The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced today that Pierre-Edouard Bellemare has been voted its nominee for the 2016-17 Bill Masterton Trophy.
All 30 NHL teams submit one nominee. Three players are named finalists at a later date and attend the NHL Award Show in Las Vegas in June. Past winners from the Flyers include Bob Clarke (1972), Tim Kerr (1989) and Ian Laperriere (2011).
"You don't work to try and get these kinds of rewards," said Bellemare upon hearing the news after the morning skate. "My way to work is to try and be as helpful for the team as possible and to try to help in any way I can.
"Sometimes it can just be on the bench to try and support the guys, even if it can be annoying, sometimes it can be on the ice and try to make a big play on the PK, which is the role that I have here, so you don't really work for those rewards but it sure does feel nice when somebody notices the work you are doing, so thank you," added Bellemare to the attended media.
Bellemare is in his third season with the Flyers and signed a multi-year contract extension with the club on Mar. 1. He has three goals and four assists for seven points and is one of six players on the team who has appeared in all 75 games this season.
He leads all Flyers forwards in average time-on-ice shorthanded at 2:48, which is also tied for second on the team.
The following is the background information on Bellemare which was sent to the NHL by the Philadelphia Chapter of the PHWA, explaining the reasons behind their nomination:
When it came time on March 2 to name a new alternate captain to replace the recently traded Mark Streit, the Flyers could have gone the obvious route.
If they had chosen an established star such as Jake Voracek, Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier, no one would have blinked an eye.
Instead, they tabbed a 32-year-old Frenchman whose biggest claim to fame was once drawing the checking assignment on Connor McDavid and battling the Edmonton star to a goal-apiece fare-thee-well.
So, it's an understatement to say Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was completely surprised to receive the "A" alongside Wayne Simmonds.
This development came about just a day after the Flyers signed Bellemare to a new tmulti-year contract extension, another sign of their faith in him.
Not many players begin their NHL careers at age 29, and even fewer hail from France (three to be exact - Dallas' Antoine Roussel and New Jersey's Yohann Auvitu the others).
Why do the Flyers believe Bellemare is a worthy choice for alternate captain? Because his work ethic is second to none, because of his popularity among the players and because his personality exhibits much of what the Flyers believe they stand for.
"Belly embodies all the characteristics and traits of a Flyer," coach Dave Hakstol said.
"There are other guys in this room that are great leaders that will continue to lead without a letter. But Belly is going to be a great addition to our captaincy group.''
Hakstol likes the fire that Bellemare shows.
"That's part of the emotion, he's such a great competitor, he's well-prepared, a great teammate and a guy who's truly worked for all the success he's attained," Hakstol said.