The NHL has announced its finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton is awarded to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey”. Each team nominates their own candidate for consideration, and the top three vote-getters are announced before the awards. The final three are Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, Carolina’s Derek Ryan, and Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano.
Anderson was forced to take an extended hiatus while his wife was battling cancer. The netminder returned to action after a long stretch away from the rink, and immediately posted a shutout against the New York Islanders in February as he continued his dominance of the crease. His .926 save percentage this season was second among goalies who had played more than 30 games, and was a huge factor in his team making the playoffs. Ryan is a 30 year-old rookie, and spent his entire career toiling in the minors and overseas before finally getting his shot at an NHL roster spot. Cogliano has been unbelievably resilient and tough in his impressive ironman streak, playing over 800 straight games since entering the league. If he has another few seasons of perfect attendance, he could break ironman records thought hopelessly lost to ancient hockey history. The Masteron winner will be announced on June 21st at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas, which will also feature the announcement of the Golden Knights’ roster selections.
- The Athletic’s Scott Powers gave insight into Blackhawks players possibly travelling to compete in the World Championships. Ville Pokka will not compete for Finland, apparently due to a contract issue. Artem Anisimov will not play for Russia, which is a big blow for that squad, as his size and unique skillset would have been useful. He is still nursing a lower-body injury which impacted his play in the team’s first-round exit. Patrick Kane is unlikely to play for the United States, but has made no official comment on the matter.
- The Buffalo News reflects on the season-long failure of the Sabres to provide their goalies support. Looking forward to a new GM and head coach hire, fans are hopeful for higher standards and less streakiness. This offseason, it seems as though providing goal support for Jack Eichel will be paramount, as the team struggled mightily to find steady production. Comments from players are looking forward to revamping their play style next season at even strength, by not allowing such a disparity in shot opportunities. Offensive help in terms of UFAs will be difficult to find, as there is sparse selection. T.J. Oshie, Radim Vrbata, Kris Versteeg, and Patrick Eaves are all names that should intrigue the Buffalo front-office – though it is uncertain which will still remain unsigned come July 1st.