The Columbus, Ohio chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Duvie Westcott for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the club announced today. The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Westcott, 28, has bounced back from an injury-plagued 2003-04 season to set career highs for games played, goals, assists and points in 2005-06. He has appeared in 78 games this season and collected six goals and 22 assists for 28 points. He has also registered 133 penalty minutes and has a +1 plus/minus rating.
In 2003-04, he was limited to 0-7-7 and 39 penalty minutes in 34 games as he missed 32 games due to a foot injury and an additional 16 games due to a broken hand. In 2002-03, he notched 0-7-7 and 77 penalty minutes in 39 games with Columbus and 1-10-11 and 54 penalty minutes in 22 games with the American Hockey League's Syracuse Crunch. He was selected to participate in the AHL All-Star Game that season but missed the game due to injury.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Westcott was signed by the Blue Jackets as a free agent after playing three seasons of college hockey. He began his career at Alaska-Anchorage in 1997-98 and sat out the 1998-99 season after transferring to St. Cloud State. In two seasons with the Huskies, he registered 11-42-53 and 185 penalty minutes in 74 games. He earned Second Team All-WCHA honors and was an Academic All-WCHA selection in 2000-01 after picking up 10-24-34 and 118 penalty minutes in 38 games and helping St. Cloud State to a 31-9-1 record and the WCHA Tournament championship.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a poll of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the conclusion of the regular season. The trophy was first presented by the NHL writers in 1968 in honor of the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited the qualities for which the trophy embodies, and who died on Jan. 15, 1968. Past Blue Jackets nominees for the award are Kevin Dineen (2000-01, 2001-02 – finalist), Luke Richardson (2002-03) and Manny Malhotra (2003-04).