This week, the NHL will be revealing some award winners in the pregame show of a Conference Final game. Today’s award announcement was for the Bill Masterton Trophy which was won by Senators winger Bobby Ryan. The other two finalists were Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom and Stars defenseman Stephen Johns. The award is given to “to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey”.
Ryan took a leave of absence from the Senators in November to enter into the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program and was in there for close to three months. He had quite the memorable return as in his second game back, he had a hat-trick against Vancouver. Before the pandemic hit, Ryan had played in eight games, collecting four goals while playing over 16 minutes a night, well above his season average. While his season ended on a high note, he’ll remember it best for overcoming the alcohol abuse issues that saw him enter the assistance program and for sharing his story publicly.
Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma back in December, ending his regular season. At the time of his cancer diagnosis, he was leading the Flyers in goals with 11 and had 18 points in 30 games. He was well on his way to recovery at the time of voting and signed a three-year, $9MM contract back in July. While it was initially believed that he wouldn’t play in Philadelphia’s playoff run, Lindblom recovered quick enough to get into their last two games against the Islanders, playing more than 16 minutes in both contests. He looks well-positioned to once again be an important winger for the Flyers next season and could be a contender for this trophy next season as well.
Johns returned to the ice after missing 22 games due to lingering concussion trouble that first came about in Dallas’ training camp in 2018. He made an immediate impact upon his return, picking up an assist in his third game back and a goal in his fourth contest. Overall, he played in 17 games and logged an impressive 17:40 per game while adding some stability to the back half of their defense corps in the process. Johns suited up for their first four playoff games (all three Round Robin matches plus the first Qualifying Round game versus Calgary) before being injured. He remains unfit to play and there is no word on how long he’ll be out.
Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner was the recipient of the award last season. The Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award is next up and will be revealed on Tuesday.