfortunately, his NHL future is uncertain as Price said, he isn't healthy enough to play next season just yet.

Now onto the next candidate Kevin Hayes, who showed perseverance of his own. After losing his older brother Jimmy Hayes, to a sudden and tragic death just prior to the 2021-22 NHL season, it was evident that it would already be a very tough season for the forward. However, he also had to deal with injuries on three different occasions that required surgery. On top of that Hayes, also dealt with a blood infection. Nonetheless, he managed to play in 48 games, where he recorded 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points. This imcludes seven goals and 22 points in the Flyers final 28 games after he returned from his final surgery on March 5th. His play mixed with his dedication showed all the perseverance to come back at his best possible form. Here is hoping next season is easier for the Masterton finalist. If Hayes ends up winning the Masterton Trophy, this would mark the first time since the award was created in the 1967-68 season, that a team has back-to-back winners as Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom won  the award last year. 

The final candidate is Zdeno Chara, who is not only the tallest player in NHL history standing at a standing at a staggering 6'9, but he is also the oldest player in the NHL at 45 years old. Playing in his 24th NHL season, Chara showed just how much perseverance and dedication he gives to the game of hockey. While, he didn't overcome any big injuries or illnesses like the other two, his perseverance to continue to play while being in his mid-40s gives him the nod to be among these three finalists. He is also expected to retire as Islander fans saluted him one last time in their last game of the season. He started with them back in 1998 and finishing it with them, despite his best years being in Boston make a great storybook ending.

The winner of the Masterton Trophy will be named at the NHL award show which is expected to be between game two and three of the Stanley Cup Finals this year.

Photo Credit:© Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports