GLENDALE - The Arizona chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association on Wednesday nominated Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Vrbata, 35, has excelled offensively this season during his third stint with the Coyotes. He leads the team in goals (18), assists (35) and points (53), and recently skated in his 1,000th NHL game. His numbers have raised eyebrows across the League considering he has nearly doubled his point production from last season with Vancouver (27).
Head Coach Dave Tippett recently named Vrbata an alternate captain after the team dealt center Martin Hanzal to the Minnesota Wild just before the NHL trade deadline.
"He prepares well," Tippett said. "His game's very consistent. There's lots to like about his game. Sometimes I think when you're looking at captains or leadership guys, there's too much emphasis on rah-rah and not enough on substance. He's a substance guy."
The winner of the Masterton Trophy will be selected by a poll of the PHWA's 31 chapters at the end of the regular season. The NHL Writers' Association first presented the trophy in 1968 to commemorate the late William Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who died on Jan. 15, 1968, after an injury sustained during a game.