LAS VEGAS -- Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun is one of 31 nominees for the 2018 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The Professional Hockey Writers Association nominates one player from each NHL team each year for the annual award that is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Chychrun, 19, suffered a major knee injury while training in the off-season and was expected to miss most, if not all, of this season after surgery. He worked hard to rehab his injury and returned to the lineup on Dec. 3, missing just 29 games. To punctuate his remarkable recovery, Chychrun scored a goal in his first game of the season vs. the Vegas Golden Knights.
"It's a huge honor," Chychrun said. "I took a lot of pride in making sure I could play as many games as I could this year and getting back as early as possible without rushing things. It was nice to see the hard work pay off and to have a good half of a season of hockey here. It's nice to be recognized for that and to be nominated for that award. It's something that I'm definitely thankful for."
Chychrun has played in all but one game since returning, and has notched three goals and 10 assists in 46 games, with six games to play. He skates 20:26 per game, and averages 1.5 hits per game and 1.5 blocks per game.
Coyotes Head Coach Rick Tocchet has marveled at how quickly Chychrun recovered from his injury and how well he has played this season without having taken part in a formal training camp.
"He deserves to be nominated, absolutely," Tocchet said. "You guys saw the video of him training. He spent time in Philadelphia by himself to train with somebody there for two months. Living in an apartment, getting up every day to do it, I've got to give him (credit)."
Final voting for the award will be completed after the regular season.